Shimla: With cold weather settling down over the hills, it was a test of the fittest for the over 2000 long distance runners at the 3rd Great Himalayan Run that was held in the state capital on Thursday.
The youngest of the competitors who participated were barely six years old and the oldest participants were as much as 70 years old. The race attracted cross country runners from Delhi, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Haryana, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Chandigarh Uttrakhand and other states. In all there were over 2000 long distance who participated in the Great Himalayan Run.
In the 12 kilometer run for men category the winner was Manoj Kumar from Rajasthan. He got the better of Himachali lads Rakesh Kumar from Una and Hem Raj from Jogindernagar, who came second and third respectively.
For women the competitive section was 8 kilometers and Guddi Devi from Mandi emerged as the winner. The second position was bagged by Suntia from Uttar Pradesh and the third position was taken up by Rekha from Mandi.
Nivedita Singha, a young student at St Bedeâ€™s, bagged the fourth position in the womenâ€™s category and the second position in the under-20 category for girls. Neelam from Kullu was the winner in the under-20 girls category and Sushma also from Kullu was third.
In the under-20 category for boys the winner was Shashi Kant from Delhi and Sakesh from Mandi and Nitin from Solan coming second and third respectively.
With the objective of promoting tourism and encouraging children and the not so fit to take to running as a fitness regime, the event started three years ago is organized by the department of Youth Services and Sport in collaboration with Himachal Tourism.
As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik leads a team of media professionals at Hill Post.
Spanning a career of over two decades in mass communication, as a Documentary Filmmaker, TV journalist, Print Media journalist and with Online & Social Media, he brings with him a vast experience. He lives in Shimla.
well that’s just great! it’s good to see indians taking up sports instead of just watching them on TV. even if many of them are not running (in the photo), at least they’re going out there and walking.
i’m trying to inspire my parents to walk for their health because i’ve noticed that they have trouble just walking up the stairs sometimes. i’m also trying to inspire them to start thinking differently about exercise in general: how it helps them to have a lot more energy and sitting at home and taking naps is actually (not always but more often than they think) making them more lethargic.
i started to notice that people of certain cultures do not really encourage their people in general to participate in sports, let alone on a competitive level. i’m an indian (my parents were born there but i was born in new york city) by origin and i was very apprehensive about joining any team sport which involved a ball (my father played cricket for an amateur league in india before he married my mum and played football as a hobby here, in the u.s.) when i was younger because i hated the way i was treated by my classmates. though i was semi-encouraged by my parents to join they didn’t push it. their encouragement to be athletic was starting to wane when i joined the track team at school and their enthusiasm completely died after i graduated from secondary school and went off to the university. i maintained my love for running but pursued it on a very serious level after i finished my first degree and moved onto my second. this was only because i didn’t know that i had a desire to be competitive deep within me; i slowly started to find this out by participating in many races over the years and the realisation culminated after my second marathon in 2005. i’m now a long-distance runner for a competitive team in the u.s. and i love to run. my parents were at least, more accomodating of my athletic pursuits. their main concern was my health and safety…although i sometimes have serious doubts about my dad’s reaction to all this (i sometimes think he can’t handle the fact that i’m stronger than anybody in my immediate or related family and that i’d rather compete instead of showing even remote interest in getting married). i’ve met people who have told me that i ought to abandon my athletic pursuits in favour of getting married because “[i’m] not at the age where [i] should be doing such things” and less blatantly but all the more insulting i was told that “indians are known more for their brain and not their brawn” and i’ve come across many indians who think that indians are not built for sport – namely, running. etcetera etcetera. there are comments like these which are direct inferences as to why we or some other cultures do not succeed in sports (we’re not talking about cricket here!!), there’s also the “traditional” thing…the whole “traditional indian girl” thing has my blood boiling.
why is it so indecent to wear shorts and run through a city yet it isn’t obscene when we watch bollywood actresses who barely have any talent wearing low-cut everything gyrating their hips while a pseudo-macho humanoid proceeds to kiss her neck?? we, as runners wear shorts to prevent overheating and to keep flexible and our stride long. we don’t wear them to attract unwarranted attention from ignorant oglers. ANWAY, it’s not surprising that many of the other non-athletic cultures fnd these films fascinating!! ohh…i could go on! there are other things contributing to the whole lack of athleticism in india.
i understand that people are making effort to take care of their health, but we really need to start encouraging people to participate in sports for the competitive FUN. here, in the states i see many indians who would be considered at least in the upper-middle class bracket. they come in all shapes and sizes but very few of them have any muscle tone whatsoever. sure, there are those guys who go to the gym to lift weights and play basketball or play football etc. but really, it’s just a once-a-week or twice-a-week thing with them. most of the time they’re in the office in a cubicle or home or going out to guzzle beer. and what about the girls? i’ve seen ones who could be classified as “lakdis” (sticks) and one that are wayyyyyy bigger than any “lakdi” i’ve ever seen. veena reddy, an elite runner who ran the olympic qualifying marathon in boston is one of the few i’ve seen who is “skinny” with A LOT of muscle tone.
i also find it a characteristic of ignorance when people see runners like veena or people who strive to be elite as “SO skinny”. yes, we’re thin, but that’s the nature of the beast…for most of us. there are certainly bigger people who run like super-human machines but for a lot of us, our bones are on the narrow side. and we’re FIT. that’s they key ingredient which indians (among other cultures) need to strive for and the only way it’s going to happen is when people start taking a serious interest in not only their health but also in providing a more productive pasttime for their children. i’m not saying that all indians have unhealthy hobbies. learning dance (traditional or otheriwse) is one of the most beautiful and physically taxing activities but it ought to be coupled with the desire to maintain that level of fitness throughout their lives. many girls abandon dance when their work load becomes very heavy which is understandable what with the pressure to perform and get into a top-notch school. but physical fitness is a real key ingredient to increasing a person’s mental AND physical stamina. students would benefit greatly from getting an hour of fresh air and not by taking their “break” to the kitchen, in front of the TV or to the cinema.
athleticism MUST be encouraged for the sake of leading healthier and more productive lives unless the goal is to have an obesity epidemic as is the case in the u.s. children are growing bigger and bigger every few years and here, it’s because the poor cannot afford fresh, healthy food because junk foods are so much cheaper and markets where fresh produce is sold are not readily available to those who live in rough neighbourhoods. there, in india people have access to fresh vegetables and dal and meat and fish and even the poor might be able to enjoy a meal (albeit meagre) of something healthy. most people in india who have the means to afford 3 square meals a day should not be fat. i know that sounds horrible and naive, but because fresh food is cheaper and unhealthy junk foods are more expensive there, there is really no reason why people cannot enjoy a simple home-cooked meal, no matter how plain.
i have relations in several big cities who go out to eat nearly every day because they can afford to. let me say that is has not done anything to keep them healthy and fit. and some of them have children, so what kind of an example are they setting for their young kids? i’m not trying to criticise them on their parenting, but they represent the upper-middle class mentality that because you can afford to eat out you ought to take full advantage of it. leisurely activities like going to the movies (which again involves eating out at some point even if it’s a snack) and shopping (another activity which requires eating after 4 long, hard hours of trying on clothes) can take a serious toll on a person’s health. while much of this kind of lifestyle is pretty much stress-free – at least it’s more stress-free than it is here. here, upper-middle class folks have hefty college tuitions (~$40,000/year for 4 years at a private institution) and many loans to pay off and need to keep their jobs despite the economy in order to pay off whatever debt they have AND maintain the comfortable lifestyle they created for themselves.
i think i’ve said WAYYYYY more than i needed to…but i’m glad i said it.
the main point of this whole rant is to convey that athleticism is important in a society which wants to thrive in the long-run (no pun intended) and that i’m really happy when i see races such as the one in shimla but more needs to be done about the general attitude toward sports. it is good for the mind and body and has several long-term benefits unlike less grueling activities which provide mindless entertainment and promote stereotypes about indian men and women.