Great sporting events have the potential to transcend their original context and influence society in significantly different ways.
The Delhi Half Marathon — established in 2005 by promoters Procam International, a year after the successful launch of the path-breaking Mumbai Marathon — typifies the unique impact of mass-participation sports.
The celebrated World Athletics Elite Label Road Race has grown into one of the top half marathons in the globe — Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge, arguably the greatest marathoner ever, won it in 2016 — but the impact of its success is not solely restricted to turning distance running into a rage in the country.
It is widely acknowledged that the Delhi Half Marathon served as a catalyst for transformation — inspiring women in the nation’s capital to take up road running, millions of people in northern India to adopt a healthier lifestyle, or rekindling the giving spirit.
The Delhi Half Marathon has cemented itself as one of India’s largest sporting philanthropy platforms, having raised over INR 77 crore for 280 Civil Society Organisations since its inception. It has inspired and impacted millions of lives while supporting a wide range of causes.
The AIMS-certified race is staged on what is widely regarded as one of the fastest courses in the world, with an impressive six and five times in the men’s and women’s categories respectively among the top 100 of all time.
The Delhi Half Marathon, traditionally held on the third Sunday of October, has assembled some of the biggest names from the world of distance running over 16 editions, while also being a springboard for Indian athletes who get to compete with the best.
Avinash Sable became the first Indian to complete a half marathon in under 61 minutes during the 2020 edition. The Army runner went on to win a historic silver in the 3000m steeplechase at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The 2020 edition also witnessed some stunning performances in the International Elite category. Ethiopian Amedework Walelegn won the men’s title in a new course record of 58 minutes and 53 seconds, while compatriot Yalemzerf Yehualaw clinched the women’s crown with the world’s 10th best time of 64 minutes and 46 seconds — also a new course record.
Global sporting icons such as Kenenisa Bekele, Paula Radcliffe and Carmelita Jeter have as International Event Ambassadors endorsed the event which has not only personified the sporting spirit of Delhi and India but has inspired us to go beyond convention, beyond what’s expected and push the boundaries of what’s possible.
The USD 280,000 prize money event has a 10K, regarded as the first milestone in distance running, the 5K Great Delhi Run, which takes in the many splendors of the capital city, the Senior Citizens’ Run (3K), that sees silver rule the road, and the Champions with Disability (3K), which supports inclusivity and provides the opportunity for all to take centre stage, as support races.