With more than 13,000 runners descending into the city of Bengaluru for My Country Run, the 4th edition of the event had its memorable moments even as it entered the Asia Book of Records and India Book of Records for being the largest run to promote sports and healthy living.
On a cool and breezy Sunday morning in Bengaluru, residents woke up to the pounding of footsteps as a sea of humanity made their way to the outskirts of the city.
This time, footsteps were destined for the designated routes of NICE Tollgate, Hosakerehalli where the 4th Edition of My Country Run brought together sportspersons and road racing enthusiasts, both young and the eternally young from different parts of India and abroad.
My country Run is an annual fun-filled not for profit event organised by Jain (Deemed-to-be University), which aims at empowering individuals and society to promote healthy lifestyles through promotion of sports in a positive and welcoming atmosphere.
At the final count, more than 13000 registered for the run and pledged their unwavering support to the cause, which focused on promoting ‘a culture of sportsmanship, health and fitness in the country’.
The participants had a choice of running in three categories: Elite 10K, Open 10k and Cool 5K, as they sought to reiterate the message that ‘healthy and fit citizens will march India towards a sustained period of growth and prosperity’.
The Elite 10K and Open 10K were flagged off by Shri Sanand Kamal, Shri O Rajendran, Shri Rajendra Khataria, Shri Thomas Bobby Philip and Dr. Chenraj Roychand while Cool 5K was flagged off by Lt Gen Vipan Gupta, Shri Sanand Kamal, Shri O Rajendran, Shri Rajendra Khataria, Shri Thomas Bobby Philip and Dr. Chenraj Roychand.
Speaking at the event, the Chief Guest Lt Gen Vipan Gupta – VSM Commandant, ASC Centre and College reiterated the importance for citizens to support these kind of events. “I am extremely happy to see Bengaluru people participate in such large numbers and this reinforces the belief in me that India for sure is walking the health path.”
As if reading from the same script, the event host and sponsor too called upon the participants to make Bengaluru a fit community.
“If we take 5000 steps a day, it will enable us to add a good 20 or so years to our lives, will strengthen both our mental and physical fitness that helps in developing and nurturing leadership qualities and that in turn will lead us to health and wealth,” noted the affable edupreneur Dr. Chenraj Roychand.
He was flanked at the venue by a distinguished list of dignitaries that included Shri M Nandan – DIG, CISF, Shri Sanand Kamal – DIG, CRPF, Shri O Rajendran – Assistant Commandant, CISF, Shri Rajendra Kha taria – IAS, Shri Ashok Kheny – Managing Director, NICE and Shri Thomas Bobby Philip – a Barefoot Marathoner.
On his part, Dr. Sundararajan, Vice Chancellor, JAIN, expressed his happiness at the successful conduct of the event. “I am thrilled by the continuous support provided by the enthusiastic participants, and the record number of countries and regions that they come from,” he said. “Their participation is the reason we feel motivated to strive harder in identifying and nurturing sporting talents”.
It is a view that was shared by “Barefoot” marathoner, Thomas Bobby Philip, the first Indian ever to complete the 26 miles at the Boston Marathon barefoot without taking any break. “I had the pleasure of being invited as a guest,” he said. “And in my first race, I have been pleasantly surprised to see over 12000 registrations across the 3 categories. The professional organisation fully managed by the students, the impressive set up at the holding area and the overall fun environment is truly amazing. The vision of this event turning out to be among the largest run events in the city is something not to be missed.”
Other invitees too had only good words for the organisers. “JAIN as an institution deserves credit for organising such a fabulous event,” said Shri Sanand Kamal – DIG, CRPF.
Equally delighted was Shri O Rajendran- Assistant Commander, CISF. “I am very happy to see the participants come together for a cause. Such events bring forth a strong spirit of unity. I was here for the last edition and all I can say is that My Country Run has become bigger and bigger, looking at the number of participants and the elaborate arrangements. I am elated to witness such a tremendous response.”
According to Shri Ashok Kheny – Managing Director, NICE, “My Country Run has contributed to the ‘Patriotism Spirit’ running in the country. I am lucky to be here and witness such a gala event and am confident that MCR will go on to become the largest run in the country. I wish the team of My Country Run the very best of luck.”
Major General N S Rajpurohit – VSM, DCCI, ASC College and Centre, Bengaluru too expressed his happiness at the event: “I am extremely proud of the Bengaluru crowd that has turned up in their thousands early morning for the run and this shows that our Nation is going towards being fit and healthy.”
The organisers of the event have anchored their beliefs in the fact that it is important to encourage and help participants overcome personal boundaries in a supportive environment. Besides, focusing on improving the status and experiences of runners in the city of Bengaluru through collective marketing and promotions, information communication, within the education sector, industry, media, the run this year trained its guns on people from all walks of life: families, schools and college youth, corporates, specially challenged individuals, senior citizens, and over 2000 runners from Armed Forces, in an attempt to promote a sporting culture besides raising the profile of distance racing.
For the record, there were also participants from the Indian Defence forces, apart from bringing together people who love to compete, participate, and volunteer. “We were honoured by the participation of our defence forces. That is the reason we decided to dedicate this edition of My Country Run to our Defence forces. Without them, we cannot go about our daily routine in normalcy,” noted Dr. Shankar UV – event organising committee member and Director, Sports, JAIN. “It’s heartening to see the tremendous response which indicate the efforts on making this a mass event. Thanks to all the participants for joining hands with us to promote sports, health and fitness,” he said.
In parallel with the racing, a galaxy of performers and performances were lined up at the venue to provide light moments. Adapt Fitness Team got the audience to cheer through their Zumba fitness show.
Besides fitness, Ms. Likitha, Mr. Sanam Singh Khokkar and their team showcased their dance skills while DJ John Paul, MC Jatin Khandelwal and MC Ashutosh on their part mesmerised the crowd with their electrifying performances. So too did the Nasik Dhol, Punjabi Dhol and Dhol Kunita who left the crowd enthralled. For the vast majority of the road racers, who stayed on through the proceedings, they kept their enthusiasm alive and well, a sizeable number being women and children.
The highlight of the 4th edition of MCR was the official induction of the run into the Asia Book of Records and India Book of Records for being the ‘Largest Run for Promoting Sports and Health’.
The certificates and medals were handed over by the Record Official to Dr. Chenraj Roychand and Dr. Shankar UV, drawing huge cheers from the ecstatic guests and participants. In the International Elite 10K (Men), the first place went to Kosgei Stephen, second was bagged by Ibrahim Wachira, and the third place by Alitu Amanuel Abdu. On the women’s side, Elite 10K, Eunice Lucia Mutie took the first place, second was taken by Caren Jebet Maiyo, Berihun Brutkan Adeba came in third.
In the domestic Elite 10K (Indian Men), the first place in the category went to Belliyappa, second was bagged by Anbu Kumar K, and the third place by Pravesh.
On the Indian women’s side, Elite 10K racer, Priti took the first place, second was taken by Pramila Yadav and Preenu Yadav came in third.
In the Open 10 kilometers-long race (Men), the first place in the category went to Arjun Pradhan, second was bagged by Dinesh Kumar and the third place by Shivam Yadav. On the women’s side, Open 10 kilometers racer Archana KP took the first place, second was taken by Mamata
and Thippavva Sannaki came in third.
Since the first race, the number of racers crossing the finishing line has been on the rise thus raising the profile of the event in the country and abroad.