Running the Mumbai Marathon

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published by Amita Chauhan, on the (not dated), (their Homepage):

Excerpts: Marathons, world-over a recognised and popular way for not-for-profit organisations to raise funds, are having their impact in India too. The recently held 2007 Mumbai Marathon raised close to Rs70 million (GBP850,000) in clearly tracked funds for good causes. This number reflects a year on year growth of 114% from 2006 …

… Since the concept of marathons was new to Indians who do not have a “running culture”, GiveIndia .org had to employ a “push” strategy to attract and engage potential runners while at the same time educating them about the possibility of raising funds for a cause.

In February 2004, the year of the first event, GiveIndia was more of an observer than an active charity partner. From their observations in that first year, they developed their strategy for 2005 which still remains for the most part in place today.

The Mumbai Marathon was structured differently than most major marathons to accommodate the lack of serious runners by, in addition to having 5000 running numbers for the 42km full marathon, also having 5000 running nos for a 21km half marathon. The largest category was a 7km fun run that was designed to include everyone who wanted to join the spirit of the day with 25,000 running numbers.

So the entire event was to have 35,000 runners take to the streets of Mumbai. Although GiveIndia was the Official Charity of the event, they viewed their role as an umbrella organisation that would set up systems that would allow ALL NGOs to use the marathon as a fundraising vehicle for their own causes. Only then would they be able to attract large numbers of runners and only then would all NGOs feel equal and make an effort to take part in the event …

… The success of the Mumbai event has led to similar events in Delhi. GiveIndia is partner to one of the Delhi events and has made good inroads there in just two years. In the coming years, there could be a marathon type event in every major metro and many of the mini-metros of India.

Stronger support from the sponsors and promoters of the event could lead to even better growth in the years to come keeping in mind that today just a very small percentage of all runners are actually raising money for a cause. The wonderful thing is that even the efforts of this small number will help change at least 20,000 lives for the better – blinded old people will be able to see their grandchildren for the first time, those grandchildren will be able to go to school and perhaps wear shoes for a change, mothers and fathers will get access to livelihoods, children with special needs will receive special attention and the world, in a very small way, will have shown that it cares.

For more information about GiveIndia and their involvement with the Mumbai Marathon, please click on Contact.

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