Sabarmati Marathon 2014 promises to have something extra for Gujaratis, thanks to Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation’s initiative. The civic body has introduced a category of winners exclusively of Gujarati origin for full and half-marathons. With this, AMC aims to motivate Gujarati youth to participate in the event.
The marathon, introduced in 2010 by AMC, was made an annual event. With increasing popularity, the number of foreign participants grew. The last three editions of the event witnessed a dominance of foreign participants in the full and half-marathon. However, no Gujarati participant won in either category.
“So, we have introduced a special Gujarati winners’ category in the Sabarmati Marathon 2014,” said Guruprasad Mohapatra, municipal commissioner of AMC. The civic body plans to award Rs1 lakh to the winner of the full marathon, Rs75,000 to the first runners-up and Rs60,000 to the second runners-up in the categories of both men and women. Additionally, five Gujarati participants will get a prize in the half-marathon ranging from Rs50,000 to Rs10,000, in both the categories.
In the last edition of the Sabarmati Marathon, which had 350 participants in the full marathon, only 40 were from Gujarat, said a senior official AMC. Moreover, the number of Gujarati participants was higher in the half-marathon (50%). However, none got a prize in the general category. “The foreigners are professional runners, and so take less than two-and-a-half hours to complete the full marathon, while Gujarati runners take much longer,” said DP Desai, deputy municipal commissioner.
The civic body’s move has been welcomed by runners in Gujarat. “Generally, Gujaratis are not very much into fitness and sports. But such events coax them to be fit,” said Jaxay Shah, managing director of Savvy Infrastructure who participated in all the past editions.