Delhi runs half marathon on misty morn for diverse causes

November 9th, 2008 - 9:32 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 9 (IANS) As the winter darkness peeled off to welcome a new day Sunday, Delhi was at its energetic best. Known to be laid back generally, and specially at dawn, the capital was swathed in myriad hues and nervous energy as people gathered together to flag-off Airtel Delhi Half-Marathon.The half marathon witnessed some 27,000 people defying age, race, gender, and physical handicap to embrace the spirit of running. The 21-km stretch, beginning from Vinay Marg in the capital’s diplomatic enclave was decked up to welcome anyone who wanted to be the part of an united effort - for humanity.

Each ran for a cause close to his heart.

If there were athletes running for the coveted title, there were those who ran to promote peace. Then there were wheelchair bound people who participated to make their presence felt to the world, even as a few just jogged along. And there were also those who merely walked, playing the guitar, singing, only to bring smiles on the faces of people.

It might have been a Sunday, but it did not ebb the citizens’ enthusiasm to run. Young school kids sporting fancy garments from “Tare Zameen Par”, and those with wrinkled faces who bubbled with zest to show their spirit of the yore.

“I just enjoy the experience to be at the marathon. It is like an early morning carnival. I have been coming here for the past two years and it is heartening to see the count increasing every year. I just hope people realise how important it is for them to come together, especially now when no one has time for others,” said 70-year-old Sally, who was from Brazil and participating for the last two years with her husband and son.

Dr. Rajiv’s seven-km run was to promote fitness among people. “As a physician, I am aware how the untimely hours are ruining the health of people. I ran for my friends and patients to show how good health is a must for a happy life.”

Celeste, 22, was an Anglo-American and came with her American friends all the way from Gurgaon to promote awareness about social, educational and humanitarian needs of the society. “We work for an NGO and feel that people need to come together for a common cause. And what better way than a marathon,” she gushed.

Bollywood, too, was in its full swing, with Ajay Devgan and Kajol, Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor, boxer Vijender Singh drawing loudest of cheers.

Many first timers were dazed too see the huge turnout on a misty morning and wondered what they had lost all these years.

“I never expected Delhi to be so lively a place on a November morning. When I saw so many people, I took great pride to be a Delhite. This is a new facet of Delhi that took me and my friends by surprise,” said Tania, 20, a student from Delhi University.

And at last, there were those who could not make it but cheered with the hope to add another drop to the ocean.

As the event drew to its end, the city scorched with recent turbulence, looked fresh, revived and all set to make a new start.

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