Sabarmati marathon introduces ‘Gujarat category’

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    The fourth Sabarmati marathon, scheduled to be held on January 5, will have a new category this time. The "Gujarat category" has been introduced for the first time to encourage local runners to participate in the annual event. The special prize of international trips to Malaysia, Dubai and Thailand, along with cash prizes of Rs 1 lakh and Rs 50,000, are the attractions under the new category.

    "This is done for the first time to encourage local people to run and participate in these events. Though the prizes are sponsored by private companies and Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) spends hardly anything on this event, it is certainly a very positive initiative,' said AMC Municipal Commissioner Guruprasad Mohapatra.

    The introduction of this category was also required in the wake of many international professional runners dropping out due to visa issues. It is expected that this time the participation of international runners would be less.

    "It is true that professional runners from foreign countries faced visa issues. Earlier, a letter from AMC would suffice, but this time they were asked for some authority letter from sports ministry as well. Because of this, there will be no participation from Kenya. However, we are expecting some 100 odd international runners," said Mohapatra.

    Chief Minister Narendra Modi will flag off the marathon at 5:45 am from Sabarmati riverfront. Till date, as many as 17,766 registrations under various categories — full marathon (42.195 km), half marathon (21.097 km), dream run (7 km) and physically challenged (5 km) — have been made. The maximum registrations (14,500) have been done under dream run category.

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