7th edition of the Darjeeling Hill Marathon: 2K people 'run to unlock'
Darjeeling: For model, actor and runner Milind Soman, it was the first 21km run since lockdown. For Singer, composer, lyricist Padmashree Kailash Kher, he got more than he had expected. Both Soman and Kher were the faces of the 7th edition of the Darjeeling Hill Marathon, organised by the Darjeeling Police.
The Marathon with the theme "Run to unlock" saw more than 2000 participants taking part on Sunday. While Milind and his wife Ankita Konwar took part in the 21km run, his 81 year old mother took part in the 10km run.
"This is the first running event for me after lockdown. The last 21km I had run was in February. It is amazing to see the energy here. This is one of the most beautiful place in the country. The weather is amazing too" stated Milind, amidst wild cheers from the participants. His clarion call to all the runners was to spread the benefits of running amidst friends and family and to encourage one and all to take up running.
More than 2000 participants braving the winter chill took part in the 21km and 10 km runs. The Darjeeling Hill Marathon, has finally got international recognition with the route being certified by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF.)
For each of the events there were six categories- above 45 years male/ female; below 45 years male/ female; Police Male / female.
"For the 21.1 km, cash awards are Rs. 1 lakh; Rs. 50,000 and Rs. 25000 for first, second and third respectively. For the 10km, the cash award is Rs. 25,000, Rs. 15,000 and Rs. 10,000 for first, second and third" stated Abhishek Gupta, Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP,) Darjeeling.
Kailash Kher and his band Kailasha also performed drawing huge crowds. "I had heard a lot about Darjeeling and I got more than I had expected. Everyone is so cheerful, welcoming, kind and humble here. Another interesting thing I noticed is that everyone is health conscious in Darjeeling" stated Kher.
Runners from all over the State, neighbouring Sikkim, UP, Bihar, Maharashtra and other places had participated. "The Hill runners did well this year bagging many awards. The community participation was overwhelming. There were no injuries. It was truly a successful event" stated Vikram Rai, organizer. Owing to the pandemic the African runners who used to rule the tracks were missing this year.