The Telegraph
Saturday , January 11 , 2014
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Harmony on feet

- The marathon for peace, the first run of its kind in the Darjeeling hills, is on Sunday. Here’s what you have to do

WHAT: The Amway Darjeeling Police Marathon — Let’s run for peace

WHY: To send across the message of peace and harmony in the hills

WHEN: 9am on Sunday, January 12, 2014

ORGANISED BY: Darjeeling police and the state department of tourism. The title sponsor is Amway, the associate partner is The Telegraph

THE DISTANCE: 13km. Strictly speaking, the distance does not make the run a marathon, which should be 42.19km. But on hilly terrain, a 41km run may be tough for many participants

WHERE: The run starts from Ghoombhanjyang, near the Ghoom railway station, and ends at Chowrasta, Darjeeling town’s famous promenade

ROUTE: From Ghoombhanjyang through Sukhia Road, Tenzing Norgay Road (which is NH55), 18th Lebong Cart Road, Birch Hill Road, Mall Road to Chowrasta

HOW TO ENTER: With Rs 100, register at any one of the 14 police stations in Darjeeling district or one of the seven police outposts. Registration for local residents will close at 9am on Saturday, but outstation runners will be allowed to register till 3pm on Saturday

MEDICAL CHECK-UP: Participants will have to undergo medical check-up at Dali police line that will start from 9.30am on Saturday. The earlier you turn up, the better, as the queue is expected to be long and the number of runners may far exceed the number of T-shirts available. “Once the check-up is over, we will hand over T-shirts to the participants. We ordered 1,000 T-shirts as we were expecting around 800 runners. We have decided to give the T-shirts on first-come, first-serve basis,” said Sudeep Sarkar, additional superintendent of police, Darjeeling. Till 5pm on Thursday, 997 participants had registered

WHAT IF T-SHIRTS RUN OUT: Those who enroll and complete the health check-up can still run. They would not be barred, the police have assured

WHEN TO REPORT: By 8am on Sunday, participants must reach Ghoom

WORD ON WEATHER: Outstation runners not used to hill climes must be prepared for 10-12 degree Celsius during the run

PRIZE: The winner in both the male and female categories will receive a cash prize of Rs 1.25 lakh each. The first runner-up and second runner-up will get Rs 50,000 and Rs 25,000 each, respectively. “Those finishing 4th, 5th, 6th,7th, 8th, 9th and 10th will get Rs 7,000, Rs 6,000, Rs 5,000, Rs 4,000, Rs 3,000, Rs 2,000 and Rs 1,000, respectively,” Sarkar said. The top ten will also get gift hampers worth Rs 10,000 each. Certificates will be given to the first 100 runners past the finishing line in both categories

STAR PARTICIPANTS: State sports minister Madan Mitra and north Bengal development minister Gautam Deb will flag off the event. Former Indian football team captain Bhaichung Bhutia is expected to be present at the starting line to cheer the runners. The Darjeeling police band will lead with the marathon flame. A cultural event will be held at Chowrasta after the run. The top three winners will be handed over prizes by chief minister Mamata Banerjee at Chowrasta on January 22. The others will be given their prizes and certificates on Sunday at the same venue

ROAD ARRANGEMENTS: Traffic will be blocked along the route from 9am on Sunday. “We will give time to the participants to complete the run in one hour. After one hour, vehicles will leave Ghoombhanjyang and start collecting participants who haven’t completed the run. The road will be opened for traffic accordingly,” Sarkar said

WHERE WILL OUTSTATION RUNNERS STAY: Outstation runners will be put up in four community halls at Jorebunglow in Darjeeling town. Transport will be provided to reach the marathon starting point

Text by Vivek Chhetri and pictures by Suman Tamang