Hundreds of participants from different cities of Pakistan along with the diplomatic community based in Pakistan participated in the 2nd edition of Islamabad Marathon on 29 January, Sunday that was organized by enthusiasts from the running community Islamabad Run With Us (IRU).
The weather conditions were perfect for the marathon run which is 42.2 KM distance and a great increase in the number of participants from last year was witnessed.
To create awareness and encourage the masses to vaccinate children aged under 5 years against polio, IRU collaborated with Pakistan Polio Eradication Program and dedicated the event with the theme Race To End Polio in Pakistan.
Islamabad Marathon 2023 was organized with the full support of the District Administration Islamabad, the District Health Office, and the Capital Traffic Police. Qasim Naz, the founder of Islamabad Run With Us said that the main objective of the event was to promote a healthy lifestyle, promote marathon tourism and project a positive image of Pakistan all over the world.
With the beautiful Maragalla Hills in the backdrop, the runners also passed through the scenic jungle at Shakarparian as they completed their 21.1 and 42.2 km distances.
Ambassador of Denmark to Pakistan, Jakob Linulf also ran the Full Marathon (42.2 km) and was thrilled to be at the biggest running event in Islamabad.
He said “Me and my brother enjoyed the enthusiasm shown by Pakistanis of all age groups coming from different cities to participate in the marathon organized by “Islamabad Run with Us”. Such initiatives serve as a great way to raise awareness about the importance of physical activity and healthy lifestyle choices. I hope Pakistanis integrate such healthy activities into their everyday lives.”
The event was very well organized that attracted huge attendance from families including the elderly and children who gathered to support the runners. The running event included five different categories to cater to encourage vast participation of all ages and of different athletic abilities.
Full marathon of 42km, Half marathon of 21 km, 10 km, and 5 km running were the categories that were primarily chosen for adults and teenagers. A special category of ‘Kids Fun Run’ for children under 14 years was also organized to encourage children, and they loved their participation with great enthusiasm. To encourage the runners Cash Prizes were given to the top 3 winners from all categories.
The Chief Guest Mr. Hamish Young, representing Pakistan Polio Eradication Programme in his address, lauded the efforts of Islamabad Run with Us for making the marathon such a big success. Mr. Young not only emphasized on the importance of choosing a healthy lifestyle but also stressed on creating awareness and take actions to inspire others to eradicate polio. District Health Officer, Dr. Zaeem Zia also fully participated in the running event by completing the half marathon and emphasized everyone to work together to end polio in Pakistan.
Resident Representative of UNDP Pakistan, Mr. Knut Otsby, who is a regular member of the running community in Islamabad also ran the 10km race. His valuable participation in this event was encouraging as it sets a precedent for other community members and strengthen the belief in Pakistan as a safe and healthy country for these activities.
Gracing the occasion, Ms. Rina Saeed Khan, Chairperson Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) said that Islamabad is gifted with beautiful outdoor locations for healthy activities and IWMB, is working very hard to manage the trails under the slogan of “My Waste, My Responsibility.”
Ms. Khan requested the residents of Islamabad to take ownership of the Margalla Hills trails by keeping them clean as they not only provide us with great outdoor adventure activities but are also home to many wildlife animals.
“Adam’s Milk Foods is synonymous with healthy life and is always focused on developing and promoting a healthy lifestyle. Running is one of the healthiest sports and Adam’s always look forward to promoting it. IRU Marathon is one of its kind and Adam’s takes pride in becoming the title sponsor of this event”, said Babar Riaz, Commercial Director Adam Milk Foods Limited.