Running has always been underrated. Yes, the sprints and sprinters do get a worldwide recognition, but the same can’t really be said about long distance running and marathons. Almost each one of you would be more than familiar with Usain Bolt but what if I ask you, “Who Eliud Kipchoge is or who is Brigid Kosgei?” The perception towards marathons is definitely changing in India, with more and more fitness enthusiasts taking it up. Nowadays, all the big cities in India have at least one marathon named after them and various kinds of marathons are organised quite frequently in the country. Here, we look at the 10 such marathons in India:
Tata Mumbai Marathon
Started in 2004, this marathon was earlier called Standard Chartered Mumbai International Marathon. A change in sponsorship in 2018, led to it being renamed as the Tata Mumbai Marathon (TMM). It is an annual event held on every third Sunday of January in the city of Mumbai. It offers a prize pool of US$405,000 making it the richest race in India. TMM is organised in six different categories – Marathon (42kms), Half Marathon (21kms), Dream Run (6kms), Senior Citizen’s Run (4kms), Champions with disability (2kms) and the Timed 10k (10kms). The marathon attracts over 40,000 people from across the world every year, including Bollywood celebrities, sports personalities and business tycoons. It is the largest marathon in Asia and is currently recognised under IAAF Gold Label Road Race. TMM has also raised more than INR.220 crores for various charities since its inception.
Kaveri Trail Marathon
Organised by Runners for Life, the Kaveri Trail Marathan (KTM) was started in the year 2007 and is the oldest trial marathon in India. It starts near the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary and follows the flow of river Cauvery. KTM is mainly known for its scenic beauty and the physical challenges it possesses to the runners. During the course of KTM, you are bound to spot various otters and species of birds in the sanctuary. It is organised in three categories – Full Marathon, Half Marathon and a 10km trail run.
Airtel Delhi Half Marathon
The Delhi Half Marathon was started in the year 2005 and was sponsored by Hutchison Essar for the first two races. Vodafone sponsored the 2007 edition and since the 2008 edition, it is sponsored by Airtel. It is usually held in the month of November and is one of the most prestigious marathons held in India. It is conducted in four categories – Half Marathon, The Great Delhi Run (7kms), The Senior Citizen’s Run (4.3kms) and Wheelchair Race (3.5kms). It is also listed under IAAF Gold Label Road Race.
Goa River Marathon
The Goa River Marathon is held alongside the picturesque Zurai River. Goa River Marathon is recognised as one of the Great 10 Marathons in the world by National Geographic and the DNA Newspaper puts it among India’s top five. The marathon is held in four categories – Marathon, Half Marathon,10km run and the 5km fun-walk-or-run event.
Organised by Maximus Mice and Media Solutions Pvt. Ltd, Pinkathon is a United Sisters initiative. It is an event specifically for women. The main objective of Pinkathon is to encourage women’s health and fitness along with raising awareness for breast cancer. It is held in nine different cities in India – Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Guwahati and Panipat. The event is held in four categories – Half Marathon, 10km Run, 5km Run and the 3km pink ribbon walk/run for breast cancer awareness. Pinkathon was founded by Milind Soman and Reema Sanghavi.
Vasai-Virar Mayor’s Marathon
Vasai-Virar Mayor’s Marathon (VMM) is the only national level running event organised by a Municipal Corporation in the country. VMM was first held in 2011 and is primarily sponsored by Indiabulls Housing Loans. The marathon is held in three categories – Full Marathon, Half Marathon and the 11km run.
Airtel Hyderabad Marathon
Airtel Hyderabad Marathon (AHM) is an annual event held in the city of Hyderabad since 2011. It is the second largest marathon in the country after the Tata Mumbai Marathon. The marathon moves through the rolling hills in Hyderabad, making this one of the toughest events in India. It is held in four categories – Full Marathon, Half Marathon, 10km run and 5km run.
The Ladakh Marathon is held in the town of Leh and is one of the toughest marathons in India. It is held at 3500m above the sea level and so, it requires you to reach Leh at least a week before the race to get acclimatised with the weather. Ladakh Marathon was first held in 2012 in the aftermath of the 2010 Ladakh floods. It is held in four categories – Full Marathon, Half Marathon, 7km run and The Ultra Marathon/The Khardungla Challenge (72 km).
Run the Rann
Run the Rann, started in 2015, is easily India’s most challenging and unique marathon event. The runners, in this event, have to run through the white desert of Kutch often spotting wildlife along their way. The word ‘Rann’ translated to desert and so the name of the event literally means ‘Running through the Desert. It is held in three categories – Two Ultra marathons of 161km and 101km and a 51km run.
Satara Hill Marathon
The Satara Hill Marathon is held in the historic city of Satara in Maharashtra. It holds the Guinness World Record for “Most People in a Mountain Run – single mountain”. The run starts from Satara and reaches the Kaas Plateau which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The event is held in three categories – Half Marathon, 10km run and the 5km run.