Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, the annual half marathon foot-race has taken place on Sunday despite health warnings from the Indian Medical Association (IMA) earlier this month over escalating level of toxic smog in and around Delhi.
Marathon was organised on Sunday and some of the world's elite runners and several other Delhites took part in the run. The event has been flagged off by Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore. While Ethiopia's Almaz Ayana has snatched the crown in women's international elite category, Nitendra Singh Rawat won in the Indian category.
All the runners emphasised on how happy they were with the course, as they clocked impressive timings at the #ADHMX!
That’s all from the International Men’s Elite Press Conference! pic.twitter.com/wT01hLV5WV— ADHM (@runadhm) November 19, 2017
ADHM, which was first introduced in 2005, is an AIMS-certified course and is listed as a Gold Label Road Race by the IAAF. The event includes the half marathon, the 7 km Great Delhi Run, a 4.3 km run for senior citizens, and a 3.5 km wheelchair race.
Delhi Half Marathon Elite category results(Men's): Ethopia's Birhanu Legese and Andahmlak Belihu came first and second respectively. USA's Leonard Korir stood third. India's Nitendra Rawat came tenth. pic.twitter.com/IIrZAPHyww— ANI (@ANI) November 19, 2017
Earlier, the IMA had requested the court to call off the marathon following a jump in pollution levels since November 6, though the Delhi High Court had given a green signal to the marathon organisers as pollution levels showed a slight drop on Thursday.
According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) the air quality in Delhi was very poor on Saturday and was expected to remain same for the next couple of days. The surging pollution in the national capital could also harm the health of the runners who participated in the event.
"Severe pollution levels couldn't stop the city from joining the marathon. In fact, around 35,000 people had signed up for the event which is at least a 1,000 more than last year," said the organisers.
"I am feeling all right. Everybody is going to run and I am also going to run. I am not concerned about this (pollution)," Olympic gold medallist Almaz Ayana was quoted while interacting with reporters.
"I have come here for the race, that means I am not going to be bothered by the talks of pollution in Delhi. I ran here last year also and there is this talk of pollution. I am all right, not thinking about this pollution. I am now focused on Sunday's race," world champion marathoner Geoffrey Kirui stated.
Ahead of ADHM, the traffic restrictions had been put on over a dozen roads, including Bhishma Pitamah Marg, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Marg, Lodhi Road, Mathura Road, Parliament Street, Subramaniam Bharti Marg, C-Hexagon India Gate, Janpath Rajpath and the Windsor Place.
During the event, a series of ambulances equipped with oxygen tanks were on standby along the route.