Airtel Delhi Half Marathon 2019: For aged and disabled, only attitude matters
NEW DELHI: He’s 72, but age is just a number for him when it comes to running. Though Ravindra Joshipura, a retired RBI official, has taken part in 53 events since he started running in 1976, this was the first time he participated in the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon (ADHM) on Sunday. The resident of Ahmedabad was among the 1,430 elderly who took part in the Senior Citizens’ Run, who raced not just for fitness but enjoyment.
Visually impaired Aditi Mathur, who took part in the Champions With Disability event, said it was an opportunity to showcase that the disabled can also take part in such events. The energy from the crowd gave the 573 disabled runners encouragement to finish the 5km race.
For Joshipura, who has run in cities like Ahmedabad, Mount Abu, Rishikesh, Mumbai, among others, Delhi was his eleventh venue. A former state-level cricketer, he said regular walking keeps him active.
RS Sharma and Om Prakash are part of Old Age Runners Group. They and other members go to various places to participate in marathons. “We want to stay fit and regularly go for morning walks. Inspired by us, our children have started running and were a part of the event today,” said Prakash.
The enthusiasm of the senior citizens and the disabled runners wasn’t damped by the gloomy weather or polluted air. They could be seen enjoying themselves on the 5km circuit. The participants included those with prosthetic limbs, on crutches and wheelchairs accompanied by family and friends who shared their zest and firm determination.
For these runners, it was an opportunity to engage with others and spread awareness about disability. Some held banners and posters that spoke about how disability is nothing but a mere attitude and that they are as good as the others.
Santosh Kumar, a 41-year-old wheelchair-bound government official, said he had been participating in ADHM for the past decade. “Every year, I come out and tell people that they should drive carefully as accidents could lead to unforeseen circumstances and they may end up like me,” he added. He appreciated the cooperation of the organisers and encouragement given to the disabled to participate in the event.
A few senior citizens were seen dancing on the racetrack to the tunes of old songs. YSR Kumar (79), who was among a group of 400 members of Jayanagar Jaguars based in Bengaluru, said he started running five years ago. Since then, he has taken part in eight half-marathons across the country. He was joined by his son, Darshan Jain (51), and grandson, Tanmai Darshan. Kumar said he hoped to motivate others to take up running and staying fit.