Heh, despite all the arguments to the contrary, I don’t think Delhi is very (air-)polluted. In Mid-October (now), the wind cools you instead of burns you, it’s actually cold in the morning, and trees loaded with ‘Rath ki Rani’ are in full bloom, so the place smells BEAUTIFUL.
Anyway, this is a city of “broad, tree-lined avenues” and is one of the few Indian cities where green cover has increased over the last few years. So, why not hold a Marathon here? Well, a Half Marathon, to be exact. So between 7 and 9 in the morning on a lazy Sunday, they closed up the roads of Central (otherwise known as ‘New’) Delhi, and held three races. The first was the 21-point-something kilometre Half Marathon, which 5000 people took part in. The winners (who took slightly over an hour to complete the course) were almost all African – some Kenyan, some Tanzaniyan. The first prize was a nice and tidy US$20,000
But that’s not the race I
After the pros, came the Senior Citizen Run (5 Kilometres), open to everyone above 55, I think. 5 kilometres long, and some very fit, and not so-fit seniors going at it. Finally came the Great Delhi Run ( 7 Kilometers). Me and my sister took part in this, and although we learned we’re not cut out for the next olympics, we also learned we can brisk-walk 7 km without stopping.
The weather was good, and Delhi was out in force, around 25,000 people in all. There were cheerleaders from Radio Mirchi and Standard Chartered , egging us on. 2 Helicopters, borrowed from the Military, patrolled the area, kept an eye on us for security and hovered low to wave at us. Kingfisher (of the Beer and the Airline), supplied all runners with free bottled water, ever kilometre or so. People lined the sides of the streets, to cheer, to watch, to enjoy (and probably to wonder what’s the big deal?).
And of course, Hutch’s brilliant advertising campaign. WHO is their agency? Those guys are truly brilliant. “Bunty bhi bhagega, Dadaji bhi bhagenge. The Colonel will run, Spot the Dog will run. Delhi will run”. Banners lining the marathon route read “Run.Jog.Walk.Crawl. But Finish”. “If you think you can’t run, stop thinking!”
An all round good time!