Delhi Half Marathon kicks off despite health warning | News | DW | 19.11.2017
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Delhi Half Marathon kicks off despite health warning

Thousands of runners have taken part in the Delhi Half Marathon despite health warnings from doctors. Participants have to cover 21.1 kilometers in one of the world's most polluted cities.

Delhi and other parts of northern India had been suffering toxic smog since November 8 although light rains around the city helped settle the smog in recent days.

India's Central Pollution Control Board said that despite the slight improvement in air quality from "severe" to "very poor" it was still regarded as extremely unhealthy to take part in the race.

Read more: Delhi is choking on its smog


Among the 35,000 people who signed up for the event was 2017 Boston Marathon winner Geoffrey Kirui as well as Olympic 10,000-metre gold medalist Almaz Ayana.

The event was launched in 2005 following the success of the Mumbai full marathon and features countless fundraising initiatives.

The Indian Medical Association advised against holding the event

The Indian Medical Association advised against holding the event

Major health risks

The Delhi High Court had given the go-ahead for the event after organizers made assurances that they had made arrangements to ensure the safety of runners. The Indian Medical Association, however, had asked for the event to be postponed, stressing that the dangers of running in heavy pollution included increasing the risk of asthma, bronchitis and heart attacks.

Watch video 01:29

New Delhi becomes the capital of air pollution

Many people presented as sick in hospitals across the region and many schools have had to close as well due to the high levels of smog.

Organizers set up several ambulances and deployed 75 doctors, 150 paramedics and 1,300 volunteers to six medical stations to deal with any health emergencies that may arise.

Measures to minimize pollution including suspending traffic and washing the route with a substance that absorbs particulate matter were also carried out in advance.

With a population of over 20 million, Delhi witnesses several days of spiking pollution and smog every winter.

ss/jm (dpa)


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