Seasoned runner or amateur, make good use of the first weekend of February for a one-of-a-kind experience.
Ajay Reddy, the founder of Go Heritage Run, is all for heritage sightseeing with a bit of adrenaline. His upcoming run in Hampi takes him back to when he started the first of these destination runs in the city in 2015. He touts these events as ‘Runcations’ because he believes that they provide the experience of a vacation alongside the thrill of the run.
In its sixth year now, Go Heritage Run aims to get seasoned runners as well as novices to participate because Reddy doesn’t believe in races, only runs. He says there is no pressure to finish the run in a stipulated duration because they’re un-timed, so you can go at your own sweet pace, soaking in all the gorgeous sights and sounds along the way.
When asked what the runners must look forward to in the run, Reddy was quick to add that Hampi has the best of both worlds—the historical and the natural. As a World Heritage Site and the erstwhile capital of the Vijayanagar Empire, Hampi is supremely rich in heritage as well as culture.
The run route crosses the core area of the town and covers some of the most spectacular monuments such as the Monolithic Nandi (which is the start and endpoint of the run), Virupaksha Temple, the underground Shiva Temple, Queen’s Bath, and the Vijaya Vitthala Temple.
Besides the monuments, Reddy adds that the runners can also look forward to the natural landscapes—especially the banana and sugarcane plantations—and if they are on the longer route, they will cross some of the most scenic streams and rivers.
With over 8,000 participants each year, Reddy also has these training plans to make you a fitter, more efficient runner. He advocates warm-ups before the run and cool down right after to make it a memorable and injury-free experience.
What’s even more unique about the Hampi run, in particular, is that it happens right at the heart of the World Heritage Site—unlike anywhere else in India. Which made us ask him what are the heritage cities they’ve already covered and wish to cover this year?
“We’ve covered 17 destinations so far, including Udaipur, Bhopal, Halebidu and Badami. We have runs coming up in Pachmarhi, Khajuraho, Pench National Park, coming up in March; Ooty in May or June; and Orchha, Gwalior, and Coorg later in the year.”
The sixth edition of the Go Heritage Run Hampi will happen on February 2. These runs usually happen on a Sunday so that the participants can fly down or drive in a day before, settle in, look around Hospet and Hampi, do their sight-seeing, pick up their kits and get ready for the run early next morning.
After the run (which usually lasts for 4-5 hours), participants can explore around some more before travelling back overnight to their respective cities.
Whether you’re a family with children, a young couple, or fall in the old age bracket, there’s something for everybody at Go Heritage Run. They conduct runs that vary from 5 km, 10 km to 21 km depending on the location. It will be conducted against a nominal fee of Rs 847 per head. The cost will include registration fee, after-run refreshments, a runner kit with a souvenir t-shirt and a bib, plus a certificate and a medal.
One of the participants, Deepali Bhatt, from Hyderabad, says, “This is a beautiful concept for heritage lovers. The Hyderabad run was planned on a green route with options to get ourselves clicked at the various heritage spots, and a special mention goes to the unique medal given to all runners.”
You can book your spot here.
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Go Heritage Run is an award-winning series of fun runs and half marathons organised across various heritage locations throughout the round the year. The runs are designed to be a holistic experience that help you explore the scenic beauty and cultural variety of our rich heritage.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)