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The third Anantapur International Ultramarathon: Bringing a change in livelihoods

Copyrights: Antony CJ

The third Anantapur International Ultramarathon: Bringing a change in livelihoods

The third Anantapur International Relay Ultramarathon (AIRUM) was organised by the Rural Development Trust (RDT), with a focus on raising funds to improve the living conditions of rural population living in Anantapur. AIRUM was flagged-off on 23rd January 2018 and saw the participation of 76 runners including 52 Spanish and 24 Indians.

For the first time, seven hockey girls were selected from Anantapur Sports Academy to participate in the run, along with their coach. They trained together for a month and worked hard on improving their endurance as well as leading the way in breaking prevailing gender stereotypes by participating in this event.

I am happy to participate in the event and contribute to my community; next year I will try my best to run an even longer distance”, says Sandhya, a hockey player from ASA who ran 20km along with her friends. Seeing the enthusiasm among the girls, “We will encourage more girls from within Anantapur and beyond to be part of the marathon in the next edition of the marathon”, said Anne Ferrer, Executive Director of RDT.

Among the 52 Spanish runners this year, Elena Jacinto Velez, the Spanish wheelchair tennis player also led the marathon from start to finish. Her participation in the event was a great opportunity to spread awareness about disability and how sports could be used to improve the overall well-being.

The concept of Relay Ultramarathon is a first of its kind initiative which brought both the sport and the communities together to improve the livelihoods of marginalised people. The funds raised from this event will be utilised to build 36 houses for poor families, water tanks, roads and electrification in the village of Yerragunta (Parigi village) in Anantapur.  

The twenty-hour long marathon included uneven roads and tough weather conditions which made it even more challenging. The villagers welcomed the runners at each ‘transition point’ with native music and drums. The ultramarathon was a celebration by all age groups and an anticipation of a positive change.

Apart from the ultramarathon, a ‘Community Running Day’ was also organised to bring awareness and promote physical fitness among the youth at Anantapur Sports Village on 21 January. More than 100 girls and boys enrolled in RDT Inclusive School for differently-abled took part in the run alongside the Spanish participants.

In 2019, Rural Development Trust will celebrate its 50th anniversary of its philanthropic efforts to improve the living standards of the individuals and communities in Anantapur and nearby districts. Let’s see how the fourth edition of the Anantapur International Relay Ultra-Marathon unfolds!

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Published

Friday, February 2, 2018 - 14:47

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