The end of the year is almost here – and what better way to bid goodbye than training and finishing a race that you’ve been looking forward to? With a slew of marathons organized around the country, December brings plenty of reasons to tie on those racing shoes and blaze some trails. Here are a few of the most popular races and marathons scheduled for the month.
Bengaluru International Midnight Marathon – Dec 5
Organized by Rotary Bangalore IT Corridor (RBITC), this is the only midnight marathon of its kind in India that sees scores of participants from over 20 countries. This year, in a unique partnership with Codoon, a Chinese social sports app firm, the race will also see over 30,000 runners from China run on their own turf simultaneously with participants in India. Large display screens along the track, decorative lighting, live performances by rock bands and plenty of food and fun mark the celebrations at this annual marathon, now in its 9th edition. The event covers marathon, half marathon and 10K categories.
Nilgiris Ultra – Dec 5
A North Face UTMB qualifier, the Nilgiris Ultra has separate categories for men and women for distances of 25, 50 and 100 kilometers. Set in the misty Nilgiris of the Western Ghats, the course is both picturesque and challenging. The longer categories start post midnight giving runners an opportunity to catch a glorious sunrise halfway through. In its fourth year now, the Nilgiri Ultras starts from the outskirts of Ooty, with the 100K ending at the Upper Bhavani Reservoir.
Pune International Marathon – Dec 6
Running since 1983, the Pune Marathon has seen thousands of runners from India and abroad achieve honors and raise money for charity through the years. Categories include full and half marathons as well as 10K for men and women, and the route meanders through many of the city’s historical landmarks and quarters. The event has been granted National Marathon Championship status by the Athletics Federation of India.
Goa River Marathon – Dec 13
One of the most charming runs in the country, the Goa River Marathon course is located around the airport town of Dabolim; it begins from the seafront at Baina beach and courses through villages along the stunning Zuari river, and the massive ports at Vasco, with plenty of flat roads, greenery and shade to keep you going. A favorite amongst many runners in India, the Goa River Marathon comes in full, half and 10K categories and also includes a fun Walk-Run.
Chennai Iron Triathlon – Dec 19
Organized by the Chennai Trekking Club, this popular, non-profit event comprises 4 challenging categories: Olympic (1.5K swim, 45K cycling, 10K running), Half Iron (1.9K swim, 90K cycling, 21K running), 3/4 Iron (2.9K swim, 135K cycling, 31K running) and Full Iron (3.9K swim, 180K cycling, 42K running). The event is set in Kalpakkam, 15km south of Mahabalipuram with the running course being a mostly shaded 10.5K double loop and the cycling route set along scenic, peaceful state highways; the swimming section is completed in an open river.
Tata Steel Kolkata 25K – Dec 20
One of the more prestigious events in India, the Tata Steel Kolkata running event has categories for all kinds of runners, including a 10K, 5K and senior citizen 2.5K apart from the mega 25K. This year’s race is expected to feature a stellar lineup of professional athletes, serious runners, health and fitness enthusiasts, with the inclusion of both timed and non-timed categories. There are several prizes in store for both elite and non-professional runners under various age groups.