Well, it’s that time of the year again. The Bharti Airtel Delhi Half Marathon. It is one of the 10 half marathons in the world to be granted the highest Gold Label road race by the world governing body of athletics – IAAF.
So it’s no surprise that thousands of runners have already gathered up this year to participate in the 13th edition of one of the top half marathons in the world. But what’s surprising is the lack of importance shown for a more pressing issue - the smog.
Conditions in the capital have been chaotic, with Delhi and several parts of North India covered in a toxic smog since November 7.
The Indian Medical Association even called for the cancellation of the marathon but was written off with the event scheduled to carry on as planned. And despite conditions being dire, a record 35,000 runners have registered to take part in this years event. The question is, why?
It has been just a week since pollution levels Delhi plummeted. An Air Quality Index reading of up to 50 is considered “good” and up to 100 is considered “satisfactory”. A reading between 301 and 400 is ranked “very poor” on the index and above 400 is “severe”, which means the air is dangerously filled with pollutants. Delhi averages well above 300.
The Field caught up with Dr Ashok Mahashur, a veteran pulmonologist and chest physician, who laid out the raw details of what could happen to people taking part in such an event. And we can tell you, it’s not pretty.
Watch the interview here: