New Delhi, September 24, 2012
Preparations for the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon have entered the final stage, and anticipation for the world’s most prestigious half marathon is building rapidly in the capital city. The individual participants are into their final training schedules, while the NGOs and their countless supporters are selflessly pledge-raising for the eighth edition of this unique event, promoted by Procam International, which will be flagged off from the iconic Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Sunday, September 30, 2012.
This year, spearheaded by Concern Indian Foundation, the charity drive associated with the event has already helped raise Rs 3.5 crore and the target set for this year is Rs 4 crore.
This was announced by Nidhi Singh, Director Concern India Foundation, in the presence of some of the individuals raising money for charity and Hasleen Kaur, Pantaloons Femina Miss India Earth 2011.
“The Airtel Delhi Half Marathon is not just for athletes or runner enthusiasts. It is as much an opportunity for socially conscious citizens to raise pledges for a cause. They firmly believe that each and everyone of us has the capability to make a difference,” said Nidhi Singh “Charity is more than just giving away material things to someone, it’s about changing someone’s life for the better through a small or a big gesture, even if it means imparting moral education or sensitising someone about an issue. It demands true involvement of the heart and mind for making someone’s life moments beautiful, you touch someone’s life and bring about a huge change in the way he/she views life thereafter,” said Harleen.
When the Delhi Half Marathon was first launched in 2005, it was perceived largely as a sporting event and few people were aware of the charitable aspect and the great potential this event could have as a fundraising platform for NGOs across the country. Since that first year, the half marathon has progressed into a huge charitable platform, providing a valuable source of funding for numerous programs, working in many varied fields.
Through the combined effort of the organizers, NGOs and, of course, the participants and donors, people have come to recognize the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon as an event that combines the spirit of sportsmanship with that of charity.
Runners are motivated by the spirit to compete, but even more so by the knowledge that their physical efforts will result in positive change for countless people less fortunate than themselves.
Adhar Mehra, who is running in aid of Navjyoti India Foundation says he feels moved whenever he see the apathy of the underprivileged children and has been volunteering for many years to help them. “The Airtel Delhi Half Marathon presents a wonderful opportunity to further help the cause. Navjyoti has been doing great work in supporting children through its education programs. I feel connected & compassionate to its cause and I am excited at the prospect of being able to raise money by running the half marathon.”
Each year since its inception, the Delhi Half Marathon has received a better response than the previous year. Every edition sees more NGOs, more runners, more corporate teams and more funds raised toward charity. The Delhi Half Marathon has progressed from 27 participating NGOs in its first year to over 75 in 2012, the 5th edition of the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon.
Last year Rs.3.3 crore was raised and this year the event has already helped raise Rs.3.5 crore and is expected to cross Rs 4 crore. As of today, there are 72 corporates with 95 teams registered to run.
There are a large number of individual runners too who have dedicated much time and effort into raising impressive sums for the charities they support. The youngest of these are Urvi Maheshwari in class 7, who has raised Rs. 2.3 lakhs so far and Madhur Dhupar, 13 years old, who has raised Rs.3.5 lakh.
“I feel humbled and privileged to be able to do something that will help needy children. This is the most rewarding and satisfying thing I have ever done. But I am also aware that the money that I have collected is a drop in the ocean. I would like to do much more to help children who are less fortunate than me. I am happy to run in the Great Delhi Run, but the bigger thing is that in the process I have discovered a worthwhile goal that will enrich my life and give it direction,” said Urvi.
Siraj Chaudhry, Chairman, Cargill India Pvt. Ltd, who is also raising funds through the event, had this to say, “Airtel Delhi Half Marathon is becoming increasingly popular with the corporate sector as it brings fun and charity together. The event offers an opportunity to sensitize employees towards both fitness and the causes being supported. Being an annual event brings consistency and helps beneficiary organizations plan better. While participants look forward to the event for the fun and challenge, its benefits go much beyond the event to have a lasting impact on lives of people who need support.”
Arun Arora, who is supporting Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital, said, “Let’s run and change the lives of those who are suffering from Avoidable Blindness – it’s only a 6 km race for us, but for them it is a race against a lifetime of darkness!”
It is the support of committed individuals like these that ensures the success of the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon. Richard Rekhy, who is participating in the Great Delhi Marathon for the third successive year says, “I support Concern India Foundation which will put the funds to use for causes like education, disability support, women empowerment, rural development and care of the elderly. We are fortunate to be where we are today and I strongly feel that we must fulfill our roles as stewards to society. Opportunities to give help and support others abound and I hope that I can become the one of the mediums of reaching out to the less fortunate.”
Concern India Foundation is proud to be charity partners of the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon and sees its role in this event as an extension of its organizational goals. Concern India Foundation aims to help make people self-reliant and actively strive to give the programs it supports the know-how and tools to become self-sustainable. There are so many NGO’s doing wonderful work who are unable to or otherwise unaware of how to raise funds, be it through the ADHM or otherwise. The half marathon is a wonderful opportunity for Concern India to mentor these programs and encourage them to not just raise funds but also gain exposure and awareness.
In addition, Concern India also sees this as an opportunity to sensitize people on the role they can play in making a difference through participation and pledge-raising.
The Airtel Delhi Half Marathon is not just a sporting event or a means to raise funds, rather it is a coming together of people. An event that allows NGOs, corporates and individuals to work together to create a positive and lasting impact on the lives of those who need it the most.
Running is so tedious, painful and exhausting, so why do we run at all? People run for many reasons- to lose weight or to achieve an ideal body weight, for better health, to stay fit and the list goes on…