Running has never piqued my interest, and the occasion of 2018 Airtel Hyderabad Marathon was no different, even though our company, Open Face Media was associated with it by being their promotional film partner in the lead up to the marathon. For me, running is an excessively tiring physical activity that I have always stayed away from. But, as I started doing research so as to write this blog, I realized that running isn’t merely an activity, but something more.
Running for a charity is a relatively new concept in India, limited to the 21st century, but there’s no denying that it’s a fast growing trend. This could be for the sake of awareness of some disease or social issue, to collect funds for a specific charity or simply to promote healthy lifestyle and fitness among the citizens of the society. Participation of runners in the excess of 22,500 in the recently concluded Hyderabad Marathon is a testament of the surging interest and involvement of the public in these kind of social campaigns that produce many inspirational stories.
One such story is that of Jayanthi Sampath Kumar’s who completed a full marathon wearing a saree in order to promote the dying handloom industry in the country. In her own words, she explains her motivation “I want to promote handloom and encourage women. This is a statement of my support. I am a cyclist and ride very often, and notice a lot of plastic pollution happening around us. For that, maybe I should run in a saree made of plastic wrappers people throw.” Whether she does indeed do it or not, she has definitely succeeded in expressing her support for the causes that she believes in, which in itself is a triumph of will.
Rajesh Karnatakapu, Joachim August Lyimo and Isse Abdullahi are some of the people that have participated in the 5K Fun Run. The reason for me to emphasize this is that all three of them are wheel-chair bound. When life has let them down in the form of accident, cancer and bullets respectively, they did not lose hope on life, but in turn inspired everyone they have encountered at the event.
Grace cancer foundation has conducted a run on October 7th to raise awareness about cancer, making it one of the many runs that are held for a cause. The Green Marathon, to be held on 21st of October goes a little further in their initiative by making the T-shirts that they give out organic. They have even shed the paper by distributing e-certificates to the finishers.
However fast the growth in running may be, our city hasn’t been able to keep up with the public’s interest. “In Hyderabad we do not have permission to participate in 10k or full marathon because of the safety issues. In Chennai people in wheelchair are participating in half marathons. We want the same to happen in Hyderabad. We are aiming to work on this and make people accept that we are capable of doing anything” says Padma Govidugari, President of Telangana State Wheelchair Basketball Association. Let us hope that Hyderabad running associations take notice of these requests from running enthusiasts that would help propagate the culture in the city.
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