Airtel Delhi Half Marathon begins

This Sunday sees the fifth edition of the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, and as many as 29,514 people are expected to participate. The event has been reportedly oversubscribed for months. There are four races organised for the day, which begins at 7.10 a.m. Keeping in mind people of differing abilities and belonging to all walks of life, the categories are Half Marathon, the Great Delhi Run, the Senior Citizens’ Run and the Wheelchair Event.

Speaking about the participation of international athletes and interested parties, Vivek B. Singh, Joint MD of Procam International, the promoters of the event, says, “It is an international sporting event grounded on the four pillars of national pride and prestige, communal harmony, health and fitness, and charity.” While the pride and prestige of the organising city and nation get a boost after such a mass event, it also brings about harmony and brotherhood due to the sporting spirit in which people from different classes and creed come together, he explains. “Last year, the event raised over Rs.1.5 crores for various charities, which this year is expected to be two,” notes Vivek.

Gold Label

The event has been able to secure the Gold Label status conferred by the International Association of Athletics Federations. On combating challenges associated with such an affair, Vivek says, “The various civic agencies which are involved, now know the benefits and impact of such a huge event, so they have become quite cooperative.”

He says traffic and security issues have been taken care of well in advance, and medical facilities have been arranged with the help of Fortis Escorts.

The participants’ list boasts a number of celebrities, national and international athletes, corporate teams, previous champions, over a thousand senior citizens and around 200 differently-abled individuals.

“Running depends on endurance. Races are fast and require focus,” saysHugh Jones, technical director of the event, on the difference between the two types of running.

A unique feature this time is that every runner is going to be chipped, which means the lapse timings shall be noted individually by a ‘record chip’, making the run all the more competitive and zestful.

Saying this is a first for India, Vivek adds, “The certificates to be awarded to the runners shall be marked, which would be recognised anywhere in the world.”

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