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(Photo: FIT/Devina Buckshee)

In Pics: Pollution Did Not Keep Delhi From Running the Marathon

Delhi’s residents showed up in huge numbers to celebrate fitness and have fun at the Airtel Delhi Marathon.

Health News
4 min read

On a slightly chilly Sunday morning in Delhi, the city is alive. It’s marathon time and Delhi’s residents are out in full force for the Airtel Delhi Marathon.

Every year, the capital gears up and comes to the streets to partake in the fun and boost their fitness levels. This 15th edition of the Airtel Delhi Half-Marathon saw many elite athletes from India and abroad.

Union Minister for Sports, Kiren Rijiju was present at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium to support the athletes and enthusiastic citizens.

The Senior Citizen’s walk began with great aplomb in large numbers. The organises of the marathon arranged for shuttles for the senior citizens and the differently abled people.

“Jyoti Thakur is participating for the third year in a row. She can’t walk or run so I will be running for her - but it’s about inclusion,” her buddy tells us. Most participants in the ‘Champions with Disabilities’ walk had buddies who ran or walked alongside to help them along.

“They provided ramps and assistance for the disabled participants and small details like that make a lot of difference. For people like Jyoti, it’s not about ‘running’ a marathon the way it may be for others. It’s about feeling included and like a part of a collective, something bigger. It also helps her practice her speech and motor skills.”

Protecting and saving the environment was a big theme and NGO ROSHNI had three participants in the differently-abled category trying to spread awareness about eco-friendly products.


This year the organisers announced that the total registered participants were at their highest ever- at 40,633 people.

With these man people, the atmosphere was electric and as the morning progressed the mood went from competitive to loudly festive.

Elite sportspeople like cricketer and Delhi Capital’s assistant coach Mohammad Kaif and the fastest woman on the Earth Carmelita Jeter cheered on the participants and built up the energy.

Soon after, exhausted athletes ran victoriously across the finish line - most exhausted to the bone but all happy at their accomplishment.

In the midst of the madness, a furry but just as diligent runner crossed the line too!

Defending champions Andamlak Belihu and Tsehay Gemechu proved they were not done yet - and clinched the win for the elite athlete’s category yet again!

In the Indian elite line-up, the 2014 and 2011 winner, Suresh Kumar Patel came in first again. While in the comen’s category, L Suriya won.

All the winners were facilitated and awarded their winning cheques by Union Minister for Sports, Kiren Rijiju.

Despite the joy in the air, there were many residents and runners alike worried about Delhi’s hazardous air conditions.

“I have asthma and need this, the air in delhi is a problem. I am not running just cheering on my daughter.”
Delhi resident who wishes to stay anonymous

We checked the pollution reading at various points during the marathon. The meter shows 335 which is very unhealthy as anything above 300 is hazardous.

At another point in the course, the AQI meter still showed us a reading of 334. We wondered - can Delhi save itself from the air pollution?

(FIT is launching its #PollutionKaSolution campaign. Join us by becoming an anti-air pollution warrior.  Send in your questions, your stories of how to tackle air pollution and your ideas to

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