Over 20,000 run Sabarmati marathon
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Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), the organiser of the event, claimed that the number of participants in full and half marathon was highest in the country so far. More than 40 per cent of the participants were women, said organisers.
"The next edition of this annual event will be associated with a cause. It is only the enthusiasm of residents of Ahmedabad that such an event is getting popular every year. From the state alone, we have four cities where such marathons are organised annually. These events are now being much awaited and sought after by participants from not only the country but also abroad," said Narendra Modi, who flagged off the marathon from Vallabh Sadan, Sabarmati riverfront.
Refuting the controversies pertaining to the affiliation with Association of International Marathon Society (AIMS), AMC Commissioner Guruprasad Mohapatra said, "AIMS has certain mandatory requirements. Until we fulfil them, we do not qualify for the affiliation. One of these basic requirements included organisation of full marathon for at least three times. Now when we have achieved the mark of three marathons, the process of affiliation is already in process."
With around 600 participants in full marathon (42 kms), the event kicked off at 6:15 am in the presence of senior AMC officials including mayor Asit Vora and municipal commissioner Guruprasad Mohapatra. There were 17,000 registered runners while the remaining included a few non registered ones, students and physically challenged participants for whom there was open registration.
"This is the first time I am participating in such an event. My family encouraged me for this. I want to prove that disability is no constraint and even people like me can participate and win such events," said Mohammad Sajid (29), a resident of Jamalpur who was on a wheel chair and though was accompanied by an assistant but showed an equal enthusiasm.
Sajid was one of the participants among 76 under physically challenged category. This included participants from various blind associations too.
Similarly, around 5,000 runners were registered and non-registered school students. "We have not missed the previous two marathons. Despite being too cold, every year we have participated and will be doing this in the coming years was well," shared a young girls from city municipal schools. Similar views were expressed by a group of young students from St Xaviers College, Ahmedabad.