Source: The Hindu :-
Over 250 people participated in the event organised by the NGO, GoUnesco, in Bidar on Sunday. —Photo: Gopichand T.
The highest number of participants were from Hyderabad and Bengaluru
The second edition of the Heritage Marathon organised by the non-governmental organisation GoUnesco here on Sunday attracted runners from around the country.
Over 250 people participated in the event in five km, 10 km and 21 km categories. They came in from Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Odisha, New Delhi and Punjab, apart from districts in Karnataka. The highest number of participants were from Hyderabad and Bengaluru.
Sun’s rays were yet to flood the 600-acre Bidar Fort premises when the runners gathered at 5 a.m. The Gumbaz Darwaja inside the fort was abuzz with the sound of birds as they came in pairs and groups and began warming up. The organisers mapped the run to connect the 100–odd monuments in Bidar and surrounding villages. While the 5-km route covered the old city, the fort, madrassa of Mahamud Gawan, Choubarah and the heritage markets, those who covered the 10-km route went across the new city to cover pilgrimage places like Paapnash Temple gate, Baridshahi Gardens, Gurudwara Guru Nanak Jhira, and the Shukla Teertha spring.
The 21-km route covered the fort ramparts, giving the runners a beautiful view from the backside of the fort wall that is usually missed by the regular tourists. It also passed through the tombs of the Behmani Royal family, St. Paul Methodist Church, the seven gates on the outer fort wall, and the Manjra river valley. They got down the valley near Mangalpet and climbed up around 100 ft near the district science centre to re-enter the fort on the eastern side.
Members of the NGO Team Yuva manned the aid stations on the way to show directions to runners. They also distributed them water, biscuits and other eatables along the way. Quick response team members of the district police completed the 21-km run. Some young flying officers from the Indian Air Force base in Bidar also participated. Students of Shaheen School and city municipal council employees also ran.
Though it was a non-competitive event, runners dashed against the wind to finish first. Sunil Menon, a.k.a. Iron Man, for breaking national records in completing marathons, was the first to come back to the start/ finish line. Ravi Kumar Koguru, an advertisement executive with The Hindu , stood second. Sudhir Kumar Reddy, the 31-year-old Superintendent of Police of Bidar, took the fourth place.
Ajay Reddy, founder of GoUnesco, was happy at the response. “When we started last year, we had only around 120 entries. This year, our registrations have doubled. This shows that awareness about health and heritage is increasing among the youth,” he said.
Unnikrishan Koti, a runner from Hyderabad said he was touched by the people’s response. “Vehicles made way for us, women asked us if we wanted water and children queued up to shake hands with us. These are joys of a small town,” he said.
P. Anuradha Reddy, co-convenor, INTACH, Hyderabad, who flagged off the runs, said Bidar’s rich heritage had to be preserved.
“This should start from creating awareness about the cultural significance of the heritage and about ways to protect it. Among the easiest ways to do that is to spread word about it,” she said.
Annies. K. Joy, Assistant Commissioner, who also participated, hoped that such events would help promote tourism in the district. “We are working towards spreading information about the heritage potential of the city that will increase tourist footfalls,” she said.
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