Eighty per cent of the participants at the 12th SKF Goa river marathon are outstation marathoners, indicating the growing pan-India interest in the race.
Says Bhasker Desai (70) veteran Mumbai-based marathoner, “SKF Goa river marathon is easily amongst the most scenic races in India. The route takes you past river waters on one side, lush green trees on another and small hillocks to challenge your endurance.”
Bhasker, who has taken part in every single Goa river marathon to date is looking forward to the race. “This race is also special because a chilled can of beer awaits you at the finish line. This race is quite easily one of the best organised and managed races in the country,” said Bhasker.
Simta Sharma (34), Bengaluru-based IT professional, who has been running at the SKF Goa river marathon for the last four years said, “This race is special in terms of the route, the organisation and the post-run beer. I personally love running along the river and enjoy listening to the Navy band on the U-turn of the half marathon.”
While Neera Katwal (46), running and fitness coach from Bengaluru, is of the opinion that Goa with its beaches, rivers and forests attracts a lot of runners from across India for the race and tourism. “My group looks forward to this race, as we can race well and then unwind to celebrate,” says Neera.
Even Brijesh Gajera (40), IT professional from Bengaluru and first-time registrant for the race is attracted by the scenic route. Says the experienced marathoner, “This scenic route is quite clearly, one of the best marathon routes in the country.”
Over the years, the SKF Goa river marathon has also attracted high-quality runners. Brijesh Gajera of Bengaluru for instance has a personal best time of 2 hours 59 minutes for his full marathon (42kms), while Simta Sharma also from Bengaluru has a personal best time of 3 hours 24 minutes for her full marathon, while Neera Katwal is a regular podium finisher in marathon races across the country.
Running for fun and fitness is clearly the common thread for these runners. Says Bhasker Desai, “Running is a simple road to health and happiness. It keeps me positive, strong and running.” While Neera says, “Running keeps me looking younger, fitter and full of positive attitude towards life.”