Run to inspire if not just for fun Father's Christmas gift: a runner's bib

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  • Published 26.12.14

Kashinath Gurey, 70, gave his son Kaushik, a young man living with Down’s Syndrome, a special Christmas gift: a promise to run 4km with him this Sunday.

“My son regularly participates in events held for the specially abled at the Salt Lake stadium. I want to participate in the Tata Steel Kolkata 25K so that I can encourage and provide some inspiration for him to continue competing,” said Kashinath, a retired government employee living in Beleghata.

Father and son were among the 1,000-odd people who thronged the Khudiram Anushilan Kendra on Thursday to collect their bibs for eastern India’s biggest and first internationally accredited road race.

“I have registered for the Senior Citizens’ Run and my son will be competing in the Champions with Disability category, both 4km races,” Kashinath said before heading for decked-out Park Street to give Kaushik, who is 36, a feel of the festive fervour.

Among the many other faces glowing with the anticipation of joining in the Tata Steel Kolkata 25K, partnered by The Telegraph, were a young couple who would be competing in the 6km Ananda Run together and several groups of students.

Of the 5,000-odd runners who have registered for the event, around 1,100 had collected their bibs along with a surprise goodie bag each by the end of the day. The list included 26 senior citizens and 40 participants in the race category for Champions with Disability.

Registration for the event had closed on Monday but hundreds of prospective contestants kept calling the event helpline, forcing the organisers to resume spot registrations for three days from Thursday.

At the indoor stadium, chartered accountant Samir Saraogi was struggling to get his daughters off a treadmill placed near one of the registration counters.

“I run every alternate day and think it is a great way to get rid of stress. Everyone in the family should go running whenever they have the time,” said Samir. “I had recently participated in the Run for Education race and will be competing in the 10km run this time.”

ready to hit the road

A schoolgirl, a homemaker, a dentist, an IPS officer, an architect, a web designer: the list of participants in the December 28 Tata Steel Kolkata 25K, partnered by The Telegraph, couldn’t be more diverse. Jhinuk Mazumdar spoke to some of them to find out what motivates them to be up early on a wintry Sunday morning to hit the road

A group of youngsters who had stepped out after getting tips on the course immediately registered for the 25km run. They said the run-up to the event was among the more well-organised ones they had seen in the city.

“A race is great fun if you are participating as a group. The good thing is that this is being held for a great cause as well,” said Sheikh Oyasim, a student of South City College.

His friend Souvik Dutta, a student of Class XII at South Point High School, nodded in agreement.

Satish Pillai, a former Asian Games bronze winner in the long jump and recipient of the Dhyan Chand Award for athletics in 2010, is one of the “pros” helping organise the race on behalf of his employer Tata Steel, the title sponsor for the event.

“Calcutta is renowned as a sports-loving city and I am sure an event like this one will attract a large number of people. It may experience some teething problems like in all venues but these can always be overcome,” Satish said.

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