Running to raise awareness for mental health

KATHMANDU: As the whistle blew, a throng of people began running with all their strength and speed in the early morning of October 10 at Dasarath Rangashala, Tripureshwor. Most of them donned in pink and a few in white, with the names of their respective organisations, took part in the 9th Kathmandu Marathon Competition organised by Prosports.

Among the 978 participants, 33 people were running for a cause from Chhahari Nepal For Mental Health, an organisation working for people with mental illness. With an aim to raise public awareness about mental health issues, 28 people representing Chhahari Nepal were competing for 5-km Open, while five other representatives were competing for the half-marathon of 21 kilometres.

People with mental illness are not given importance in our society. The disease is usually hidden and the patients are stigmatised and discriminated for being mentally ill. “This is why we have been working for such people and here in the marathon we have been sponsoring some of the participants.

Taking part in such competitions is also a way to inform people about our cause,” informed Dr Chhatra Amatya, Chairperson of Chhahari Nepal For Mental Health.

Among the runners for Chhahari were from Everest Inn Group from the United Kingdom. “We are helping the organisation with our hospitality business in their funds. We were here in the Capital for the NRN Conference, so we felt like taking part in the marathon.

We are touched by the work that the organisation is doing for people with mental illness,” shared Pashupati Bhandari, Chairman of Everest Inn Group.

Several school children were taking part in the competition. Among them Prazesh Jung Thapa, a student of Class XII was happy to be a part of the marathon. “I have always been interested in taking part in such competitions and this is why I am here,” he shared. Another student Rachana Rana from Patan was there with her friends. “I am very excited to take part in the competition,” she shared.

Wheelchair racing was another excitement at the event.

All the winners for eight different categories were announced on the same day. They were awarded with cash prizes.