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Gurgaon runs over carbon footprints

It needs a good reason to wake up early on Sunday. For hundreds of Gurgaon residents the reason this time was a run to promote the cause of healthy environment, reports Sanjeev K Ahuja.

india Updated: Jun 08, 2009 00:49 IST
Sanjeev K Ahuja

It needs a good reason to wake up early on Sunday.

For hundreds of Gurgaon residents the reason this time was a run to promote the cause of healthy environment.

Leisure Valley in Gurgaon was abuzz with activity as early as 6.00 am as hundreds including women, children, senior citizens and corporate executives came together to participate in the 5-km and 10-km runs.

About 50 per cent participants were women and children, who ran in the 200 metre dashes organised separately for them.

Organised by Running and Living infotainment to commemorate its first anniversary, the runs in Sector 29 also witnessed the participation of executives from IBM, HP, Mudra Communication, Makemytrip.com and others.

A few teams from some companies also took part in team building activities along with the run.

The 53-year-old former bank official, Novel Lavasa, said she had started returned to running “thanks to events such as these”.

“I used to run long distance in the early nineties but gave it up later on,” she said.

“My motivation has returned now and I have started with running for one kilometre. I want to hit the 5-km mark gradually.”

And the man who helped the likes of Lavasa put on their running shoes is upbeat about his venture.

“Our goal is to get 200 million people to run. So far we have had 6,000 people run in 13 marathons since our inception on June 14,” said Rahul Verghese the founder of Running and Living Infotainment.

“We had organised our first run at the same Leisure Valley Park in Sector 29. We have set up 40 running groups and plan to increase the number to 1000.”

Verghese said the Sunday run focused on the reduction of carbon footprints “and exploring the usage of solar power for our homes and offices, to reduce trash and compost and to reduce the usage of plastic, especially bags”.

All the runners were handed recycled paper bags to collect two pieces of plastic/garbage along the run and exchange it for their info pack at the finish line.

Sachin Bhatia, the chief executive officer of MakeMyTrip.com, who has been participating in the runs, said such events not only motivated the people to wake up early and run for healthy cause, they also added value to the environmental causes.

“Besides, in events like these the whole family can come together and have fun,” he said.

Ajay Pandita, a senior executive with a well-known real estate firm and Sector 14 resident, said he had been participating in these runs with his parents, wife and two daughters for quite some time.

“My daughters - one is six, the elder one is 11-year-old - participated in the 5-km long run. I was able to explain to them the benefits of a clean environment.”

Verghese said he was going to take the runs to other cities also.

“We have already organised one run in Chandigarh and are now moving to Noida, Jaipur and Shimla,” he said.

“Running helps unleash your potential as you shed your inhibitions and mental barriers one by one,” he said,

“More so, when you get carried away by the rush, of running in a crowd. It’s great to see the change in expression of first timer runners at the start line and then at the finish line. And then they can’t stop talking about the run.”