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A run with a message on AIDS and drugs

Gangtok, Jan. 24: Forty two-year-old Amar Subba battled extreme weather conditions and the bandh in Darjeeling to complete a solo run of 450km and reached Gangtok yesterday afternoon.

Subba had started his journey on January 17 from his hometown Darap in West Sikkim, 141km from here, carrying some dry fruits and a set of clothes in a bag with an aim to spread awareness on drug abuse, HIV-AIDS and environment protection.

On Saturday, Subba was in Kalimpong and he reached Rorathang in East Sikkim early yesterday. He rested there for two hours before resuming his run around 5.35am and completed the journey at MG Marg at 1.15pm.

A host of associations and representatives of the Sikkim government welcomed Subba at MG Marg where a programme was organised to celebrate his journey.

“I wanted to spread awareness on drug abuse which not only destroys the lives of our youths but also their families and the society. I also want to do something about HIV-AIDS awareness and sensitise people on the need to protect our fragile Himalayan environment. Wherever I stopped or had a chance to interact with people, I spoke on these issues,” said Subba, the father of two.

He had been practising yoga for the past two years to prepare himself for the run.

According to Subba, he had reached Chewabanjyang on the first day of the run and the next morning, he ran through Sandakphu (1,2980ft) in the Darjeeling hills. “When I started in the morning, the temperature was around minus 5 degrees Celsius with thick snowfall all the way as I travelled down to Darjeeling where I reached on January 19.”

He said a course he had done from a mountaineering institute helped him in the extreme conditions. “Though the weather conditions were challenging, I had done a mountaineering course from the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute at Darjeeling in 2008-09 which helped me overcome these conditions. There were occasions when I got drenched in the rain and once in Sandakphu, I got lost for around 90 minutes because of the dense fog,” he said.

From Darjeeling, Subba ran along the Hill Cart Road to reach Kurseong from where he ran down to the plains of Siliguri via Pankabari. On January 21, Subba reached Kalimpong. He travelled to Rorathang through the Reshi outpost near Darjeeling-Sikkim border and entered Gangtok through the Pakyong-Ranipool route. “The journey was full of memorable incidents. While I was running through the Darjeeling hills, there was a bandh by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha. Initially I was scared because it was late in the evening. But the bandh supporters knew about my marathon. They helped me and gave me moral support by running for some distance with a torch and offering me snacks and tea. I am very grateful to the people of Darjeeling,” he said.

State sports minister N.K. Pradhan, who welcomed Subba in Gangtok yesterday, said he was an inspiration for the youths. “With his run Subba has made Darap famous. There are people in Sikkim who do not know about Darap but Subba’s run has made the place well known,” he said.

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