Shillong, May 14: A new Sohra Marathon will be held in August this year, organised by the Rotary Club, it was announced at a function here today.
A full 42km marathon, half marathon, 10km race and 5km ‘fun run’ will be held on 25th August. The event has no connection with an earlier incarnation of the Sohra Marathon, which was organised by RunMeghalaya annually between 2014 and 2016.
This edition will be held on the theme of helping underprivileged children from Sohra Saitsohpen with school supplies and raincoats, while also attempting to develop tourism and identify long-distance runners who have potential.
To encourage participation, a lucky draw will be held for all runners, with first prize being a car and the second a motorbike. Winners of the actual races will also get their respective prizes.
Those interested can register online here or pick up registration forms from Banalari World Cars, Hotel Polo Towers, Delhi Mistan, Sheba Travels, ML05 Cafe, Gazebo or Palace in Shillong and Slin Dohling Store in Sohra.
Young runners who are not in a position to pay to enter the race can submit their names to the organisers, who will then try to find sponsors for them.
Rotary Club said that the marathon will be run “on an internationally certified course measured by the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races”, with timing services provided by a company that has also worked for the Mumbai Marathon.
The vision of the event is to establish a “sustainable, community-focused running event”.
To do this the organisers will have to overcome the obstacles faced by RunMeghalaya. The organisation has a continuing focus on developing, encouraging and supporting runners in the state but in 2017 had to discontinue its Sohra Marathon because of logistical and financial challenges.
The 2014 event was a small affair, at least compared to those of 2015 and 2016, with the next two drawing in runners from across the country and abroad.
In 2014 and 2016 the run was held on a point-to-point course, leaving the road partially open, which was not completely safe for runners. In 2015 the race was run on a circuitous route, which necessitated the closure of the road to traffic, which was ideal for runners, but was met with disgruntlement from certain quarters.
Perhaps to avoid this particular trouble the Rotary Sohra Marathon will be held in the less tourist intense Sohra Saitsohpen area. The RunMeghalaya ones were held on the road from Shillong to Sohra.
At the function today were present various Rotary Club of Shillong members along with Sports & Youth Affairs Minister Banteidor Lyngdoh and Sohra MLA Gavin Mylliem, who both pledged to extend their full support to the event.
This story has been edited after its original publication to emphasise that although RunMeghalaya halted its Sohra Marathon, it continues to support runners and running in the state.