Spearheaded by national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand and Arjuna Awardees Ashwini Nachappa and Malathi Holla, the run was aimed at raising funds for needy coaches and sports support staff in the country who have been struggling to make ends meet in the aftermath of the COVID-199 pandemic.
The participants were given a collective target of 3,84,400 kilometres — the distance between the earth and the moon, to be accomplished by July 21 to mark the 51st anniversary of man’s first landing on moon; but together, they all ended up covering the distance twice over, completing the first leg on July 6 and repeating that feat on July 18.
Over 14,000 runners from 15 countries had registered to contribute for this noble cause, amassing Rs. 14,00,000 in the process. IDBI Federal Life Insurance contributed an additional Rs. 5,00,000 taking the total funds raised to Rs. 19,00,000.
“I would like to congratulate all the runners for getting to the moon and coming back, covering a distance of over 9 lakh kilometres in just 30 days,” Gopichand said. “The commitment shown for their own health and for contributing to help those who have been hit by the coronavirus pandemic crisis is truly touching. I thank each of them from the bottom of my heart,” he added.
“Each and every runner who has contributed for the unsung warriors of Indian sport has shown that his or her heart beats for Indian sport,” Vighnesh Shahane, MD & CEO of IDBI Federal Life Insurance and a former Mumbai Ranji Trophy player himself, said.
Nagaraj Adiga, CMD of NEB Sports, said, “We are overwhelmed with the extremely positive response received from participants who were thrilled to be a part of this initiative. People enrolled their families, especially kids, to get into the habit of walking and running daily.”