The 7th Vasai-Virar Mayors Marathon, to be run on December 10, was announced yesterday. One of the more heartening aspects of the run was that three young athletes from Palghar district were selected to be supported and nurtured by a corporate sponsor. Their diet, training and kitting will be taken care of for a year, following which they will be assessed, and on the basis of their performance, the assistance will continue.
As the running boom, fuelled largely by the popularity of the Mumbai marathon, has reached a crest, this is a stellar initiative and a happy sign that other marathons are now fertile ground to support causes.
With long-distance runs and marathons now criss-crossing the country, it would be good for organisers and sponsors to get serious about tapping young talent and nurturing it. This is a real push to see if young runners can take India where the country has never gone before, to an Olympic medal finish in long-distance events.
Marathon organisers can encourage their title sponsors to support talent from the smaller areas and pockets around Mumbai. We can start building a considerable pool of distance athletes with an eye on the future, with properly focused initiatives.
A dedicated slot for young runners who show promise as athletes, is one way in which these events can act as springboards for athletes to burst on to the national, and then international, scene.
For a while now, marathons have become avenues for established athletes to compete, earn money, and prep themselves for competitive events. Now, let us use them as a base for unearthing new talent and helping it grow. The ground is fertile, the seeds are sown, water them and help them bloom.
Watch video: Dahisar river touches the danger mark near National Park
Download the new mid-day android app to get updates on all the latest and trending stories on the go https://goo.gl/8Xlcvr