HNExpress Staff Reporter : An air of excitement and anticipation has engulfed Kolkata as the country’s cultural capital prepares for the much-anticipated seventh edition of eastern India’s biggest running festival, the 2022 Tata Steel Kolkata 25K, on December 18.
The only World Athletics Elite Label road race over this distance, the TSK 25K’s AIMS accredited course is carefully crafted to take in some of the city’s majestic sights as the participants go past the Raj Bhavan, the Eden Gardens, under the Howrah Railway Bridge over the Hooghly River, Fort Williams Golf Course and the Victoria Memorial before returning to the historic Red Road finish line.
The countdown commenced today at The Oberoi Grand, the event’s Hospitality Partner, with Sarvesh Kumar, Chief Corporate Communications, India & SEA, of title sponsor Tata Steel, Amit Sinha, Country Head – Branch Banking, IDFC FIRST Bank of Associate sponsor IDFC FIRST Bank unveiling the SEIKO Race Clock along with the TSK 25K Ratnas — cricket legend Jhulan Goswami and the reigning queen of Bengali cinema Subhashree Ganguly.
The USD 100,000 prize fund race will be headlined by the 2022 Commonwealth Games marathon champion Victor Kiplangat of Uganda, defending champion and course record holder Leonard Barsoton of Kenya and two-time Tokyo Marathon winner Birhanu Legese of Ethiopia in the men’s International Elite field, and the 2022 Tokyo Marathon runner-up Ashete Bekere of Ethiopia and the 2019 TSK 25K runner-up Desi Jisa of Bahrain in the women’s section. The International Elite runners will be further incentivised by an Event Record Bonus of USD 3,000.
Chanakya Chaudhary, Vice President (Corporate Services), Tata Steel, said, “The significance of mass-participation sport like the TSK 25K lies in its inclusivity as there is a distance for everyone to participate in and a platform for all to take part. Registration is in full swing for the biggest race of eastern India. Don’t miss out, be a part of this joyful experience this December.”
Tata Steel Kolkata 25K has over the years invited eminent sporting personalities to inspire the runners to give their best. Two-time Grand Slam singles champion Mary Pierce is the International Event Ambassador and will spur on the runners along with the event’s Ratnas Jhulan and Subhashree.
Spots are fast running out for the 25K, open 10K, Ananda Run (4.5K), Senior Citizens’ Run (2.3K) & the Champions with Disability (2.3K) categories. Registration will remain open until December 9 at tatasteelkolkata25k.procam.in.
Amit Sinha, Country Head – Branch Banking, IDFC FIRST Bank, said, “For many seasoned as well as first-time runners, the countdown for the TATA Steel Kolkata 25K marks a special time, because by now, they have prepared and are ready to conquer the distance. To capture this sense of preparation and anticipation, IDFC FIRST Bank’s theme for the Tata Steel Kolkata 25K is #JourneyToTheStart. We are delighted to be a part of a journey, which for many, inspires wellness, energy, camaraderie and an inclination to be outdoors. The TATA Steel Kolkata 25K also resonates well with the IDFC FIRST brand as we are a full stack new age bank that powers the #JourneyToTheStart of millions of people, from entrepreneurs and small businesses to individuals, home buyers and first-time investors, making their financial lives better.”
Debashish Kumar – MLA & MMIC, Sports, Parks and Squares and Advertisements, Kolkata Municipal Corporation, said, “TSK 25K is returning after a gap of two years. For two years we did not have Durga Puja properly also. This event is part of Kolkata’s heartbeat and I am sure more than 15000 people will run this time. I call the people of Kolkata to come out with new energy and run. We have been with this event from the beginning and this year also we will give full support to the event”.
Brig R. K Singh – DY GOC, Bengal Area Headquarter Indian Army, said, “Running is part of the blood of Indian army. We get up in the morning and run and wind up the day running. So this event is very close to our heart. But 16000 people is too less for this city. I urge Kolkata to wake up and run”.
Jhulan and Subhashree will be cheering participants of the Ananda Run, the soul of the event and a celebration of the spirit of Bengal.
“Advance your New Year resolution! Begin your fitness journey with the Ananda Run, a great place to start. And for all the runners out there, run for what brings you happiness. See you at the start line,” Jhulan said.
Shubhashree has called on the people of Bengal to turn the Ananda Run into a family outing. “Come out and participate with your loved ones. Draw inspiration and inspire others. Embrace a healthy lifestyle. I’ll be cheering for you,” she said.
VIJAY DIWAS TROPHY: In a show of solidarity with the Services, and to celebrate Vijay Diwas which falls during the week of the event, the TSK 25K is honoured to have the whole-hearted participation of the Eastern Command. Instituted in 2018, it remains an integral part of the running festival. The trophy is inspired by the historic Vijay Smarak and is a Rolling Trophy.
All confirmed participants will receive a goodie bag at the Expo in addition to the running bib, while the 25K participants will also get a Race Day Tee. The 25K and 10K finishers will receive a medal and a timing certificate. Ananda Run participants will get a Participation medal and certificate. The Champions with Disability and Senior Citizens’ Run participants will be given a Participation certificate.
Vivek Singh, Jt. MD, Procam International, said: “We are thrilled to present the seventh edition of the Tata Steel Kolkata 25K after a two-year pandemic-forced break. It is an event that has grown to be a part of the fabric of the city and a beacon for running in eastern India. With the support from all our sponsors and partners, we have strived to create a magical experience for our running community. See you all on race day!”