What has been described as terrestrial locomotion and ignored over the years, as only a catalyst to remaining fit and controlling diabetes, is now the fastest-growing sport in India.
Yes, distance running has caught up with a significant milestone—awareness--in this subcontinent and Kolkata not to be left behind, is the only metro to have an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) accredited 25K race, carrying the prestigious 'Silver Label'. At 100,000 USD in prize money, it is also the most lucrative in this category.
With a unique distance, that is farther than the half marathon - the 25 K pushes you to stretch your body and mind beyond the comfort zone. The Tata Steel Kolkata 25 K has given the professional and amateur distance runners, a platform to compete, shine and qualify to participate in other accredited races. Top Indian athletes like Sudha Singh, Lalita Babbar, Kavita Raut, Elam Singh, Srinu Bugatha, G Lakshmanan, Balliapa A and O Santon Singh, have taken honors at the finishing line.
While the first two years concentrated on the Indian elite runners with Jeet and Dev as the face of the event; year 3, saw a big leap as the event went International. BCCI President and former India Skipper Sourav Ganguly became the Face of the Event, while Boris Becker came in as the international Event Ambassador.
Needless to say, the event made global headlines with multiple world and Olympic champion Kenenisa Bekele (the 2nd fastest marathoner ever) winning the TSK 25K in record time. There is no looking back now. Last year, over 14,000 people signed up for the 3rd Sunday in December, to stamp their mark on Red Road, with sporting legends like Mike Powell and Greg Louganis, cheering them on.
Over 50 top names in distance running from around the world over have participated in this event, along with the crème de la crème of India. And 2019 promises to raise the heat by a few notches.
While the 25K is the feature race, the event has unique distances to offer for every runner. The 10K for a runner willing to take up a challenging distance, the newly introduced Timed Ananda Run (5km) a colourful carnival to experience the spirit of Kolkata; for the silvers (participants who are 60 and above) the event offers the Senior Citizen Run (2.1km) and for individuals with any disability, there is the Champions with Disability category (2.1km).
In a short period of time, the Tata Steel Kolkata 25K has changed the running paradigm in the East of India. In less than five years, since its inception, there are 50 running events and 15 running clubs, training the ever-increasing multitude of people seeking a more active lifestyle.
Our biggest encouragement comes from these swelling numbers of participants and a spike in funds raised for charity. TSK 25K is the largest, cause neutral sporting platform for charity, in the East.
We are eternally grateful for the support from our sponsors and partners, the Govt. of West Bengal, the civic authorities, Kolkata Police, the Indian Army, and the people of Kolkata.