180 elderly foreign nationals redefine sports tourism in India by marathons

SHIMLA: A group of around 180 French, British, Belgium and
Spanish nationals aging between 40 and 75 are organizing marathons in different
parts of India and formulating a new definition of tourism while spreading
message that age is not a bar for any sport.

Marathon participants enjoy Himachali folk dance at Naggar
pic: http://himachalvacation.com
After successful
organization of marathon in Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Jodhpur and Shimla, the group
of elderly runners reached Manali on Monday. The group which constitutes both
males and females stunned everybody with covering steep 22-km distance between Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of
Mountaineering and Allied Sports
in Manali and Naggar in only 2 hours.

The marathon was
held in two phases — running and walking. 150 elderly took part in 22-km-long
running marathon between Manali and Naggar while 30 participants simply walked
10km from Sajla to Naggar. Everyone was surprised to see the oldies running
like youths. Nadyata won the marathon in female category while Partry came
first among the men who covered distance in only 1hour 55mins. In walkers’
category, 64 year-old Maris did it first.

Manali marathon winners (pic: http://himachalvacation.com)
The
participants-cum-tourists after completion of the marathon were honored with
Kulluvi caps and given warm welcome with traditional Himachali folk dance. A runner
Sylvie said, “We loved calm atmosphere of the Himachal and its beautiful
people. Human being has become so dependent on machines even to cover small
distances. Walking and running make human fit both physically and mentally.”

France based
Sports Performance Development Organization is organizing the marathon in
various countries to give tourism a new definition. The purpose of the marathon
is to discover the world through sports where age should not be a bar. Serene
Holidays and Great Escape Routes
are the Indian supporters for the marathons. The team would now move to
Dharamshala for their last marathon, before leaving the India.

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