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Silver surge in Kolkata!

Author: admin

On 16 December, the cold winter morning was a riot of sight, sound and colour at Tata Steel Kolkata 25K, with people across the world coming together for this prestigious event. Participants descended onto the Kolkata Rangers Club ground by 6 am—and prominent among them, dotting the mammoth ground of electrifying performances and lively brand promotions, were Harmony’s silvers in their signature yellow shirts.

By 8 am, around 800 silvers made their way to the flag-off stand, from where the Senior Citizens’ Run commenced around a 2.4-km track, flagged off by former cricket player-coach-selector-match referee-writer Raju Mukherji; former volleyball player Chanchal Banerjee; and ace mountaineer Debasish Biswas. Claiming the track as their own, the silvers dashed off to a gleeful start as the onlookers cheered them on.

An hour later, the silvers made their way past the crowd of participants to return to the marquee, where refreshments awaited them and our comperes Aditi Mitra and Soumalya kept the crowd on their toes. “The energy flowing from the Harmony marquee is infectious; their carefree, happy-go-lucky attitude has always set the tone for the whole of Marathon” remarked Sandeep, part of the event crew of Procam International, the organiser of the event.

While some wondered if they were the first to finish, like our first-time Harmony runner Gautam Nandi, of Kankurgachi Laughing Club, others were more focused on running for a cause, like Wing Cdr (retd) Shomir Chaudhari, 75, who was promoting Calcutta Rescue, a UK-based charity, founded by Dr Jack Preger, popularly known as the Barefoot Doctor of Kolkata. Currently, the organisation has over 12 doctors and two ambulances and has helped over 17,000 people with HIV.

Sixty-two year-old Shantanu Biswas, once a gold medallist in 100-m sprints was not there to just run but to advocate the benefits of running and staying fit. “Five days a week, I run about 4-5 km and then alternate between yoga and strength training,” he shared. “I am at the peak of my health. Exercise not only makes you fit but happier and calmer and teaches you discipline.”

Embodying Kolkata’s love for sports was 70 year-old Mira Das, who won a bronze in the 2012 veteran’s meet in Malaysia in the javelin throw and was excited to have made it back to the marquee. A participant in the 2017 edition of the Run, she shared, “The Harmony Run is bigger than last year and extremely well organised. I was glad people weren’t made to rush. And if anyone needed assistance, the volunteers were always ready to lend a hand, even on track”.

Close to the end of the event, the senior clubs that gathered maximum participants for the Run were felicitated. “It seems Harmony grows every year to a whole different league with its organisation and its hospitality,” said Rajkumar Shaw, secretary of Shyamnagar Laughing Club, the second runner-up with 72 participants. Members of the Garfa Prabhath Sathi Club (with 71 members) and Shyamnagar Laughing Club (with 70 members) also contributed to our beautiful memories. Finally, the club with the maximum participants, Kankurgachi Laughing Club, climbed onto the stage, all 83 of them together, for a hearty farewell. 

As the event came to a close 70 year-old Archana Chaudhury, who was avidly waiting for her instant picture from our sponsor, Friends Adult Diapers, shared a final adieu: “It is not just that this is a run for seniors; it is also a reason for us to get together once a year in full glory, shed all our inhibitions, forget our age and let loose”.

Cheers!

– Sahil Jaswal

December 2018