New Delhi: More than 12,000 runners, including 13 Rio Olympians, will take part in the elite race category of the ninth edition of Airtel Delhi Half Marathon on November 20, as the organisers Tuesday claimed that registration for participation was closed in a record time.
The USD 2,70,000-prize money event will witness 12,844 runners in the elite Half Marathon (men and women); 19,972 in the Great Delhi Run, 1004 Senior Citizens, and 445 people in the Champions with Disability category, taking the total number of participants to 34,325. Rio Olympics full marathon (42.195 km) race champion Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya and reigning half marathon (21.097 km) World Champion Peres Jepchirchir, also of Kenya, will be the star runners in the men’s and women’s elite race categories respectively.
As the Capital city reeled under one of the worst air pollution crises, the organisers said they have been monitoring the situation which is getting better day by day and advised the runners to “wear pollution gears according to best medical advice they could get”. With all compulsorily timed half marathon running spots filling in record time, the registration was closed 11 days prior to the deadline, the organsiers said. With 13 Rio Olympians also taking part, the organisers claimed that the Delhi event has become the most competitive and prestigious Half Marathon race.
Other top runners in the fray include Worknesh Degefa, a specialised half marathoner who has run 22 half marathons in past four years, with 15 podium finishes; Stephen Kiprotich, the London 2012 Olympics marathon champion; rising Tanzanian runner Alphonce Sambu who was placed fifth at Rio; Gladys Chesir, who finished third at ADHM last year and Tesfaye Abera, winner of Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2015.
Asafa Powell, the athlete credited with paving the way for a decade of Jamaican domination in sprint, will be present as brand ambassador and cheer all the participants.
Commenting on the countdown towards Race Day, Ravindra Singh Negi, Bharti Airtel (Delhi/NCR) CEO, said, “It is heartening to see the enthusiastic response to Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, especially for the 21km half marathon, for which the registrations closed in record time.
“Over the years, ADHM has become a landmark event that celebrates the spirit of running and sees participation by people from all walks of life, including top international athletes. We are truly excited as we move closer to the race day and invite people to run and also cheer the participants.”
Dilip Jayram, CEO, Procam International, said, “Entering into the ninth edition of this iconic event, we are extremely delighted to see the enthusiasm and eagerness from all those participating in the race. The presence of sporting stalwarts like Asafa Powell and Eliud Kipchoge makes this year all the more special and will provide an additional vigour to all the participants and inspire more people to take up running.”
Among the new initiatives this year, one will be Nestle’s ‘Run an extra 100’ in support of educating the girl child.
Nutrition partner Nestle will encourage participants to run for an additional 100m in the Great Delhi Run to show support for the cause. This is an extension of Nestle’s ongoing efforts to spread awareness for the cause of girl child education in India.