The much awaited Apollo Gleneagles Times Half Marathon was flagged off today in the presence of Lt Gen Anil Chauhan, GOC, Eastern Command, Ms Nusrat Jahan,MP, INDIA, MR Debasish Kumar, MMIC, KMC, Mr Prasenjit Chatterjee, actor & Ms Ritabhari Chakraborty, actor. Thousands of runners participated in the marathon for clean & fresh air in the city.
The Air Quality Index (AQI) in Kolkata was recorded at 343, which falls in the ‘very poor’ category, at the green zone Fort William automated air monitoring station recently. According to WHO, murky air kills an estimated 7 million people worldwide every year and nine out of 10 people breathe air with high levels of pollutants. The objective of Times Half Marathon was to promote the importance of keeping the environment clean.
Anyone could run to promote the necessity of clean air in the 3K Fun Run & the 10K time distance run which aims to promote healthy living. There were first, second and third prize for the 10K time distance run. The half marathon named 21K-Apollo Gleneagles Timed Run was for professional as well as amateur runners to showcase their strength and stamina. The 21K Timed run had been segregated in two sub categories – Open Category (Male 15-45 years, Female 18-40 years) and 21K Veteran Category (Male 45 years and above, Female 40 years and above).21K Timed run had exciting prize money to attract the professionals.
The age limit for 21K was 18 years while that for 10K had no age limit. Kolkatans were being invited to run for their fair share of clean air and they made it historic. Every finisher was awarded with a medal and certificate from The Times of India Group.
Among some of the prominent runners who were part of the event are Sudhir Ahuja, entrepreneur; Anwar Wahhab, fitness expert; Sumana Dutta, functional and rehabilitation of sports athlete; Gagan Sachdev, entrepreneur; Abhishek Lodha, fitness enthusiast; R S Lahauria, Kolkata airport’s general manager (ATC); Swati Poddar and Monalisa De, fitness enthusiasts and Vernon Morais, Bharat Bagla and Harsha Banthia, marathoners. Also present will be Rana Dasgupta, CEO, Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals; Amit Das, director (HR) and CHRO, Bennett Coleman & Co Ltd (Times Group); Indrajit Bhalotia, golfer; Prasenjit Chatterjee and Ritabhari, actors and actor-cum-MP Nusrat Jahan.
To check dehydration, refreshment stations were set up on the marathon course with energy drinks, water and fruits on offer. The refreshment points were located at approximately every 2.5 kilometres. There were toilets by the course.