TURA, Nov 12: More than 500 runners participated in the Turathon Hill Challenge on Sunday held at the National Highway – 44E from Jengjal in West Garo Hills to Megagre in East Garo Hills.
Organised by Tura Runner Club (TRC), the marathon had three different categories – 7 km glory run, 21 km half marathon and 42 km full marathon. It is for the first time that a full marathon was held in Garo hills, which had participation from different parts of the country including Ethiopia, Kenya and Nepal.
At 6 am, a warm up session was held and the runners embarked on their morning run adding tremendous energy to the jubilant and festive atmosphere, which had gripped Jengjal and its adjoining villages.
The theme for this year’s run was – “Go Green Before The Greens Go” and the organisers had selected the route to demonstrated on the rich natural diversity of Garo hills and propagate the message of conservation and preservation of environment.
Bijoy Deka of Assam won the full marathon and received Rs. 1 lakh as the prize money.
He completed the 42 km stretch in 2 hours and 38 minutes, Felex from Kenya stood second, while Tlanding Wahlang of Mawkyrwat, South West Khasi stood second. The differences between the winners were barely 2 minutes 30 seconds.
The second and third winners received Rs 70,000 and Rs. 50, 000 respectively.
The consolation prize in the 42 km category was awarded to Peter Wangi and Kresstarjune Pathaw from South West Khasi Hills.
Meghalaya sports and youth affairs minister Zenith Sangma attended the presentation ceremony and gave away the prizes to the winners. He lauded the effort of the organisers, who have been organising the run for the past three years.
He said that if such events are branded it would attract more tourists and it would aid in popularizing Garo hills. “Through sports we can connect and engage to the people. It is great that the organisers have put up such an event, which is gaining popularity year after year”, he added.
Most of the winners of the marathon were professional athletes, who had taken part in different marathons across the country including the prestigious Mumbai and Delhi marathon. The athletes were bowled with the serenity of the stretch though they said that it was difficult to run in the hills.
“It is difficult to run in the hills and it takes a lot of time. However, the experience in Garo hills was awesome and the people were warm and hospitable”, said Deka, the winner of this year’s full marathon.
In 21 km category male Mi Kiyas of Ethopia won the run and completed the distance in 1 hour 11 minutes, while Anish Thapa of Nepal stood second and Synsharlang Wahlang of South West Khasi Hills stood third. They completed the run in a difference of about 1 minute 30 seconds. Philio Tyago and Khundom Romajit were awarded the consolation prize.
In 21 km category female Brigid of Kenya completed the run in 1 hour 27 minutes and stood first, while Shyamli Singh of Kolkatta stood second and Darishisha Iangjuh of West Khasi Hills stood third.
In 7 km category men Marso Kyndait of Jowai won the run, while Rahul Kumar of Kolkatta and Emphius Nongrum stood second and third respectively, while in female category Pynhun Shulet of Jowai, Datei Marwein and Aidaris Lynkhoi were adjusted second and third.