Submitted by admin on Tue, 06/27/2017 - 12:14

Vivek Singh, Joint Managing Director, Procam International talks about how charity has found its way into popular sporting activities like marathons



The concept of running for charity is not new or unique; it has been a catalyst for giving since the 1993 London Marathon, which was the first major race in support of a charity. Since then there has been an influx of charity runs across the globe. Be it London, New York, Chicago, Paris, Mumbai or Delhi, the mission is simple; raising awareness and funds for charities of choice. While this may not have always been the case, running is a sport that has carried a meaning larger than itself, even in its earliest form.

In the early civilizations, competitive racing was a part of various rituals, ceremonies, and even a means to honour heroes. Over time this changed, and the sport was used to declare freedom, and for peace. Today, charity has become the defining characteristic of distance running. At Procam International, we were inspired by these very marathons, and their ability to bring individuals together, motivating them to dedicate one day of their lives to a cause that is greater than them.

The Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon (SCMM) was born out of the idea to put Mumbai in the league of major international cities and to create a platform in India, where participants could run for fitness and for a charity of their choosing. A marathon that grew in leaps and bounds over the years to become Asia’s most prestigious marathon, the event provides NGOs with a platform to raise funds for a cause close to their heart and has impacted and improved the lives of many. During the marathon, we educate fundraisers every year on how to approach people when looking to raise funds for their charity. We are constantly looking to improve each edition of the race and try our best to find new ways where we can touch the lives of many more.

As a country with over a billion people, where a large section is in need of financial aid, there is a great need for charity outlets that are dedicated and trustworthy. Till a few years ago the main form of charity was to donate funds to places of worship, some of which would then be used in aid of different charities. This form of charity has functioned for as long as it has because citizens have a trust deficit with civil society, believing that a pact with God is their only way out .

SCMM provided an alternative form of charity. One that is transparent, and assures citizens that 100% of their collected funds are being put to use for a cause that they support, through the efforts of our philanthropy partner United Way Mumbai. It was our aim to restore citizens’ faith in civil society, and this change is noticeable when comparing the funds collected at the first SCMM in 2004 - Rs 1.44 crores, and the 2017 edition which collected over Rs 32.93 crores. This year 281 NGOs participated and benefitted from the marathon while 150 teams took part in the corporate challenge, which goes to show how the giving paradigm has grown over the years.

In fact, all our distance running events, the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, Tata Consultancy World 10K and Tata Steel Kolkata 25K have established themselves as large charity raising platforms with the above three events alone raising over Rs 67.7 crores amongst themselves. Today, SCMM is not just a sporting spectacle, but one imbued with kindness, harmony, passion and the desire to be a better self. It has become a movement.....a movement that brings our society together, instills a sense of pride amongst the citizens of this country, a movement that motivates you to be healthy and inspires your belief in humanity.



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