Pakistan Youth Outreach and Z Adventures have announced first official marathon race in the Northern areas of Pakistan. The Hunza Marathon will take place on 9th July 2016 in Karimabad. Karimabad is the capital of Hunza Valley. Hunza is a mountainous valley in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. The Karakoram Highway passes through Hunza, connecting China and Pakistan through the Khunjerab Pass.
The aim of Hunza Marathon is to raise awareness against drug abuse in Pakistan. The race motto, “Say No To Drugs” hopes to educate young people regarding drug abuse. The Marathon also focuses on raising funds for a charity. Introducing long distance running in the Hunza valley will help in promoting the sport of running in Pakistan.
The Hunza Marathon will have four categories i.e. full marathon, half marathon, 5K, and 10K. Local residents of Hunza have been offered free entry in the marathon whereas, other registrants, will have to pay 30 US dollars. Full Marathon will start at 5 AM. Due to the current weather conditions, runners will be required to wear warm clothes. They will be allowed to discard warm clothes once the sun is out. Twenty international athletes will participate in the inaugural edition of the marathon.
Dr. Klaus Westphal of Germany will also take part in the Hunza marathon. He holds top place in Marathon Globetrotters rankings of many countries. Pakistan will be the 118th country where he will run a marathon. Around 200 local runners will also run in the marathon.
Hunza Marathon is the idea of Ziyad Rahim, who is the founder of Z Adventures. Ziyad Rahim is an unsung hero of Pakistan who holds 10 Guinness World Records in running. He is the only athlete in the world who has completed a full marathon, half marathon, and ultra marathon in every continent. He is also the member of seven continents marathon club.
Ziyad Rahim said
It has always been my dream to organize a running event in Pakistan. A few years back during my 7 continents ultra-marathon challenge, on my way back from Antarctica, I met with Mirza Ali and Samina Baig in Chile. They both had just returned from Antarctica after climbing Mount Vinson Massif. Since they were based in Hunza, I asked them if it would be possible to arrange an event and they both agreed.
Ziyad Rahim worked hard with Samina Baig and Mirza Ali for Hunza marathon. Mountaineering giants Samina Baig and her brother, Mirza Ali are running Pakistan Youth Outreach program with the aim to promote sports in Pakistan.
Do you know: According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Pakistan has 6.7 million drug users. More than 4 million of these are addicts, amongst the highest number for any country in the world. (Source: Wikipedia)
Mirza Ali, while expressing his views, said that
Since no such events have been organized in the area, this is interesting and unique for young people. Many want to participate in unique sports and marathon is one of them. Therefore lots of people are excited. This event is providing equal opportunity for boys and girls to test their ability.
Ziyad Rahim further added that
I am looking forward to seeing everyone enjoy themselves and embrace this new sport. It is a sport that does not require any major investment. So whether you are young or old, rich or poor, all can be part of the event and can run, walk or even crawl to the finish line.
Summer season is the ideal time to pay a visit to the beautiful Hunza Valley. People often term the Hunza valley as heaven on the earth. If the local runners are given proper training, Pakistan surely has the capability of producing marathon champions. The Hunza Marathon is a great initiative to promote tourism and sporting activities in Pakistan.
If you are interested in being a part of Hunza Marathon, register yourself here.