The third edition of the Chandigarh Marathon attracted a decent crowd, but due to lack of technical support and high entry fee, the Chandigarh administration, which was the organiser of the event, drew flak.
"The entry fee is too high. It seems hosting marathon has become a business for the organisers," said Ravinder Singh, who did not compete in the marathon because of the hefty fee, but came to the venue to lodge his protest by putting up a poster on his chest.
The Chandigarh Tourism Department tied up with "Running and Living" to hold the marathon, but the entry fee for the event was even higher than the internationally renowned Mumbai and Delhi marathons.
While the last moment entry fee for full marathon was Rs 1,500, for half marathon it was Rs 1,300 and that too without providing any chip timing system. In all major marathons across the country, chip timing system is used to protect cheating and also record accurate timings.
Moreover, the entry fee for the 5-km run was Rs 400 and by demanding such a high entry fee, the administration deprived many taking part in the run and defeated the basic idea of creating health awareness.
Missing of electronic chip led to couple of confusions over results. Initially, Vikas Saini of Uttar Pradesh was declared second in the half marathon and was also given a certificate with a timing of one hour and 32 minutes. But later, on the pretext that he took a wrong route he lost his ranking.
Similarly, in full marathon, result of Sunil Kumar of Bhiwani was reversed.
"I clocked one hour 35 minutes in the Delhi half-marathon and anybody can check it on the website. So, clocking one hour 32 minutes here was within my reach. And I do not know on what logic the organisers here thought that I took a shortcut," Vikas, who works at DPS Pinjore, said.
The organisers did not have any proof to substantiate their verdict. But had there been chip timing system this confusion could have been easily avoided.
Director tourism Tanvi Garg said, "According to us, the event was successful. And if there were any shortcomings, we will improve upon them next time."
Country's top runners missing
The late announcement of prize money (total prize money this time was Rs 4 lakh, while in the last edition it was Rs 10 lakh) was the main reason for the top professional runners to skip the event. They (professionals) make a living out of running and keeping in view the effort and recovery time required, one can run a maximum of three full marathons and as many half marathons in a year, so they schedule their running calendar accordingly.