Fun, fitness and euphoria marked international marathon

TNN 7 December 2009, 02:39am IST

PUNE: The 24th Pune International marathon was flagged off with great enthusiasm from the Alka Talkies chowk on a chilly Sunday morning. The participants ran for a cause…some for fun, a few to test their fitness while others just wanted to be a part of the grand event.

Times of India

TNN 7 December 2009, 02:39am IST

PUNE: The 24th Pune International marathon was flagged off with great enthusiasm from the Alka Talkies chowk on a chilly Sunday morning. The participants ran for a cause…some for fun, a few to test their fitness while others just wanted to be a part of the grand event.

The main race, the 42 kilometer run, was flagged off by union minister of state for external affairs Shashi Tharoor, at 7.45 am. The event kicked off with Ganesh Vandana’ by the Nikita Moghe dance troupe followed by traditional folk dances of Maharashtra.

Soon after the main race started, Puneites readied for the Maharashtra Golden Jubilee Run’ dedicated to Maharashtra for completing 50 years of formation, followed by the AIDS Charity run.

Banners were held high bearing various social messages on HIV and the stigma associated wit it. Corporate groups, college students, a team of electronic media and individuals participated in the AIDS charity run in large numbers.

Approximately 400 employees of Cognizant Technology Solutions participated in the AIDS charity run. They carried banners with the message: “Take a Lead! Fight AIDS with caution, not fear.”

“It gives us great pride to note that Cognizant employees participated in the marathon with the same enthusiasm that they have shown in the past years,” said Debashis Chatterjee, senior vice-president, Cognizant.

“HIV/AIDS is a dark truth of our times that is shadowing the fullness of a good life. It is heartening that Pune International Marathon continues to highlight the cause of HIV/AIDS year after year. The marathon has rapidly built a good reputation for itself in the international marathon circuit. To use the attention it gets year after year for the larger cause of human welfare is a commendable step,” he said.

Tharoor, who was in the city for the third time, said, “I keep coming back to Pune and there’s always a sporting connection to it. First I came to flag off a cycle rally, later the Commonwealth Youth Games and now the marathon. It is a great feeling to be associated with the city in this way and sports is one of the things that makes Pune so great.”

Before flagging off the veterans race, MP and president of the Indian Olympics Association, and the man behind the show, Suresh Kalmadi, said, “Next year promises to be a even bigger as the Pune International Marathon enters its silver jubilee year.” He promised that the Delhi Commonwealth Games 2010 will be grand success and best ever’ event in India.

Ramesh Bagwe, minister of state for home, Harshavardhan Patil, Minister for Cooperation, Marketing and Parliamentary Affairs, Mahesh Zagade, commissioner of Pune Municipal corporation, mayor Mohansingh Rajpal besides actors Neha Dhupia, Rajat Kapur and Saurabh Shukla were also present.



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