Baisakhi 2021: Celebrating the spirit of the festival with fitness!
If you spot men and women running on the streets of Gurugram while sporting turbans and traditional wear, do pause and wish them Happy Baisakhi! “While Baisakhi is celebrated with great gusto in Punjab, members of the community in other places might miss the enthusiasm in their own cities. This made us start The Great Run of Punjab (TGRP), an annual Baisakhi running or walking challenge, to connect people in various parts of the world,” says Mehak Kapoor, a Gurugrammer who along with Balwinder Singh, from Gurgaon Runners Group, organised the fourth edition of the virtual running challenge, ahead of Baisakhi.
This year, TGRP challenge started on April 1 and culminate on April 13. It has over 250 participants joining virtually from not just Amritsar and Delhi-NCR, but even Goa! Deepak Chhillar, a Delhiite who works as a business manager in a pharmaceutical company, has been running the challenge each year, often with podium finishes, and says, “This is an innovative way of celebrating the festival, but at one point I really wanted to give up because it’s not easy to get up and run 25 km and then head back to work... I realised how running helps me become strong headed because you don’t just need physical exercise but also mental strength for it!”
“The challenge has two categories — regular runners who can run 13km per day and beginners who can opt for 1km on day one, 2km on day two, and keep increasing the distance by a kilometre every day, to slowly incorporate running as an activity in their lives,” informs Kapoor, adding, “TGRP has grown to become a loved festival activity that allows every participating member to ring in the festival while promoting a healthy lifestyle. And the pandemic only highlighted the need to have a proper fitness regime, which is what we aim to further through this run.”
A Gurugrammer, Aparna Paul Shet, who formed a women’s cricket team in her condo, has inspired seven other residents to participate in this challenge. “Since due to the Covid situation we can’t have communal Baisakhi celebrations, participating in TGRP is a perfect way to celebrate the harvest festival. While I run 20km per day, I asked members of the cricket team here to participate in the event as well, so that they feel fitter. And we are taking all safety measures while running as we run only in open lawns, wear masks when we are together, and sanitise all the surfaces where we sit.”
Author tweets @bhagat_mallika