Participants will have the opportunity to run alongside some of the world’s best long distance athletes and India’s best runners.

The city has booked its place in the elite list of cities across the globe that boasts of a marathon of its own with the first ever Cochin International Half Marathon to be held on December 29.

Kochi is the second city in South India after Bangalore to host a marathon. Mumbai and Delhi are the other cities that hold marathons annually.

The concept conceived by the Kochi Corporation will be promoted and executed by Push Integrated Communications. Online registration for the event was launched at a function held here on Saturday in the presence of athletic icons Milkha Singh, P.T. Usha and actor Mohanlal. Online registrations will begin on Sunday.

Mayor Tony Chammany, MLAs Hibi Eden, Benny Behanan, and Dominic Presentation, District Collector P.I. Sheikh Pareeth, Inspector General of Police (Ernakulam Range) K. Padmakumar, and Kochi City Police Commissioner K.G. James were present.

Walk-in registration for the event will begin on Wednesday and close on December 22 or even before in case the running places get filled up.

Organisers expect record participation for the event considering that participants will have the opportunity to run alongside some of the world’s best long distance athletes and India’s best runners.

Besides half marathon, a 7-km amateur run will be held for people from all walks of life. The half marathon will have a general category besides separate categories for various age groups whereas the amateur run will offer Keralites above the age of 15 an opportunity to run and emerge winners.

The half marathon has been certified by the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races and is being held under the aegis of the Athletic Federation of India. The technical side of the event will be the responsibility of the Kerala State Athletics Federation.

The event will carry a total cash prize of Rs. 60 lakh with separate prize money for Indian athletes. The event will witness the participation of around 20 foreign athletes from countries, including Kenya and Ethiopia.

The male and female winners of half marathon will bag $5,000 each while the runners-up will get $3,000 each. Prize money will be awarded to first eight finishers in both men and women categories. The fastest man and woman athlete will take home Rs. 2 lakh each. The half marathon will be a timed event and all successful finishers will be provided with a finishers’ medal and timing certificate.

The half marathon will have an entry fee of Rs. 200 and the amateur run Rs. 100. Registration can be done online through www.cochinmarathon.co. For more information, contact the helpline 0484-2207022.

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