The 8th National Health Run organized by the Anti Narcotics Association will be held next Sunday, July 20 at the Galle Face Green from 7.30 a.m. The organizers expect more participation at the health run this year than in the previous years. The only difference in relation to the categories will be that the wheel chair round will not be held due to lack of participants.
The Co-ordinator, Ms. Manel Ellawela would like to inform all participants to call over at SLANA, on Kinsey Road, Colombo 8 on the 17th, 18th, 19th of July in order to collect their numbers between 9a.m. and 4 p.m.
This year, the categories listed are Open, Under 15, Over 50 and National. According to the organizers the categories are decided upon, on the number of participants. The route that will be taken by the older participants will begin from Galle Face Green, going on to D.R.Wijewardena Mawatha past Lake house, Hope house, then Sathutu Uyana, Town Hall, Vihara Maha Devi Park, Independence Square, Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo University, straight to the Galle road and along Galle road back to Galle Face Green. The junior group, Under 15 will turn off at Dharmapala Mawatha past the Public Library, Green Path, to the Galle road and back to Galle Face.
ASP Sundaralingam, City Traffic Police, said that no roads will be closed and that they will make sure that the motorists are not inconvenienced as a result of the run.
The run is organised by SLANA to raise awareness among the public on the evils of drug abuse. ASP Lucky Wijeyratna of the Police Narcotics Bureau said that arrests alone will not stop drug abuse. He said that awareness of this kind is very necessary to prevent youth from becoming addicts. Mr. Rohan Ameresekara from the Athletic Association said that the idea is not to have Ben Johnsons running but to show the importance of healthy competition at a time when drugs seem to be interfering in the sports field as well.
Mr.M. Abdul Cader explained that there will be several check points at the run and that all those who complete the race will receive a certificate of participation. " At least if they have reported at four check points." This year, a child who will be three years old on the day of the run ( July 20) has also sent in an applications for registration.
A cash prizeof Rs.10,000 and a trophy will be awarded to the first male and female contestant s who complete the race in the National and the Open categories. In the under fifteen category the first to complete the run will receive a prize of Rs.5,000 and a SLANA trophy. Altogether prizes to the value of Rs.150,000 will be handed out on the day of the run.
Those who come to simply watch and enjoy the run on the day will not be bored since all kinds of entertainment have been organised at Galle Face. Apart from that, several volunteers have offered free water, glucose, sponges etc. for the runners as well.
As to who the chief guest of the event will be has not yet been decided. In the past two years reigning Miss Worlds were there to flag off the run. The organizers assure this years choice of chief guest will be a pleasant surprise to everybody. Since the closing date for registration is already over, those who wish to send a last minute entry are requested to do so as soon as possible.
Speaking on the fight against the use of drugs, Kumar Nadesan, Director, SLANA stated that the danger of drugs surpasses the damage done to the individual using it. It affects the economy of the country when working-age youth are addicts, he said Ms. Dharshini Guniyangoda, Associate Director of SLANA said that the health run aims to support the UN day against illicit drugs and drug trafficking and raise public awareness by promoting private and public sector collaboration.
The event is sponsored by Hatton National Bank, Seylan Bank, Lions Club Colombo Orient, Lankadeepa and The Sunday Times.
Sandun Tharaka and Varuna Nimesha Gunewardena are two year 11 students participating in the Health Run this year. They both take part in track events in school, Susamyawardena Vidayalaya in Borella.
Both have participated in the runs of previous years. "I bumped into a policeman and fell last year and could not complete the run," Nimesha said.
He got to know of the event through friends and later introduced Sandun to the run. Both said that they are in support of the movement against drug abuse. But their reasons for participating in the health run are linked more to their sporting activities. "It is a challenge and we have a lot of fun along the way as well."
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