The running movement is up and running (pun intended). The participation across races have seen a regular upward trend. Mumbai Marathon'12 had over 40,000 runners, Delhi Half Marathon'11 had over 30,000 runners and the recent Bangalore 10k saw participation from over 20,000 runners. And even our own niche events have seen a healthy growth in number.
Our running season is largely from May till March with running events happening across India. Runners are spoiled for choice and gone are those days when races where limited to the larger cities. Indeed, marathon tourism has become in vogue.
And the growth is not just quantitative but qualitative.
- A long overdue but very welcome introduction to our running space is the entry of private running coaches. Most are individuals who have years of running experience and now are imparting their knowledge to others.
- There is also an increased awareness to the fact that running is actually a skill sport and not something that comes naturally to adults. Runners are actively seeking to improve their running form as they realize it improves their speed, reduces likelihood of injury and contributes to an overall improved running experience.
Sadly statistics show that running related injuries continue to hamper the progress of most runners with up to 65% facing some injury or other annually. Often a case of too fast/much, too soon
Along with the positives, there are several issues that hamper the growth of our running space to its full potential -
- A sore point for all amateur runners is how the focus at the bigger races is on the Elite runners, leaving them to fend for themselves
- Recognition for runners has been confined to performance based achievements, and the vast majority of amateur runners who improve our running experience by their smiles, support and enthusiasm go unheralded.
- There are needy amateur runners who are managing to show exemplary performances despite great odds, and a show of support for them from the more privileged runner is long overdue.
- And finally there is also the duty of the running community to show their appreciation to the people who make our running races possible and improve our running experience per se.