Zaheer Khan supports Pune International Marathon

Pune: Indian cricket team`s most experienced pacer, Zaheer Khan has come out in support of the 28th Pune International Marathon to be held here on Sunday.

Zaheer, whose family stays in the posh Koregaon Park here, has lent a special touch to the event this time.

All the finishers would be given a special congratulatory message autographed by the leftarm pacer and a token prize money to 7,000-odd athletes worth Rs 17.5 lakh.

"For Zaheer bhai, you`re first an athlete than a cricketer. It`s something that has inspired him to come forward in support of the Pune marathon," Zaheer`s younger brother, Anees Khan, told PTI today.

"It`s kind of giving back to your field and we hope that it works out and we continue to remain associated," Anees, who looks after the hospitality business including Toss -- a sports lounge by the cricketer, added.

Asked how this came about, the younger Khan said: "It`s the biggest event in Pune, a city of rich culture and heritage. Being a Punekar, it became an automatic choice."

As he is busy with his Ranji commitments for Mumbai against Vidarbha, Zaheer would not be able to come here personally.

"He would have loved to be here during the marathon. But he has sent his well wishes to the participants to run for a healthy country."

Organisers of the Pune Marathon are also looking forward to the association.

"It`s rare a cricketer coming forward to support athletics. We`re proud of his association," Pune International Marathon organising secretary Pralhad Savant said.