With its 17 million dwellers Dhaka is one of South Asia’s most populated and largest cities. The hardworking people of this bustling mega city wake up to a full day of challenges every day, in all shapes and sizes, facing them with innovation, resilience and diversity. Recognizing that an active lifestyle can go a long way in helping people take on the pressures of city life, a group of running enthusiasts decided to launch the Dhaka Half Marathon (DHM) in 2018. Conceptualized by the Dhaka Run Lords, a platform hosting running events, and supported by BDRunners, the country’s largest running community, the Dhaka Half Marathon aimed to help people from all walks of life enhance their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing thus boosting their overall health.
“We wanted to help the people of Dhaka gain better health, resilience and determination by adopting an active lifestyle. Running is one of the most inexpensive ways to get fit and have fun at the same time” says Imtiaz Ilahi, one of the founding members of Dhaka Run Lords. Alongside building a healthier, socially conscious and more resilient society, the DHM would also help position Dhaka as an active lifestyle city. Afnan Ahmad, a co-founder of Dhaka Run Lords says, “As this initiative grows, we would like to see the DHM putting Dhaka on the map as an international host of signature active lifestyle events.”
The Dhaka Half Marathon 2018 received an unprecedented response from everyone. With professional, amateur and first-time runners from all walks of life, the DHM 2018 celebrated what it means to live, work and play in Dhaka. The excitement around the city’s most anticipated race was evident long before Race Day with high engagement from DHM followers on social media. Due to the overwhelming response, the servers handling the online registration went down temporarily in the first 4 hours after registration commenced. On Race Day, 2 March 2018, enthusiastic participants started arriving at the Hatirjheel venue long before the scheduled 6 am starting time. The race was divided into two categories, the 21.1 km Half Marathon and the 7.5 km Mini Marathon with a total of 620 local and foreign runners taking part. Click here to check out the winners, runners-up and race times of the Half Marathon and the Mini Marathon. The event venue wore a festive look from the start till the prize-giving ceremony, with family and friends, local and foreign visitors, volunteers and sponsors, all contributing to making it a big, fun festival. Arif R Hossain who managed to finish after surviving a fall, said of the organizers, “I just wanted to let you know what a fantastic job you and your team did putting on the Dhaka Half Marathon event. The course was beautiful, well marked and quite challenging, and the aid station volunteers were awesome!”
Indeed, the DHM 2018 would not have been possible without the tireless, always-smiling efforts of 400 volunteers, numerous support personnel and leaders from different government and private organizations. “Thanks to all…love the team spirit here!” said Nafia Hassan, another enthusiastic runner.
The event was organized by the Dhaka Run Lords and Thousand Miles Expeditions and was sponsored by, among other generous supporters, Nestlé Bangladesh (Title Sponsor); Robi My Health by Milvik and SprintA by Apex (Gold Sponsors); Isotoniks (Hydration Partner); Khusboo (Food Partner); and Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation (Co-Organizer). Apart from the positive response on social media, the event received positive coverage on local television channels and newspapers. The DHM 2018 was an exciting first step to making such races in Dhaka compare to other well-known ones held annually across the world. The next version to be held in March 2019 would take from the experience, knowledge and support from the first one to making that mission a success. “The DHM has the potential to join other globally acclaimed marathons held in Boston, New York, London and Singapore, promoting a health-conscious lifestyle” adds Mohammed Asaduzzaman, another co-founder of the Dhaka Run Lords.