The morning of Pune Half Marathon, witnessed a carnival atmosphere in the city of Pune involving over 20,000 citizens. From toddlers to elders to corporates to pros, across the nation turned out in numbers at the second edition of the Bajaj Allianz Pune Half Marathon (BAPHM) that kickstarted at 5.15 am.
Tirtha Pun (1:05:54) set a course record bettering Pradeep Singh’s timing (1:06:08) of 2018 in the half marathon (21.1K) category. The same category saw Man Singh come second for the consecutive year with a timing of 1:07:15 and the third position was bagged by Vikram B who clocked 1:07:47. In the overall women’s category, Swati Gadhave was the winner with a time of 1:20:23, followed by Jyoti Gawte and Nayak Kirdak with timings of 1:21:28 and 1:23:38 respectively.
Pun, who belongs to the Gorkha Regiment of the Armed Forces, expressed his glee after the win and praised the city’s climate.
“This is the first time that I have won the Pune Half Marathon as well as it’s my first time in the city. I am delighted, and the weather conditions were truly very apt for running,” Pun, who hails from Hyderabad.
The event saw 29% of female participants. Swati Gadhave bagged the most prized silverware among women, having won the women’s half marathon. "It was a great race and one of the best that I have run in quite some time. I am thankful to the organisers for conducting the race so well," said Swati.
BAPHM 2019 saw participants from 26 Indian states/union territory with the maximum participants (47%) in the 5K category. Over 15% of the participants were from outside Pune.
Member of Parliament, Shri Girish Bapat was also present at the event as the guest of honour and flagged off the race. Speaking from the sidelines of the race, the Pune MP said:
Each of the runners in both the categories of 21.1 K run will be taking home with them prize money of INR (75,000 – 1st and 50,000 – 2nd and 30,000 – 3rd ).
US Olympian and BAPHM 2019 Event Ambassador Janet Bawcom has been in Pune for a while to motivate the Indian runners and kickstart her Olympic trial preparation. She congratulated the winners and praised the initiative.
One of the encouraging aspects of the race was the fact that a total of 49% of the participation came from the age group of 21-40, a group that's prone to health risks due to the rise in a sedentary lifestyle.
Seeing the successful culmination of the second edition, the organisers of BAPHM also announced the dates for the next edition. BAPHM 2020 will be held on Sunday, December 13, 2020.
In his closing comments, Vikas Singh, the CEO of APG Running (the promoter of BAPHM), said, "I am really happy that we were able to bring people out of their homes to participate in this festival of wellness. Our objective to develop the culture of running in Pune is well underway, and we will be back with a bigger and better edition next year. It's emotional to see that we were able to attract latent talent from 26 states in our second edition itself – this talks about the fact that we are working well towards bringing the best runners from across the country and giving them access to a platform that is very runner-friendly.”