Islamabad Marathon hosts runners from all cities
Hundreds of participants from different cities of Pakistan along with the diplomatic community participated in the 2nd edition of the Islamabad Marathon 2023 on January 29, Sunday.
The 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 were the categories primarily chosen for teenagers.
A special category of ‘Kids Fun Run’ for children under 14 years was also organized. Cash Prizes were given to the top 3 winners from all categories to to encourage the runners.
The marathon was organized by Pakistan’s first running community, Islamabad Run With Us (IRU).IRU collaborated with Pakistan Polio Eradication Programme to create awareness and encourage the masses to vaccinate children aged under 5 years against polio and dedicated the event with the theme Race To End Polio in Pakistan.
A great increase in the number of participants from last year was witnessed in huge attendance from families including the elderly and children who gathered to support the runners.
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. “My brother and I 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”, he said. “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 founder of Islamabad Run With Us, Qasim Naz, 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.
The Chief Guest, Mr. Hamish Young, emphasized the importance of choosing a healthy lifestyle and also stressed on raising awareness and taking actions to inspire others to eradicate polio while representing Pakistan Polio Eradication Programme in his address. 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 took part in the 10km race.
‘Islamabad Run with Us’ (IRU) started in 2012 when founder, Qasim Naz started running solo and was later joined by his brother, Hashim Naz. Looking at their consistency and dedication, other friends started to join them and then began the organized, weekly running and hiking activities. After four years, in 2016, a club named ‘Islamabad Run with Us’ (IRU) was launched with the aim of encouraging running and hiking in the city.
IRU tends to cater to runners of all capabilities and make sure that no one is left behind during their group runs. Over the course of 5 years, the group has increased tremendously, and their recent group runs have attracted more than 100 runners, including people of all ages and genders. So far, they have organized more than 350 group runs and have taken the lead to host Islamabad’s First Full Marathon.
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