It was at dawn that Delhiites geared up for the annual Airtel Delhi Half Marathon on the 21st November’10. The marathon aimed to convey the importance of fitness, as well as to bring people from different walks of life to stand together and support a cause that they truly believe in. Participants included international athletes, Bollywood stars and various heads of corporate companies.
Expecting participants from different age groups, the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon had a Senior Citizen’s run, a Wheelchair Event, the Great Delhi Run and the Half Marathon. It was heartening to see elderly people run alongside younger members of their families. The sound of vuvuzelas and bhangra music filled the air making the event absolutely electrifying. The Great Delhi Run was flagged off by Delhi Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit.
The marathon provided a platform for non – profit organizations to publicize their work and gather support from the community. In collaboration with the Concern India Foundation which was the Charity Partner for the event, several NGOs registered themselves to not only raise funds but also to participate in the marathon. A total of 72 NGOs registered themselves and every organization had a team of supporters, volunteers, friends and families running to support various social causes. One could hear the various slogans and see numerous groups with banners. It was quite a sight to see diverse groups of people wearing organizational colors, some going a step further with bright colored wigs and costumes. The turnout proved that the Delhi public is not as apathetic as it is often portrayed, as members came together to support charitable causes.
The YP Foundation also participated in the Marathon. They could be spotted wearing purple, black, yellow, green T shirts and carrying banners. The YP Foundation (TYPF) is a youth run and led organization that supports and enables young people to create programmes and influence policies in the areas of gender, sexuality, health, education, the arts & governance. The organization promotes, protects and advances young people’s human rights by building leadership, and strengthening youth led initiatives and movements. Founded in 2002, TYPF has worked directly with 5,000 young people to set up over 200 projects in India over the last 8 years, reaching out to 300,000 adolescents and young people between 3-28 years of age. For us, the build up to the marathon commenced in September itself when our team of volunteers and staff began to fundraise through individual pledges. It was fantastic to witness the support that we garnered across all communities who were happy to contribute to further and sustain our different projects. It was representative of how young people can achieve what they are truly passionate about. Amongst our 70 supporters, 30 ran for the marathon and it was a tremendous experience. The energy emitted by each person on the street was infectious and caught on to our volunteers and soon, we made our way through the crowd while dancing, jogging and simply spreading the joy. It was a day truly to be remembered, and an event we look forward to participating in every year.