For the ever-enthusiastic Kochiites, it was a party as much as it was a race.
The historic streets of West Kochi hosted a cavalcade of colours as over 2,000 runners of all age groups made their way around the scenic course, cheered on by avid spectators at the inaugural Kochi Navy Marathon organised by the Southern Naval Command (SNC) on Sunday.
Starting from KV Port Trust Ground on Willingdon Island, the run was conducted for different age groups under three categories: Venduruthy Run (21.1 km), Dronacharya Run (10 km), and Garuda Run (5 km). The routes took the runners on a journey past some of West Kochi’s iconic landmarks including the Naval Base.
The Venduruthy Run was flagged off by Vice-Admiral A.R. Karve, AVSM, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command, and sprint queen P.T. Usha.
Speaking on the occasion, Admiral Karve said running was a simple, inexpensive and ‘easily accessible-to-all’ physical activity. He added that events like the Navy marathon were great unifiers in that they brought people from all strata of society together in challenging their physical abilities. Ms. Usha maintained that the overwhelming participation by the public in marathons was an encouraging sign. The Olympian, who symbolically participated in the marathon by running a short distance in the Dronacharya run, was cheered on by hundreds of spectators.
The Dronacharya and Garuda runs were flagged off by Rear Admiral R.J. Nadkarni, VSM, Chief of Staff of SNC and Surg Rear Admiral G. Vishwanath, Command Medical Officer, respectively.
In the main event, the first across the finish line was Jairesh Yadav, Seaman Ist class (Sea I) of the Indian Navy in a time of 01:23:52 hours. Sepoy Malkeet Singh won the Dronacharya Run in 34:40 minutes.
The first woman home in the main event was Merina Mathew, who finished the race with a timing of 01:54:44 hours. Priya Gangadharan won the 10-km race with a timing of 48:03 minutes.
The Garuda Run was won by Sardar Singh, senior secondary recruit of the Indian Navy, and Ishika Barak in the men’s and women’s categories respectively. All finishers were awarded medals, besides special prizes for the top three in each age group and category.