Three Saturdays ago, Powai resident VI Venkatraman flew to Hong Kong to participate in the city’s annual marathon on February 5 and was back at work in his Powai office the next day. The Hong Kong marathon was the fourth international marathon that the 45-year-old banker completed in the past nine months.
The challenging runs have made him better at handling his high-profile job in a private bank, Venkatraman claims. “My timings and energy have increased dramatically between the Singapore marathon last June and the Hong Kong marathon,” Venkatraman said.
A significant number of amateur runners from the city like Venkatraman are pacing their holidays around international marathons. Tardeo-based cancer specialist, Dr Rohini Kelkar, explored the Black Forest in Germany because she wanted to participate in an international marathon. She went to Berlin to run the marathon in December and her husband and daughter joined her to turn the visit into a small vacation.
This year, the 52-year-old regular at the Mumbai marathon has registered for the Amsterdam marathon in October and hopes to get selected in the New York marathon lucky draw for entry to the event in June. “Now international marathon calendars will decide our family vacations for the next three years,” said Kelkar, adding that the Two Oceans marathon tours in South Africa is her destination for next year.
“From being a niche segment, marathon driven vacations are turning out to be a widespread hobby,” said Subhash Motwani, director, Compact Travels.
Trainers agree. Praful Uchil, director, Striders Miles, that trains amateur runners, said, “Last year, there were just 10. This year 80 have registered for the Amsterdam marathon.”