As the morning haze faded away, Delhi’s Army Equestrian Centre came alive as more than 48000 students from 800 schools lined up to run the 18th edition of Salwan Marathon, the world's largest cross-country run for school children. The mood was infectious - the delight and enthusiasm of the kids was so obviously evident, because for them it was fun, sport and competition, all rolled into one.
The Marathon this year was flagged off by Lt. General Anil Malhotra (AVSM), Dir. General (S&F).
The Salwan Cross Country Marathon which saw participation from merely 300 students when it first started in the year 1995 has seen the numbers rise splendidly over the years. The event also sees regular participation from ‘specially abled’ kids thus making it one of the events to look forward each year. The 2012 marathon witnessed a huge participation number, of more than 48000, which included 1100 visually impaired and 150 intellectually challenged students. The constantly rising number of participants is solely attributable to the participants’ determination, stamina and their courage to go that extra mile in search of perfection. The Marathon this year was supported by UNICEF & FICCI.
“It delights us to witness such fervent response for the eighteenth consecutive year of Salwan Marathon. The movement has truly gathered momentum and is reflective in the increased number of participants as compared to last year. For us bigger than the run is the safety and security of the students. All the 48000 students who came for the run, have gone back safely. We would like to thank the Army Services Sports control board, the 3500 Marshalls, and specially the Delhi Police who have extended all their support to ensure that everything went off smoothly”, said Inder Dutt Salwan, Trustee Salwan Education Trust.
He further added, “In an attempt to tell the participants that there are no shortcuts to glory, at this year’s marathon, the winners across each category of races were made to undergo a Dope Test and Age Test. It is a good beginning for fair play.”
The marathon, which aims to bring out the essence of courage and determination amongst students and to teach them the values of health and education through sports, has yet again proved to be a much awaited event for every participant this year. The level of enthusiasm and zeal present in the heart of every budding student was clearly visible from the level of groundwork they did for the marathon. Students prepared themselves for as long as one month to run relentlessly on the big day. They ran neck to neck with all the competing participants to become the final winner and to grab the ultimate prize.
In an effort to reach out to the whole student community, Salwan Marathon had this year tied up with various schools for visually impaired students across India, and 'Special Olympics Bharat' to get intellectually challenged students and street kids to participate in the run and get drenched in spirit of sport.
The marathon categorised participants in 8 different categories, Visually impaired, intellectually challenged (4.5 kms), Under 14 Girls and Boys (4.5 kms), Under 16 Girls and Boys (6 kms) and Under 18 Girls and Boys races (8 kms).