Photo credit: Ximena Prugue
This guest post is by Ximena Prugue, winner of the 2011 UNEP/TreeHugger World Environment Day blogging contest.
After so much anticipation and celebration, World Environment Day 2011 in India had finally arrived. Along with the events registered around the world, I was celebrating at the TCS World 10K Marathon in Bangalore, India (Yes, we know that 10K is not a marathon but nobody was really politically correct about it anyway). The night before upon our arrival to Bangalore, there was a cookout at the ITC Windsor Hotel with the participating athletes, sponsors, UNEP's Achim Steiner, Minister Ramesh, Bollywood celebrities Rahul Bose and Gul Panag, and supermodel Angela Johnson.The tradition is to have the sponsors cook for the athletes, and the athletes would choose the best cook. Even though I had to fight my way through a moshpit of photographers, it was fun to watch Steiner's excitement when he won the cookout with Rahul Bose. Who would've pegged Executive Director Steiner as a Top Chef?!
The next day for World Environment Day, I started the day bright and early in Bangalore with a 4:30 AM wake up call to make it to the TCS 10K World Marathon by 6:30 AM. Forget my morning coffee—the moment I arrived, it was a party! What better way to jump-start the morning for WED than a party! Despite the jet lag and a lack of sleep combination, it was hard to drag your feet with the amount of energy in the air. Hosted by event ambassador Constantine Tomescu, a Bejing Olympics marathon gold medalist, and Tata Consulting Services, the stadium was filled with runners, celebrities, and spirit.
Music was blasting, people were pumped, and the atmosphere was electrifying. Listening to Daft Punk, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, and Pitbull, I almost felt like I was back in Miami and had to refrain myself from busting out my best moves. Bollywood celebrities Rahul Bose and Gul Panag also participated in the run, making use of their previous carbo-loading at the cook off.
The list of races included: World 10K, Open 10K, Corporate 10K Challenge, Majja Run (5.7K), Senior Citizens Run (4K), and the Wheelchair Event (4K). The World 10K was only for international and national elite athletes. The citizen run filled my adorableness quota for the month with hundreds of silver heads power walking through the finish line. Their shirts read, "embrace aging" and it was so nice to witness their zest for life in such a beautiful event at their age.
Photo credit: Ximena Prugue
The Majja run was a short run where everyone wore costumes. A young boy in the picture above won the most eco-friendly costume contest where he made an Earth-suit out of what looked like paper-mache. The boy next to him made a jail-cell replica atop a trash can, and I'd be lying if I told you why the other guy has a bunch of Indian money glued to his body for a costume. Either way, you can't help but admire the enthusiasm.
There truly is no spirit and national pride like India's when it comes to events like these. The Open 10K has a jaw-dropping 13,500 participants in the run, a feat Corporate America could only dream of. It was just an endless amount of people stepping onto the track and out into the streets. So many groups had their own t-shirts in certain identifying colors making the stadium seats look like a beautiful rainbow of people all shouting and waving their hands like they just won the World Cup. The TCS 10K World Marathon is a prime example of an unmatched enthusiasm of the Indian people. Apathy doesn't seem to be a problem, and they just really know how to have a good time.
The people of India have the right amount of gusto to create a green economy for their country; they just need a green brick road to follow (cough cough green policy by the government) and a chance to make a change. Maybe if I lend my copy of Field of Dreams to Ramesh, he'll learn that "If you build it, they will come." I hope that the party of World Environment Day doesn't stop today, but continues throughout the year just as strong as it started. After the party is the after-party, right?
Read more about World Environment Day:
World Environment Day 2011: First Impressions & Second Chances in India
Moving Towards A Green Economy at World Environment Day
World Environment Day Festivities Kick Off In Delhi: Reforestation Projects & A Great Green Haat