Photo Essay: Sunfeast World 10K Run
For a moment forget the regular kvetching that one hears in various sources of news and media regarding Bangalore's woeful infrastructure issues. Keeping aside all these daily resentments, everyone rushed to the Kanteerva Stadium on a bright Sunday morning.
The event comprised of six races: World 10K Elite Men, World 10K Elite Women, Senior Citizens run (4 KM), Wheelchair event (4 KM), Open 10K Run and Majja Run (5.7 KM). Since the event was slotted between 6AM and 10:30AM, the city police authorities had made punctilious plans for minimal diversion of traffic during the four-hour marathon which saw active participation of around 20,000 people.
When I reached the spot around 7:30AM, preparations were in full swing for the Senior Citizens run which saw an impressive crowd of 700 plus participants. Most of senior citizens were aged above 60 but the energy and the exuberance that they displayed, quashed the roar of helicopters circling the stadium. Harmony, an NGO organized the senior citizens run. Each of the participants was given a T-shirt by Harmony and once they were dressed, there was a wave of uniformity at the starting point, very similar to a sight when children assemble in schools for morning prayer before classes commence. The highlight of this race was the high energy level of the senior citizens making them feel as if they were still in their teens. Jokes were cracked, few laughs were shared and there was an infectious air of camaraderie among these people who came not only from Bangalore but also from different parts of India.
Oprah Winfrey once said running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it. This was the kind of perseverance exhibited by a group of steel-willed people. Braving the heat and the dust, the handicapped persons maneuvered their wheel chairs, reflecting the true spirit of participation.
Suddenly the action shifted to inside the stadium because the World 10K Elite Men/Women had entered the final stage. In a closely contested run, Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea bagged the 1,50,000 US Dollar Sunfeast World 10K title by completing the marathon in 27:51 seconds just three seconds ahead of his rival Moses Kipsiro of Uganda. The women’s section witnessed the rarest of rare photo finishes in any 10k run, with both Grace Momanyi of Kenya and Elevan Abeylegesse of Turkey, declared joint winners. The complete results can be seen here.
There was cut throat competition in the Open 10K run which had large groups of amateur runners, trying their level best to live up to their own expectations. Few ran, few jogged and rest others just walked in the spirit of sport.
Everyone was indeed up and running. It was a place where the east met the west while running.
The most delightful aspect was to see each one run irrespective of caste, creed, color, religion, sex, age, language, region, etc.
There was one single motive to be a part of the excitement and ebullience.
The Majja Run as the name signifies (majja means fun) merriment was the epicenter of frolic and liveliness. Though the distance to be covered for this particular race was only 5.7 kms, what separated this one from the others were the variety and the diversity. There were runners turning up in varied costumes with powerful messages, banners and placards.
Few celebrities like Dino Morea, Rahul Bose, Charu Sharma and Vijay Amritraj had the crowd screeching as they made their appearance for the Majja Run. Everything here resembled a mini-carnival and fancy dress competition. Girls with different attention-getting dresses very much like the Indianized version of IPL cheerleaders attire.
Someone even put on special clothes to appear princely, like the mighty Tipu Sultan.
The one that surpassed every other costume in terms of ingenuity and colorations was the Ravana attire. Participants were pulled in towards this individual dressed as Ravana to take a few snaps in the midst of the race.
There were lots of groups and voluntary associations such as Parikrma, Harmony and others who all came under one umbrella 'Bangalore Cares'. This aggroup participated in the race for a number of causes such as children welfare, greener and pollution free Bangalore, togetherness, etc.
How can an event of such extensive magnitude and variety happen without the support from corporate and business sponsors and advertisers? Well of course there were some sponsors from a wide spectrum. DHL was the logistics partner and it participated in big numbers, with few of the team members having flown from Mumbai. To name a few, Nike was the running partner, Kingfisher, the airline partner, Radio Mirchi as the radio partner, Manipal Cure and Care, as the medical and health partner, etc who passionately supported the cause and diversity of the World 10K experience. Steve Young, General Manager, Nike Inc., Asia Pacific Region, had flown in from Portland, U.S., to participate in the Sunfeast World 10K run. CNBC-TV18 was media partner and it brought the event live to millions of Indians on that day, to the television sets from 7AM onwards, along with a potpourri of other coverages and programmes related to this the event.
All in all, it was a well organized event with got an equally receptive reactions from all those who participated for this run. This race put Bangalore in the map of conducting with dynamism and zings a global marathon. More so, it was a testimony to the fact that multiple goals can be achieved through sports and citizen’s active participation and above all how sports are a social leveler.
In this huge ocean of human beings, I could see some human faces which pulled my attention like a magnet pulls pieces of iron. There was this elderly woman selling ground nuts who was a bit perplexed to see a sea of people just running, a very new site from what sees in her day to day life.
This man was also confused to see this sudden wave of sneaker lovers on an otherwise traffic struck road.
But one of the most satisfying moment in this entire event running with my camera was to capture this bubbly toddler, who had come with her dad and brother (if you can see, the young brother is just hidden from the father) to be a part of this race. She was giving poses which to me meant, 'Daddy isn’t allowing me to run or crawl this year, well next year I would be there to tip toe with other people'. That's a smart and emotionally charged expression, so I and my fellow Bangaloreans would wait for you, sunshine girl, till we meet again.
The rest of the pictures are in this album.
Photo Essay: Sunfeast World 10K Run
- » Published on May 20, 2008
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Author: Tanay Behera
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