01/12/2015 2:50 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Milkha Singh, Saina Nehwal To Star In This Year's Midnight Marathon In Bengaluru


This article earlier mentioned that Indian boxer Mary Kom would be present at the event. However, members from the Bengaluru Midnight Marathon sent an email post publishing that the boxer had to cancel at the last moment.

On December 5th, Bengaluru will flag off the ninth edition of the Bengaluru Midnight Marathon (BMM) which, quite uniquely, is run in the dark. The concept was “inspired from the Midnight Sun Marathon that is hosted in Tromsø, Norway,” said chairman Viraf Sutaria in an interview with HuffPost India, “However the city (unlike Bengaluru) experiences broad daylight at the time.” The event will feature star sportsmen such as ‘Flying Sikh’ Milkha Singh, and shuttler Saina Nehwal.

Supposedly a tribute to the city itself, the marathon has, for the first time, received certification from AIMS – IAAFAssociation of International Marathons and Distance Races, making it only one of two marathons in India to be certified and eligible as qualifiers for international runs, such as the Boston and Rome marathon.

The atypical timing was also because of the clement weather: “The weather is cooler for the runners and the pollution lesser. A marathon of this scale – over 11,000 runners are expected to participate this year – also has heavy infrastructural requirements and the time slot that we have chosen reduces the marathon from being a (public) obstruction.”

The Midnight Marathon boasts its own collection of quirky and inspirational runners. “One such runner, a gentleman named Manjunath from Kolar, runs the marathon barefoot,” said Sutaria “ We provided him with shoes on numerous occasions to participate. However he would unlace them and continue without shoes.” Another would complete every lap with a cartwheel – no small feat - and several more credit the run with improving their lifestyle. Another regular wrote to the team saying he'd lost 40 kilograms since he took up running.

The first year of the run, in 2007, saw 2,500 participants. A different theme marks every year. “This year the theme is ‘Run For (A) Happy Bengaluru,” said Sutaria. Two bands, Agam and Parvaaz, would be performing this year, alongside several college and corporate bands. There would also be magic shows, flea markets, food stalls and dholaks peppering the run-route.

Contact HuffPost India

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