Thousands in the city braved the early morning chill and gathered on Red Road to run for a cause in the inaugural edition of the Apollo Gleneagles Times Half Marathon on Sunday. The build-up to the event, which included planning, registering and practising for several days, culminated in a morning filled with enthusiasm and excitement.
More than 5,000 people participated in the event and there were a lot of non-runners who turned up to cheer their friends and family on. “I woke up at 4am so I could be here by 5.15am. I have been preparing for the half marathon for nearly a week by going for morning walks to build up my endurance level. I even made my friends register for the run,” said Kriti Pachisia, a college student from Lake Town who finished the 10k run in a little over two hours.
The 21k event, which was flagged off at 6.30am, had several marathon veterans as participants. For those who were not experienced, but registered to give it a try, the cool weather kept the discomfort index in control. “It feels great to run at the Times Half Marathon. I was not sure I would be able to complete the 10k run, but the weather was good and I did not sweat much. And the organizers were always at hand to offer help,” said Rajan Thapa, a retired para-military personnel who completed the 21k run in less than three hours.
Before the events started, fitness instructors at warm-up stations shared tips with participants on how to keep injuries at bay. There was an Apollo Gleneagles zone in the activity area with 10 beds and three tables, and three ambulances were kept on stand-by.
The 3k run, which witnessed the maximum participation, was flagged off by actor-MP Nusrat Jahan, and actors Prosenjit Chatterjee and Ritabhari Chakraborty at 8.30am.
Many participants appeared to have forgotten they were there to run as they crowded around the stage where the actors stood, clicking photographs and selfies on their phones. The space around the stage became so crowded at one point that the cops and volunteers had to intervene to urge the runners forward.
“It is very encouraging to see that so many people have turned up early on Sunday morning to be a part of a noble cause. This shows we are aware and alert,” said Chatterjee.
Rajender Singh Lahauria, general manager (ATC), Kolkata airport, completed the 10k run in 58 minutes. “The message of the Times Half Marathon is to keep our city clean so we can breathe fresh air every time we step out of our homes. Running is the best and most affordable exercise.”
Source: Times of India