Intermittent drizzle, the course lit up all along the 21-km route with LED lights, tube lights placed on the road divider, and the roar of the waves offered a completely different experience for over 7,500 participants of the Vizag Steel Bay Marathon on the Visakha-Bheemli beach road on Saturday night.
Some of them are regular long-distance runners and a few marathoners, but for an overwhelming number of participants, who ranged from elementary schoolchildren to 80-year-old Lakshmi, a much decorated veteran athlete, and from foreigners to contingents of men in uniform, it was a pleasant and unforgettable experience.
A group of foreigners joined the event wearing colourful hairdo and there were groups of participants from different organisations, colleges, and schools who ran, jogged or just walked enjoying the fun. There were participants from about 10 countries apart from India.
The half-marathon is not exactly a competition but more an exercise to make people care about their health. The participants ran a 3-km fun race, and the more serious ones went for the 5-km, 10-km, and the really strenuous 21-km events. At the end, they were led to an enclosure where they received medals and certificates.
For about 15 junior Intermediate students of Dr. L.B. College, the Bay Marathon was a different experience. They finished the 5-km race in about 15 minutes and said they wanted to do more night marathons.
Commander Karthik, an officer of the Naval Dockyard, who won many races when he was young and participated in the Pune International Marathon and other events, participated in a major event here after a gap of 10 years. “I have completed the 10-km race in about 54 minutes, which I used to do about 20 minutes less in the past. However, I am happy,” Commander Karthik told The Hindu.
An I-T employee Benjamin Tombi and his wife and two sons cheered 11-year-old daughter Ngailunkin as she finished the 3-km race. The girl is a pupil of KV-II, Sri Vijayanagar, and her brother could not participate as the quota from the school was full.
A Japanese homemaker, Yuko, wife of a director of Toyoto (Atchyutapuram) Tagata, was cheerful after completing the 10-km event. Ms. Yuko walks and runs regularly and her first long run was a pleasant experience.