Aiming to change the perception about running in the country, ‘Great India Run’, the first multi-city ultra marathon, will see 12 elite marathoners traversing through six states and cover a distance of 1,480 kms from Delhi to Mumbai in 18 days.
The event will be flagged off at the capital’s iconic India Gate on July 3 and conclude in Mumbai’s Gateway of India on July 20. Conceptualised by ProSportify, which was behind the Pro Wrestling League, is backed by celebrity runner and former supermodel Milind Soman, who, at 50, successfully completed the Ironman Triathlon — one of the world's most toughest races — in Zurich, and actress Gul Panag.
The cross-country run will witness 12 Indian and international runners set a new record for the fastest time, covering a distance of 1,480 kms.
The inaugural edition of the run will see athletes Arun Bhardwaj, Mathias Jorgensen, Siddharth Choudhary, David Slotsgaard Bredo, Yuri Esperson, Lisa Stoddart, Meenal Sukhija, Satish Gujaran, Ranjana Deopa, Naresh Bharadwaj, Dinesh Heda and Joginder Chandna, participating.
In his late 40s, Arun is the most well-known among the Indian runners competing in the event. Bhardwaj, last April, finished the 250km ‘non-stop’ 40-hour run from New Delhi to Chandigarh, besides covering Kargil to Kanyakumari.
The ‘Great India Run’ has partnered with mobile fitness start-up, MobieFit, creators of a free running & fitness training app which allow runners to get marathon-ready. Panag is a co-founder of the app.
The app also has a virtual TGIR challenge and users can participate remotely from wherever they are in the country and contribute to the cause by accumulating running distances.
The ultra-marathon has also joined hands with GoSports Foundation, who will be generating funds which will be further donated to the country’s deserving Olympians. The event is a call to all citizens, to join the movement towards a healthier and fitter lifestyle, and join the ultra marathoners for either a 5km or 21km run in their cities — Gurgaon, Jaipur, Udaipur and Ahmedabad.
A keen promoter of running in India, Soman, while speaking about his association with Great India Run, said, “The running scene in India is beginning to gain momentum, and promoters such as ProSportify are bringing it to the fore, inspiring events such as The Great India Run.
“Apart from helping to spread the message of health and fitness, the cross-country run will also aid our athletes as they compete at the Olympics. I think this will be a fantastic initiative and I look forward to it.”