There couldnt have been a better inaugural edition of the Tawang Marathon, a mega sporting event jointly organised by the Indian Army and the Arunachal Pradesh State government at Tawang on Sunday.
The event, a first of its kind in the entire North-East saw enthusiastic participation by the locals and atheletes from over 25 states across the country.
Conducting a Marathon in high-altitude region, and, that too, with a disadvantage of long travel time to the nearest airport and railway network, was indeed challenging. Hence, the encouraging response and participation achieved was beyond all expectations of theorganisers, who had been planning the event for past over 11 months.
Apart from the Indian Army, which organised the event, there was active participation by the Indian Navy (31-member team) and the IAF (12-member team) at the event. All the CAPFs BSF, CRPF, SSB, CISF, and ITBP also sent their teams.
According to some reputed marathoners, who participated in the event, it was, perhaps, one of the most challenging high-altitude marathons in the country.
But the insistence by the organisers on proper acclimatisation period for all outside runners paid off, with only 3 DNF (Did Not Finish) recorded in the complete event. Weather Gods were also in a good mood as the runners enjoyed a pleasant day with excellent running conditions.
Union Minister for Earth Sciences, Kiren Rijiju, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu, MP Tapir Gao, Mama Nathung, Sports & Youth Affairs Minister, ALP and Lt Gen Manish Erry, GOC Gajraj Corps were among the dignitaries attending the event.
Speaking at the event, the Corps Commander said after a good beginning, he was sure that with each passing year, the event will draw more and more participation not only from India and not just the amateur runners but also some of the most competent runners across the globe.
He said the event will benefit the local economy and put Tawang on the global marathon map.
The CM hailed the organisers and announced that the event will be an annual fixture following the overwhelming response from the people.
The CM also spoke about plans to encourage adventure tourism in the region, saying that such activities also help in generating employment and other activities.
"It will also highlight the regions rich cultural heritage to the whole wide world even more prominently," he added.
Rijiju congratulated the organisers, especially the Indian Army, for an "excellent conduct" of the event.
He also lauded the enthusiastic local participation, ssying that he hoped the event would not only put Tawang on world marathon map but also set a tradition similar sporting events annually.
The historic marathon coincided with the National Swachh Bharat Campaign, which saw the participants and the audience, cleaning the Stadium premises.
The initiative even saw the dignitaries, including the chief minister, weilding the broom. (ANI)