Running over 84 kilometres in four days, Tarun Walecha (46), a Delhi-based architect, began his fifth half-marathon this week on Thursday morning alongside the Yamuna expressway.
Walecha has been running every day since Sunday to raise funds for underprivileged athletes by running seven half marathons, of 21.2-km each, in the ‘Share & Care: Running Week’ across Delhi-NCR from December 25 to December 31.
He has been encouraging residents in the areas he runs in to join him and to donate their old sports gear. He said till now he has collected a total of 132 T-shirts, 22 pairs of shoes, 19 shorts and 12 jackets, all of which, he will donate to underprivileged athletes.
“I am not accepting any money. Many people came forward and donated their old gear. There are many talented athletes in India who are not able to achieve success due to lack of resources. I will now connect with an NGO and give them this gear so that it reach those in need,” said Walecha.
He started his first half-marathon this year from Lodhi Garden in Central Delhi. The next day, he ran in Dwarka, the third day in Vasant Kunj and on the fourth day, in Gurgaon.
“On Thursday, I ran for 21.1 kilometres at the expressway towards Greater Noida. On the sixth day on Friday, I will run from Noida stadium and on the seventh day, I will run another half marathon in New Delhi,” he said.
For Walecha, it all started six years ago when he decided to run his first half marathon.
“I have always been a fitness enthusiast, but when I started running half marathons, I realised that I took two hours, 46 minutes to cover the distance. After six years of training I can now cover the distance in one hour, 44 minutes. However, this is nothing compared to the little time national and international athletes take,” the architect said.
Lamenting the fate of Indian athletes in the international arena, he said, “I realised in a half marathon last year that there were so many child athletes who could cover the distance in the same time. However, they could never make it to the next level because of lack of resources. This made me realise that if we can find the necessary resources, we can really help them,” said Walecha.