Kolkata, Dec 9: The overwhelming response from the runners and citizens of Kolkata has turned Tata Steel Kolkata 25K into a feast of mind boggling numbers both in terms of charity and participation as it goes international from this year.
The marquee international event from this part of the world has already stamped its supremacy with registrations closing for the timed feature 25K race and 10K and the Senior Citizens Run. Over 10,000 participants will take to the start line across these three categories, but what is astounding, is that the number of participants in the Senior Citizens that has increased from 100+ last year to over 750 this year. The slivers are showing the way for next gen to lead a healthy life. Registrations for the Champions with Disability and the last 1000 spots of the Ananda Run are filling fast.
Chanakya Chaudhary, Group Director, Corporate Communication & Regulatory Affairs, said: “This year, TSK25 has attained international stature. I would like to welcome all professional runners, fitness enthusiasts and the people of Kolkata to come out and run on the 17th of December and make eastern India’s first international run a memorable one in the true spirit of the City of Joy”.
The USD 1,00,000 event will witness in action the World Champion Kenenisa Bekele leading the men’s elite field. The runners will be cheered & motivated by living sporting Mike Powell and Sourav Ganguly adding further muscle and grandeur to the event. The event will have a strong Indian contingent lead by defending champion and course record holder G. Lakshmaman along with the profusely talented BSF Half Marathon winner Kalidas Hirave in the men’s race and Airtel Delhi Half Marathon 2017 winner and course record holder L. Suriya, defending champion Monika Athare and Rio Steeplechase finalist Lalita Babar in the women’s category.
CHARITY: Running just for running’s sake is not enough reason for some. When the dark nights set in and the prospect of training in the cold and wet doesn’t quite seem appealing, you might be tempted to give training a miss or even consider pulling out of your race. However, if a charity is relying on you, you won’t want to let them down, and TSK 25K has encouraged and instilled that social responsibility with the philanthropic partner United Way of Kolkata in the citizens.
This year the event has already raised INR 42 lakhsthanks to the tireless efforts of the NGO’s, corporates, individuals and the guidance and support from our Philanthropy partners – United Way of Kolkata. The 2017 edition of the event has 27 NGOs registered, supportingvarious causes like Education, Skills Development, Disability, Women Empowerment, Health, Women & Children, Environmental Conservation andCommunity Development.
Currently, 18 corporate houses have registered to run and have donated INR 38.5 lakhs. Individual donations of INR 4.17 lakhs have been collected via Ketto, the Fundraising platform (https://tsk25.ketto.org/).
Some inspirational personalities who have contributed and are working towards making a difference are Dr Kanchan Gaba -Secretary Turnstone Global, Sonalia Pal – youngest fundraiser in TSK25 2017 and Rev. Dr. Franklin Menezes, Director – Seva Kendra Calcutta.
While Kanchan is a renowned legal consultant and social entrepreneur, M.D of Oriole Management Pvt Ltd and oversees the entire fund raising system for Turnstone Global, Sonalia, a 22 year old, is all geared to join the Air Force Academy in January 2018and is running the 25K and raising funds for Dakshini Prayash. Rev Menezes is a multi-linguist, a scholar of Christian theology with a doctorate from Rome and is currently the Director of Seva Kendra Calcutta.
Charity and contributions will keep coming till January 8, 2018 at http://www.uwkolkata.org/tsk25.
The way the city has gone ahead and embraced TSK 25K has left everyone feeling special. “The Yuletide spirit seems to be in full flow in Kolkata with the way the TSK 25 has leapfrogged in terms of charity & participation. The timed races and senior citizens categories reaching capacity is a huge landmark and affirms the change towards a healthy life style that Kolkata has adopted.
This edition would see amateur runners becoming pacers across time bands to help fellow runners achieve their Personal Best, Running giving back to art & working with the Rakshak Foundation to bring in inmates from correctional facilities in their transition back to main stay – a proud moment for the ‘basic’ of all sports – RUNNING.TATA STEEL deserves a special mention for being visionary title sponsors who have been catalysts in seeding the change that Kolkata is witnessing. The support received from the State Govt, Army, Municipal corporation and the police would be the key reason why Kolkata would be able to show a new aspect to the World by going International,” said Dilip Jayaram, CEO, Procam International.
ART FOR SPORT: This unique initiativehas galvanized the art community in support of various causes at the TSK25K. This year the event has extended its association with Rakshak Foundation an NGO that has helped transform more than 10,000 lives in meaningful ways.
For this initiative, Rakshak foundation will engage with correctional facilities and help empower ten inmate artists. These inmates will be mentored by various artist under the guidance of acclaimed artist Washim Kapoor and will be given an opportunity to paint at the startline of TSK25K.
POLICE CUP: An event of this stature is not possible without the unstinted support from the Kolkata Police. To applaud their sporting spirit, there is a special category within the event –Police Cup – this year a record 170 police teams would becompeting in the event. Each team has 3 members, each running 10km and the fastest aggregate team will be adjudged as the winner. The total prize money is INR 1,11,000.
Additional Commissioner of Police and working president West Bengal Athletic Association Vineet Goel said: “Running is the easiest sport today and growing the fastest. It is one sport that is basic to all kind of sports. It really contributes to the fitness and healthy lifestyle. We are doing the best to make the best arrangement and we are proud that it has gone international this year. We will do our best to see that it becomes a star event.
We have 1000 policemen taking part in this event that includes teams taking part in the Police Cup. Seeing the visibility and enthusiasm of TSK 25K, other races are also coming up. Our Road Safety campaign has seen 25 per cent lesser accidents in last one year. Running is a very important way to take this message forward. So on Jan 7, 2018, we are doing a marathon to spread the message. Procam International is coming out in a big way to help us in this event. We urge the people to come and join us at this run too on the chilly Monday morning next year.”
Former Indian Cricketer Arun Lal said: “I used to run around 340 days in a year. I find it exhilarating, adding value and character. It adds to my well being and self esteem. The youngsters and seniors understand this now. The most important thing you inculcate as a sportsperson is sportsmanship. It’s indeterminate and yet it makes us a better human being. This is what a sportsperson gives back to the society. We should adopt running as a way of life and in imbibing the spirit of running we give back a healthy society.”
CAMPUS ROCK AND RUN: Event Partner Radio Mirchi engages with the youth of Kolkata to encourage and get them into an active lifestyle. The channel will travel across the city’s leading colleges and shortlist two most talented and aspiring music bands to perform live in action on 17thDecember.
With the countdown to the race day running down into single digits, TSK 25K unfurls into a platform where sportsmanship meets competition, awareness meets healthy lifestyle, urge to give meets charity and turns the convergence into an event of unbridled joy and expression of free spirit.