Next month, 15 ultra marathon runners will take part in a pan-India marathon covering a total distance of 1,480 km from India Gate in Delhi to the Gateway of India in Mumbai with stopovers in five cities including Gaziabad (Uttar Pradesh), Manesar (Haryana), Jaipur and Udapir (Rajasthan) and Ahmedabad (Gujarat). Titled, The Great India Run, this is one of the largest multi-city marathons ever organised in the country, and will see elite runners cover the total distance in 18 days. “The marathon kicks off on July 3 at India Gate in Delhi and will conclude at the Gateway of India in Mumbai on July 20,” says Utkarsh Veer Singh, COO, Mobiefit, which has organised the event in association with Pro Sportify, a Delhi-based sports management company.
Singh says that running as a sport has grown in the last decade, from a meagre six events a year to a booming 400 events being organised across the country. “We have several countrywide events in cricket and other sports, but there’s nothing like that for running. Most running events are either local or come with a participation cap. Our goal is to make The Great India Run a pan-India running event that travels across India and involves locals wherever it goes. We want to make it an annual running event just like the IPL,” he adds.
Utkarsh Veer Singh, COO, Mobiefit
Selecting India Gate in Delhi as the starting point and the Gateway of India as the concluding point was more of a commercial decision. “Both are icons of national importance and a representation of India and its two great cities. We found them apt choices to host this national event,” he adds. The organisers plan to introduce more cities from next year, as well as host satellite events across India during the run.
Though the event aims to promote running in India, the elite runners’ team remains constant, and lay citizens are not allowed to run the entire distance. The promoters have also not revealed any details on how they selected the elite team, or the methods used to check their suitability, except that all of them have participated in an ultra marathon in the past. There’s also no clarity on whether a qualifying tournament will be held in the near future to select runners. However, runners who wish to participate in the Great India Run will be able join for the 5 km or 21 km runs in their cities.
Registrations for the local edition of the Great India Run will take place via the Mobiefit app up to seven days before the local event.
On: July 3 to 20
Entry: Rs 350 for 5 km and Rs 600 for 21 km
Log on to: Thegreatindiarun.com
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Milind Soman will be joining the run from Ahmedabad to Mumbai