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Thursday, Dec 12, 2019

Runners take up traffic duty to keep 37th Pune International Marathon on the move

Traffic management proved to be a challenge, as marathoners themselves stood at road junctions, manning crossing and stopping vehicles, in order to keep the “running peloton” on the specified route.

pune Updated: Dec 02, 2019 16:37 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Pune
Participants can be seen gesturing to the traffic in order to make his way through the route on Sunday during the Pune International Marathon.
Participants can be seen gesturing to the traffic in order to make his way through the route on Sunday during the Pune International Marathon. (Rahul Raut/HT PHOTO)
         

The 37th Pune International Marathon boasted a new route, two laps of 21km each round the same stretch for the full marathon. Participants enjoyed the run with a fewer number of turns as compared to routes of previous years.

However, traffic management proved to be a challenge, as marathoners themselves stood at road junctions, manning crossing and stopping vehicles, in order to keep the “running peloton” on the specified route.

The absence of volunteers at major traffic junctions was conspicuous, to say the least.

“The particular incident of participants battling traffic could have happened only after 9am. During this timeframe, the only athletes left behind were the ones who were very slow and were trying to complete the race. The traffic police who had given us permission till 8:15am, in fact stayed till 9:30am, and there were no complaints from participants,” said Rohan More, trustee of the Pune International Marathon.

“The route was good. Traffic was increasing later, but traffic police officials were trying to manage it and not let the professional athletes be disturbed,” said Priyanka Chavarkar, who claimed the top position in 10k run with a timing of 40 minutes and 6.4 seconds.

“I saw many athletes facing traffic hurdles. One participant stood at the crossing and was halting traffic near Neelayam theatre chowk,” said Saurabh Kakliya, who was present at the spot.

Organisers say that 450 volunteers were stationed along the route and traffic police officers were also present for support.

The marathon was flagged off at 5am, but traffic near Neelayam theatre, Sadashiv peth, proved to be a major hurdle for the10km and 5km participants, who were flagged off later in the day.

The Pune International Marathon’s new route starts at Baburao Sanas ground heads to Ramkrishna Math (1km), Manik Baug (5km), Pilajirao Jadhavrao Smarak (inside Nanded City 10km), McDonald’s Sinhgad road (15km) to Dandekar bridge (21km) (Lap 1) which marked the end of the half marathon.

Lap 2 (till 41km) traced the same route backwards as well before finishing at the Baburao Sanas ground (42.2km).

“I have received a very positive response about the route. Few full marathon participants met me after the event and they were all very happy with the route which we designed this time,” added More.

“Traffic police officials were present, but due to the morning rush hour, they were not able to manage traffic and athletes properly. I also could not see any volunteers guiding the participants,” said Priyanka Jadhav, a commuter, who witnessed the commotion.