Shrestha wins Peace Marathon

Lumbini, March 12

Homlal Shrestha of Tribhuvan Army Club won the third Lumbini Peace Marathon here today.

Shrestha clocked two hours, 22 minutes and 36 seconds to complete the 42.195km race organised by and Adventure Sports Tourism Society to mark the day when Gautam Buddha returned home after attaining enlightenment. Gopi Chanda Parki of Nepal APF Club finished second with the timing of two hours, 24 minutes and 24 seconds, while Khagendra Bhat of TAC came third in 2:24:41.

With the victory, Shrestha got Rs 100,000, while Parki and Bhat earned Rs 75,000 and Rs 50,000 respectively. “I was a trail runner and started the marathon training two years ago. I am very happy to win the title at the birthplace of Gautam Buddha,” said Shrestha. The marathon started from Kudan, the place where Buddha met his father for the first time after the enlightenment, and went through Tilaurakot, Dohani before ending at the garden of Mayadevi temple.

Indian Army’s Tanka Pun, who hails from Myagdi, won the half marathon race with the timing of one hours, nine minutes and 49 seconds, while TAC duo Ramji Basnet (1:10:28) and Tikaraj Katwal (1:10:31) were second and third respectively. Top three athletes received Rs 50,000, Rs 35,000 and Rs 25,000 respectively. Likewise, local athlete Sunil Kurmi won the 5km race in 14 minutes and 21 seconds, while Teb Bahadur Chaudhary came second in 14:33 and Rakesh Lodh was third in 14:47.

A total of 55 athletes — including two each from China and United Kingdom, and one apiece from Spain, Italy and Jamaica — took part in the event which was held under the slogan of Following the Footsteps of Buddha.

Shikhar Pandey, Director of Adventure Sports Nepal, said the event named after the birthplace of Gautam Buddha would help to boost the tourism and open new avenue of sports tourism in Nepal. “It carries a huge meaning to the participants round the globe. We’ll be making it bigger in coming days,” said Pandey. “I hope Lumbini Peace Marathon will be a useful tool to publicise the birthplace of Buddha in the world.”