Marathon Events : Running for a Cause
For many people Marathon may
just be a long-distance run that they can never hope to run considering the
stamina and endurance required for it. However, the corporate world and sports
institutions have used it effectively to communicate socially relevant messages
of fitness, health, cancer prevention and promoting the cause of a healthy heart.
It may not just be a coincidence that Marathon event is commemorated in memory of a Greek soldier Pheidippides who ran the distance from Marathon in Greece to Athens to convey the message of victory over Persians in the Battle of Marathon. It became an OIympics event in 1896 and the present distance of 42.195 kilometres or 26 miles 385 yards was standardized in 1921.
Hundreds of marathon events are held in the country every year. India has got challenging terrains, valleys, mountains, coastline, river banks that make it easier to plan marathons. Every region has its own unique marathon events. The Kanchenjunga Marathon is held at an altitude of 16400 ft in Sikkim while Munnar Marathon offers a pollution free environment to runners in high altitude in a path seldom traversed by people.
When it comes to promoting social causes there is no sport to beat marathon as the running route is mostly on the roads and seen by several thousands of people along the way, according to Manoj Manavalan, a Kochi based entrepreneur and regular marathon runner. Kochi has several major marathon events such as Spice Coast Marathon and the Navy Marathon. Over the years several sports personalities such as Sachin Tendulkar, cine stars and artistes have endorsed the marathons for a social cause.
Rajagiri Public School became the first school in the country to organize a marathon in 2018 when it conducted the Rajagiri Marathon spreading the message of world peace on Hiroshima Day on August 6, 2018. “We thought of an innovative event as the school was celebrating its Silver Jubilee. That’s when the idea of a half marathon for children came to my mind and the vibrant School PTA took up the initiative to host the event,” according to Rev Fr Varghese Kachappilly, CMI, Principal, Rajagiri School. It was a 10 km event for school students followed by a ‘Fun Run’ for parents, teachers and students. The second edition of the event Rajagiri Marathon 2019 was held on September 22 this year on a larger scale with events for senior category (21 km half marathon) , 10 km run for students and 6 km ‘Fun Run’. “This year we had participants from six states including Kerala. We were fortunate to have 12 year old Sasmitha from Tiruppur in Tamilnadu running for us. She is aiming for the Guinness Book of Records as the youngest girl having completed 103 marathons till date,” Ummer Farooq, Convenor of Rajagiri Marathon said.
He is also on the organizing committee of a forthcoming Marathon to spread awareness about lifestyle and rising cancer diseases. The marathon season has started and several more on the pipeline across the country, he added.