Islamabad Run to raise awareness of physical activity and healthy lifestyle, Amb Denmark

Islamabad hosts runners from all cities of Pakistan on the 2nd Islamabad Marathon

Islamabad: Hundreds of participants from different the cities of Pakistan along with the diplomatic community based in Pakistan participated in the 2nd edition of Islamabad Marathon that was organized by enthusiasts from the running community Islamabad Run With Us (IRU). The weather conditions were perfect for the marathon run which is 42.2 KM distance and a great increase in the number of participants from last year was witnessed.

To create awareness and encourage masses to vaccinate children aged under 5 years against polio, IRU collaborated with Pakistan Polio Eradication Programme and dedicated the event with the theme Race To End Polio in Pakistan.

The Islamabad Marathon 2023 was organized with full support of District Administration Islamabad, District Health Office and Capital Traffic Police. Qasim Naz, the founder of Islamabad Run With Us said that the main objective of the event was to promote healthy lifestyle, promote marathon tourism and project a positive image of Pakistan all over the world. With the beautiful Maragalla Hills in the backdrop, the runners also passed through the scenic jungle at Shakarparian as they completed their 21.1 and 42.2 km distances.

Ambassador of Denmark to Pakistan, Jakob Linulf also ran the Full Marathon (42.2 km) and was thrilled to be at the biggest running event in Islamabad. He said “Me and my brother enjoyed the enthusiasm shown by Pakistanis of all age groups coming from different cities to participate in the marathon organized by “Islamabad Run with Us”. Such initiatives serve as a great way to raise awareness about the importance of physical activity and healthy lifestyle choices. I hope Pakistanis integrate such healthy activities into their everyday lives.”

The event was very well organized that attracted huge attendance from families including elderly and children who gathered to support the runners.  The running event included five different categories to cater to encourage vast participation of all ages and of different athletic abilities. Full marathon of 42km, Half marathon of 21 km, 10 km and 5 km running were the categories that were primarily chosen for the adults and teenagers. A special category of ‘Kids Fun Run’ for children under 14 years was also organized to encourage children, and they loved their participation with great enthusiasm. To encourage the runners Cash Prizes were given to top 3 winners from all categories.

The Chief Guest Mr. Hamish Young, representing Pakistan Polio Eradication Programme in his address, lauded the efforts of Islamabad Run with Us for making the marathon such a big success. Mr. Young not only emphasized on the importance of choosing a healthy lifestyle but also stressed on creating awareness and take actions to inspire others to eradicate polio. District Health Officer, Dr. Zaeem Zia also fully participated in the running event by completing the half marathon and emphasized everyone to work together to end polio in Pakistan.

Resident Representative of UNDP Pakistan, Mr. Knut Otsby, who is a regular member of the running community in Islamabad also ran the 10km race. His valuable participation in this event was encouraging as it sets a precedent for other community members and strengthen the belief in Pakistan as a safe and healthy country for these activities.

Gracing the occasion, Ms. Rina Saeed Khan, Chairperson Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) said that Islamabad is gifted with beautiful outdoor locations for healthy activities and IWMB, is working very hard to manage the trails under the slogan of “My Waste, My Responsibility”.  Ms. Khan requested the residents of Islamabad to take ownership of the Margalla Hills trails by keeping them clean as they not only provide us with great outdoor adventure activities but are also home to many wildlife animals.

“Adam’s Milk Foods is synonymous with healthy life and is always focused on developing and promoting a healthy lifestyle. Running is one of the healthiest sports and Adam’s always look forward to promoting it. IRU Marathon is one of its kind and Adam’s takes pride in becoming the title sponsor of this event”, said Babar Riaz, Commercial Director Adam Milk Foods Limited.

*About Islamabad Run with Us:*
‘Islamabad Run with Us’ (IRU) is the first running community of Pakistan. It began in 2012 when founder, Qasim Naz started running solo and was later joined by his brother, Hashim Naz. Looking at their consistency and dedication, other friends started to join them and then began the organized, weekly running and hiking activities. After four years, in 2016, a club named ‘Islamabad Run with Us’ (IRU) was launched with the aim of encouraging running and hiking in the city. IRU tends to cater for runners of all capabilities and make sure that no one is left behind during their group runs. Over the course of 5 years, the group has increased tremendously, and their recent group runs have attracted more than 100 runners, including people from all ages and genders. So far, they have organized more than 350 group runs and have taken the lead to host Islamabad’s First Full Marathon. The Full Marathon has now been marked as a calendar event and this is the second Full Marathon of Islamabad. In the last year’s marathon, honourable President Dr. Arif Alvi along with the First Lady of Pakistan, Samina Alvi, participated and completed the 10km loop to raise awareness on health and encourage youth to participate in sport activities.