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Marathons are passé: India Inc makes most of 'walkathon', calls it more challenging

‘Walkathons’ require participants to cover 100 kilometres on foot in 48 hours.

, ET Bureau|
Dec 02, 2019, 02.53 PM IST
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Agencies
‘Walkathons’ – a portmanteau of ‘walking marathons’ – are usually held to raise funds for social “causes” such as healthcare or education for the underprivileged.
‘Walkathons’ – a portmanteau of ‘walking marathons’ – are usually held to raise funds for social “causes” such as healthcare or education for the underprivileged.
One hundred kilometres on foot in 48 hours – ‘walkathons’ are becoming quite popular among health buffs across the country. Trekking rugged trails, with the sun on their backs, walkers consider walkathons “far more challenging” than the trendier marathons.

While most walkers, who manage to cover the distance in over 46 hours, the ones gunning for “podium finishes” breach the tape in 20 – 22 hours. Walkathons have begun attracting a lot of participants from the corporate world.

“Walkathons test your stamina and patience… the first 10 km is fun, but then the sun starts hitting you on the back of your necks,” says Ishmeet Singh, CEO, Fonterra Future Dairy.

“When you run a marathon, you know it’ll finish in 2–3 hours. If you’ve trained well, you’ll be able to complete it… For walkathons, you’ll need a lot of determination too,” adds Singh, who completed his last 100-km walkathon in 32 hours.

‘Walkathons’ – a portmanteau of ‘walking marathons’ – are usually held to raise funds for social “causes” such as healthcare or education for the underprivileged. Over a dozen walkathons are held across Indian cities every year – with ‘trail’ distances ranging from 6 km to 100 km. The Skechers Performance Walkathon and the Oxfam Trailwalker are amongst popular in the country.

“When we held our first ‘Trailwalker’ at Bengaluru in 2011-12, about 320 people participated… Today Trailwalker is held in two cities (Mumbai & Bengaluru) with over 1600 people participating every year,” says Amitabh Behar, CEO of Oxfam India.

Amitabh Behar said that the event brings together people who believe in fighting discrimination and inequality.
Amitabh Behar said that the event brings together people who believe in fighting discrimination and inequality.


“This event brings together people who believe in fighting discrimination and inequality. We’re living in challenging times - when millions are locked in poverty or are being pushed into poverty. The Trailwalker gives participants an opportunity to raise money, create awareness and campaign for the rights of millions of people around the world,” he adds.

A walkathoner’s training schedule is comparable with a marathoner’s chart – daily sessions, nutrition, rest and the right footwear. Amateur walkathoners do weekend walks covering 25–30 km at one-go. Many of them also do 10 km laps every day.

“Walkathons is all about mental strength… That apart, you get a chance to walk across all types of terrains and conditions – city roads, village trails, walk day and night. It’s a great experience,” says Nilesh Parmar, chief operating officer at Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance.

Walkers like Parmar – who have done multiple walkathons – clock just over 32 hours to finish a 100 km trail. They walk through the race – with small breaks after every 15–20 Kms. They take one long break – for about 2 hours – after logging the first 50 kms.

“We manage to raise Rs 2–3 lakhs from friends, relatives and colleagues every time we participate in walkathons. We also strive to better our time every time we participate in a race,” he adds.

An individual takes at least 1.5 lakh ‘walking steps’ to cover 100 kilometres. And it’s always the first and last 100 steps that’s the toughest, says most walkathoners.

Mumbai Marathon: Tata Bosses, Mary Kom, Milind Soman Join The Race; Sudha Sharma Wins

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Run, Mumbai, Run

21 Jan, 2019
Mumbaikars woke up early this Sunday for the 16th edition of Tata Mumbai Marathon. The big event saw thousands of participants from almost every walk of life. From politicians to film stars, from sports personalities to army officers, the 42 km dream run was steps ahead of its previous installments. A record-breaking 46,414 number of people took part in the marathon which started at 5.30 am and ended at 2 pm.Marathon Ambassador Mary Kom, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and his wife and singer Amruta Fadnavis, actor Gulshan Grover and Tina Ambani flagged off the big race. While Reliance Group chairman Anil Ambani completed half the marathon by running for 21 kms, actor and fitness enthusiast Milind Soman ran for the complete stretch. Actor Rahul Bose, Kartik Aaryan and actress Tara Sharma, too, took part in the race.Participants were flagged off from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus and raced till the Bandra-Worli Sea Link and back to complete the race.(In pic clockwise from left: Rajesh Gopinath, N. Chandrasekaran, Sudha Sharma, Milind Soman, Mary Kom)
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