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Bengaluru Midnight Marathon a tribute to its people

Vishal Menda
SENIOR ANALYST
News
1.05K   //    17 Dec 2012, 12:41 IST

It was a sight to behold, as 63-year-old barefoot runner, K. Manjunath, crossed the finish line after an hour and 50 minutes in the half-marathon. Manjunath who runs 5 kms a day, even at his age said, “This is my 5th Midnight Marathon and every year it just gets better. It’s well organized and I love the feeling of running at midnight.”

The 6th edition of the Bengaluru Midnight Marathon (BMM) held at KTPO, Whitefield saw over 10,000 people, young and old, compete in various races. Organised by Rotary Banglaore IT Corridor (RBITC) in association with Yes Bank, this fund-raiser also saw 200 athletes from the Armed forces  participate in the event and support the theme “Run for Bengaluru.”

Apart from RBITC’s social service projects relating to environment, health, community, the marathon is a way of giving back to the people of the city. Viraf Sutaria, RBITC President & BMM Organizer said, “Bangalore is India’s Silicone city; people are working round the clock, seven days a week. And this is a tribute to them.

“We want them to come out when there is no pollution, heat or traffic but when there is just great weather on a cold winter’s night on show. We owe it all to them really”, he added.

Intuit: QuickBooks Online

The key events at BMM 2012 held on December 15th, 2012 included the Full Marathon, Carewel Half Marathon, Target 10k Run along with the Corporate and Community Relays.

One of the first events of the day was the Community Relay and Purva Riviera from Whitefield took first place. Manish, one of the team members said that the he’s been running the marathon since it’s inception because it’s extremely unique and that it’s a great initiative.

He added, “BMM has been happening for years now, but this is the first time we took part as a community. We were motivated to prove to our society that we at our age – we obviously can’t live the lives of competitive athletes – can lead healthy lives, and this could probably inspire them.”

Many corporates too participated in various events at BMM. The likes of Deloitte, Target, Adecco had a great number of employees – some with as many as 700 – coming down from various cities for the event. And it wasn’t just any other marathon for them, but a form of team-bonding experience.

Anshuman Kumar and  Sriniwasan Ramaswami from Intuit, Quick Books Online said, “It’s good fun to connect beyond work; there is no sense of competition . There is a feeling of togetherness and we’re all for the cause.”

Putting up such an unique event on such a large scale is no mean feat but being in its sixth edition is probably why it sailed through quite smoothly. Race Director Gul Muhammed Akbar said he can deal with all the hiccups and difficulties on the way but what he was hoping for after all his efforts was a better showing in the half and full marathon.

“Believe me, it’s not easy, Bangalor-ians are very lazy. Let me substantiate that, the London Marathon sees 44,000 people take part, and we may have over 10,000 people here in various events but only 2000 take part in the full marathon”, he said.

Race Director, BMM, Gul Muhammed Akbar

Long-distance runs and marathons are generally dominated by Africans world over. And there was no surprise here.  In the closely-fought men’s full marathon of 42.195 kms, Daniel Yegon from Kenya ran his way to the first place with timing of 2 hours 27minutes and 40seconds. Joseph Keino, also from Keyna came in second with a timing of 2 hours 40 minutes followed by Santhosh from our very own MEG & Centre at 2 hours 41 minutes.

Yegon said, “It always feels great to run a marathon, but to win is something I can’t describe. I have been running as a profession and a passion all my life. Running is responsible for taking me all around the world. This is my first ever midnight marathon and I look forward to coming back to India and taking part again. What I loved about tonight was seeing people run for love of running and nothing else.”

In the half marathon of 21 kms, that had a field of over 1200 runners, Isaac Kipkemoi from Kenya came first followed by his compatriot Kipkering Hillary and Anbu Kumar from the Indian Army in the third place. Kumar hails from Tamil Nadu and is just 21-years-old.

Gladys Tarus from Kenya came first in the Women’s Full Marathon with a timing of 2 hours 59 minutes with Sudha Mani from Coimbatore coming in at the 2nd place at 3 hours 16 minutes and Indresh Dhiraj at the 3rd place with a timing of 3 hours 37 minutes.

The half marathon in the women’s category was won by Eunice Kiplagat from Kenya again, with a timing of 1 hour 22 minutes and Jon Aiyabe in the 2ndplace with a timing of 1 hour 23 minutes.  The third place went to Lalitha Babar from Maharashtra who works at the Indian Railways with a timing of 1 hour 26 minutes.

Women’s Target 10k Winner, Priyanka Singh Patel

But when it came to the Target 10K, the personnel from the armed forces had their say. Manikandan came first with a timing of 31 minutes 36 seconds, Rakesh came second with a timing of 31 minutes 37 seconds and Srinu B. came in at the third place with a timing of 31 minutes 55 seconds.

Manikandan said, “This the first ever marathon event that I have participated in. We keep hearing about marathons all over India but never get permission from our superiors to leave camp. This is the first time we were allowed to participate in something like this and it feels great. I hope to come every year, if not to win but at least run with the people of my country.”

In the women’s Target 10k category, Priyanka Singh Patel who hails from UP and represents India in the CommonWealth Games had an astounding 15 minutes lead and finished the race in just 40 minutes 17 seconds. She was followed by Deepa Susan George with a timing of 55 minutes 26 seconds and Babita Banumathy with a timing of 55 minutes 54 seconds.

But the story of the night belonged to Alejandro Dávila of Mexico, who works for Schneider Electric Pvt. Ltd. Dressed in a Mexican football jersey, wrapped in his national flag and forever sporting a smile, Davila ran for Bengaluru. When asked why he was running he said, “I’m leaving the country in three days and I thought this (running the 10K for Bengaluru) was the perfect way to say goodbye.”

Alejandro Dávila of Mexico, moments before the start of his race.

He was everything that Viraf Sutaria, the President and Organiser, stood for. This was a fitting tribute to the people who work 24×7; the people of Bengaluru. Without them, none of this uniqueness would be possible.

 For a full list of the winners and their times, click here: BMM Report.

Vishal Menda
SENIOR ANALYST
A rookie sports journalist and graduate from SIMC (UG), I've been lucky enough to intern as reporter with ESPN and as an Asst. Producer for CNBC TV18's Overdrive. Let's hope this is just the beginning, as I love sports more than life itself.
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