By R Anupam Pillai:
3…2…1…Go! And the grand Heritage marathon 2012 begins. Being the first of its kind in the country, it has opened up an ample number of possibilities for the Tourism and Development Board for attracting tourists from all over. Hyderabad, the ‘City of Nizams‘, is all set to amuse us with its centuries old Mughal architectural style enriched with regional influences, throughout the course of marathon which commences on the 23rd of September, 2012. Hyderabad, one of the oldest cities in the country holds great cultural as well as national importance. Moreover, it has been awarded as the ‘Best Heritage City of India’ by the Indian Government.
The marathon was one of the original events in the Olympics in 1896. The official distance for a marathon is 42.195 kilometres and it evolved as a practice to bring together people for a given cause. The Association of International Marathon and Distance Races was the organization, set up in 1892 to organize marathon events in across eighty-three countries and to formulate standard rules for the same. There were marathons for charitable purposes, peacemaking, brotherhood, anti-discrimination etc. Nowadays it has been adopted not only for a general cause but also to have fun. Heritage marathon is a new initiative in the name of marathon events that combines vistas of old monuments as well as athletics.
The Heritage marathon will start at the break of dawn from Chowmohalla Palace and end at Qutub Shahi tombs around noon. Over eight-hundred runners, out of which about sixty are foreigners, will be participating in this endeavour. There are two events designed for the marathon, namely, a half marathon covering 21.047 kilometres and a long marathon of 42.195 kilometres. The route will cover monuments like the Charminar, Mecca Masjid, Golconda Fort, MozamjahiÂ Market and other landmark sites.
The Herculean feat to organize a grand event such as this has been achieved by the concerted efforts of Mrs Uma Chigurupati, the Chairperson of the event and her husband Krishna Prasad, both of whom have been experienced marathon runners and Guinness World Record holders. It was not at all surprising for the couple to receive an overwhelming response by the people for the event, as nowadays it has become a trend to come together for marathons and socialize at the same time. Moreover the very concept of amalgamating athletics and a trail to enrich oneself with culture and the many historical monuments of Hyderabad has brought together the common folk as well as top celebrities for the same.
It has been opined that in the previous year’s event, the topography of the city had been a major hurdle. It became tiring for the many runners and thus affected their performance. On this account, Uma has made all the necessary arrangements to maintain the zeal and zest of the participants. The prize money for completing the race first is that of Rupees one lakh, for national as well as foreign participants. Moreover, other participants completing the race within the stipulated time would be given a certificate of appreciation. So, it is time to buckle up your shoes and get into a sporty avatar in order to run the race and enjoy the scenic heritage of the city of Hyderabad at the same time.