The Delhi Half Marathon, the World's Richest and Most Prestigious Half Marathon, has a new identity. Come November 9, Delhi will rekindle the joys of running and come together under the banner of Airtel Delhi Half Marathon.
A substantial increase in the prize money on offer, exciting initiatives to give every participant an unforgettable experience on Race Day and a commitment from the new Official Charity Partner, Concern India, to attempt for a significant increase in the monies raised towards charity are some of the exciting features heralding the arrival of the new title sponsor to the event.
This was announced by Manoj Kohli, CEO and Joint Managing Director of Airtel in the august presence of Shri Suresh Kalmadi, MP and President, Indian Olympic Association and Dr. L K Bhanot, Secretary, AFI at a press conference to launch the event in New Delhi on Tuesday, September 9.
To commemorate the occasion, music maestro A R Rahman has prepared an exclusive Airtel Delhi Half Marathon soundtrack, which was showcased to the media and the gathering that included members of the governing bodies and representatives from the various partners to the event.
The capital city first experienced the magic of running three years ago when its citizens welcomed the first edition of the Delhi Half Marathon with great enthusiasm. Since then the number of participants has swelled to 30,000 amid serious efforts from promoters Procam International, along with the support from the partners to the event, to convert fun runners into serious fitness and running enthusiasts and the results are there for all to see.
“In the past three years the Delhi Half Marathon has been the perfect build-up event to the 2010 Commonwealth Games. I have watched the event grow tremendously with every passing year and consider it the ideal platform to get the entire city of Delhi fit in time to welcome to Games. This year, the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon will be bigger and better and will prove to the world that Delhi is more than capable of hosting events that are among the best in the world. The IOA is proud of this event and wishes it all the very best in the years to come,” said IOA President Suresh Kalmadi.
Said Manoj Kohli, Joint Managing Director & CEO, Bharti Airtel, “I am delighted to announce that we have taken the title ownership of the Delhi Half Marathon for the next three years. The marathon will now be named as the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon. The ownership of this asset is in line with our brand philosophy and will further strengthen our brand belief in the minds of our consumers. The whole city converging on a road to run is a celebration of the human spirit to overcome barriers. The Delhi Half Marathon will celebrate this philosophy and create resonance with people of Delhi , one of the markets that are closest to our hearts.”
In the first year, the event attracted 4000 entries for the half marathon. That number increased to around 8000 in the second year. Ten thousand running places were on offer in the third year for the half marathon and the figure is expected to be oversubscribed this year. Helping people in their efforts to progress from the 6km Great Delhi Run to the 21.097km Half Marathon will be the training programs conducted by the Official Training Partner Reebok, whose trainers have been coached by the world's leading distance runners, under the guidance of elite athletes' coordinator Ian Ladbrooke.
Besides the Half Marathon, which occupies pride of place, race day has been packed with features like the Great Delhi Run, the Senior Citizen's Run and the Wheelchair Event, giving every Delhiite above the age of 12 an opportunity to emerge winners in their own right.
The Half Marathon has helped bring Delhi together like never before as people from all strata of society come together in a celebration of the human spirit. Every participant who crosses the finish line on Race Day and even those who don't, but give it their best shot, are winners. Be it the professional athlete, the serious runner, the fitness enthusiast, the senior citizen or the wheelchair bound, they all break barriers on that day. Physical barriers, mental barriers, social barriers come to naught before the magic of sport, whose power to push for excellence and help battle one's physical and mental limitations is unparalleled.
INCREASED PRIZE MONEY: The Airtel Delhi Half Marathon continues to remain the world's richest half marathon with the prize money being upped by a whopping USD 50,000 to now stand at USD 210,000. Ratified by AIMS and recipient of the IAAF Gold Label, the already much talked about event on the international circuit will attract the leading long distance runners from around the world. A separate prize fund for Indian athletes will also ensure that our home grown elite runners are assured of their moments in the spotlight.
The male and female winners of the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon stand to gain USD 25,000 each, with prize money percolating down to the first ten places, while the male and female Indian winners stand to gain USD 4,000 each, this separate prize fund also extending to the first ten places.
Dr. Lalit K Bhanot, Secretary, Athletics Federation of India will be the Race Director of the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon 2008 and Britain's legendary marathoner Hugh Jones will be the technical director of the event, jointly responsible for all the technical and logistical aspects of the event.
Keeping in account the huge demand for running places, the number this year has been increased to 30,000 from 28,500 last year and registrations for the same will begin on September 10, 2008. Registrations will close on October 15, 2008 or as soon as running places for each race category is filled up, whichever is earlier.
The Half Marathon : The feature event of the day will be the open half marathon, to be run over 21.097 kms. The event has always attracted a world class field, a claim backed by the super fast winning times. In 2005, Kenya 's Philip Rugut clocked 1:01.54, which was 21 seconds faster that the winning time of the World Half Marathon Championships 2004. Rugut's time was bettered by his countryman Francis Kibiwott by 18 seconds in 2006, storming home in 1: 01.36. The course record was further lowered in 2007 by Rwandan Diudonnne Disi, who stopped the clock at 1:00:43.
The flat course of the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon is conducive for fast timings and with the cool weather that prevails in the capital city in November, there is every possibility of the existing record being broken again.
Competing against world class performers and for a separate prize fund has also improved Indian performances. Ram Singh Yadav finished the 2006 race in 1:06.52, 22 seconds faster than what Jagannath Lakde clocked while winning the race in 2005. Yadav outdid himself in 2007, lopping 43 seconds from his own mark while crossing the finishing line in 1:06.09
The half marathon will also have veteran and senior veteran categories for men and women. The age limit for the open category is 18 years and above as on 08-11-2008, while the veteran category will be open to men 45 years and above and women 40 years and above. The senior veterans category will be open to men 55 years and above and women 50 years and above.
Senior Citizen's Run: Supported by Harmony, this race will be run over 4.3 kms. The event is open to persons 60 years and above with no upward age limit.
Wheelchair Event: This event will be for the physically handicapped and will also be over 4.3 kms.
The Great Delhi Run: The event that will involve the entire city will be the Great Delhi Run, which will be run over a distance of 7 km. This race, open to persons 12 years and above, will be the platform for people from all walks of life and different age groups to come together and celebrate the spirit of life. The Great Delhi Run will also be the vehicle driving charity, with individuals raising money for causes of their choice through the various charity initiatives.
Training Packages: Reebok is the official Training and Sportswear partner of the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon and is offering scientific and organized training to every running enthusiast who harbors hopes of challenging one's self to run in and complete the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon.
Reebok India , through their certified Reebok India trainers, will be offering training packages to corporate establishments, residential societies and running enthusiasts to get them fit and running before the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon 2008. The training packages will be variable between 4 to 8 weeks depending on the physical capability of the individual and the run he or she wishes to participate in. Training enrolment forms will be available across Reebok stores.
Reebok trained over 5000 people last year and intends to double the figure this year.
Event Telecast: Procam Mediatel will produce the coverage of the world class athletics action as well as the festivities that follow, which will be telecast live on CNBC-TV18 and IBN7, with a simulcast on Doordarshan terrestrially.
The event is being promoted by Procam International and conducted under the aegis of the Athletic Federation of India and is supported by the Government of Delhi and the Ministry of Sports, Government of India.
New Charity Partner: Marathons around the world are large charity generating events and the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon is no exception. Over Rs four crore has been generated towards charity over three years, benefiting over 50 different NGOs.
The charity initiative of the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon in 2008 will be driven by Concern India Foundation, the new Charity Partner. Started in 1991, Concern India Foundation is a non-profit, public charitable trust that supports development-oriented organisations working for the disadvantaged.
Concern India Foundation reaches out to more than 120 programs through its offices in Mumbai, Delhi , Hyderabad , Bangalore , Chennai, Kolkata and Pune.
Event Partners: The Airtel Delhi Half Marathon is partnered by leading brands and corporates in their respective fields, critical to the fabric of the event. Every partner is an integral part of the Half Marathon family and lends its own expertise to the event, helping it maintain its exalted status in the highly professional field of world distance running events.
Following is the list of Partners:
Title Sponsor – Airtel
Broadcast Partner – Prasar Bharati
Channel Partner – CNBC-TV18, IBN7
Print Partner – Times of India
Financial Services Partner – Standard Chartered Bank
Logistics Partner – DHL
Training and Sportswear Partner – Reebok
Good Times Partner – Kingfisher
Radio Partner – Radio Mirchi
Internet Partner – Indiatimes.com
Hospitality Partner – Le Meridien
Official Charity – Concern India
Institution Partner – Harmony for Silvers Foundation
Promoted by – Procam International
Registration for the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon can be done online through the event website www.adhm.indiatimes.com or duly filled entry forms, along with the applicable fee, can be mailed to P.O. Box No. 3634, Lajpat Nagar, New Delhi -110 024.
Entry forms in Delhi are available at Airtel Relationship Centres, DHL Express Centres, Le Meridien, Times of India office, Reebok outlets, Radio Mirchi office and the Concern India office. Alternatively, the entry form can also be downloaded and printed from the event website. Local Delhi & NCR residents can deposit their Entry Forms along with requisite entry fees at select Standard Chartered Bank branches in Delhi & NCR.
The entry fee for participants living in India will be Rs. 300 for the half marathon and the Great Delhi Run and Rs 200 for the senior citizens' run and the wheelchair event, while for overseas participants the fee will be USD 30 for the half marathon, USD 20 for the Great Delhi Run and USD 10 for the Senior Citizens' Run.
Further details can be got from the toll free event helpline number 550000 for Airtel subscribers and 9818 222 222 for other subscribers, which will be open from 10 am to 6 pm, Monday to Saturday. Registration details can also be sourced from the event website www.adhm.indiatimes.com, via sms and through WAP.
‘Get Active'-The Delhi Half Marathon Expo: Four days prior to Race Day (November 5-8, 2008), ‘Get Active' a health, fitness and lifestyle expo will be organized and marketed by Radio Mirchi Activation, which will present an unique opportunity for health, fitness and wellbeing enthusiasts to come together under one roof.
In the short span of four years, The Delhi Half Marathon has earned for itself pride of place amongst the top half marathons in the world. AIMS and IAAF have been lavish in their praise for the event and many of the world's best long distance athletes have lined up for a share of the world's richest purse. The event has also done a fair bit in enhancing the capital city's reputation as one of the major sporting destinations in the world.
A movement that began in 2005 has gained momentous proportions. The distance running juggernaut is set to roll. Come, let's all lend our might and be a part of the Magic.