BENGALURU: Pick a cause and you’ll find someone running a marathon for it. They run to spread awareness or raise funds, and along the way, keep healthy. This city has seen a fair share of such marathons.
Nitesh, president of Rotary Club IT Corridor, is preparing to host the 9th annual edition of the Bengaluru Midnight Marathon on December 5. He says that the marathons are gaining more attention and participation than regular events conducted for social causes. “Bengaluru has a large percentage of youngsters compared to other cities. Most of them are health conscious. For them, this is a way to be fit and also support a cause,” he says.
With the eight editions of the midnight marathon, the club has bettered the infrastructure at schools that they have adopted and also adopted a village and given them quality healthcare, education, water, sanitation, livelihood and skill development.
Pankaj Rai, analytics director at Dell, who has been participating in various marathons for the last ten years, believes that he does his bit for the society through them. “It initially started with the aim to keep my cholesterol under control. All the marathons we participate in have some social cause associated with it. Number of participants in the marathons have also multiplied,” he says.
For Ramesh Viswanathan, Head, Technology and Innovation Management at Siemens Technology India, running a full marathon was on his bucket list for a long time. He has been participating in most of the marathons in the city. He says, “Marathons have always been combination of both – running and social cause. I also take my family along as it is a way to be healthy and associate ourselves with a cause,” he says.
While the social cause and health benefits attract participants, it is the business that the marathons bring that is drawing sponsors. “Every business runs on probability. While sponsoring marathons, companies also keep track of the benefits they will gain out of it,” says Anurag Kumar Singh from Green Flag Brands Solutions.
Elaborating, he says, “Say if the company provides participants with t-shirts and water bottles, it increases their brand recall value. They also try to get details of participants at the event. Later, they try to reach them to sell their products or services. As the customer already has a positive attitude towards the brand, they will be good to the executive and the people who are looking for similar services will sign up with them. They will also recommend the brand to others. If it is a bank, the participants will also approach them for loans, etc.”