KAPILVASTU, March 1: Homlal Shrestha of Nepal Army has won the title of 4th Lumbini Peace Marathon organized in Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha on Thursday.
Shrestha finished the marathon with the timing of 2 hrs 54 minutes and 53 seconds. Similarly, Nepal Army athletes Hari Prasad Rimal and Khagendra Bhatta stood in the second and third position with the timing of 2:57:24 and 3:03:40, respectively.
The spiritual marathon began from Kudan, the place where Buddha is believed to have met his parents for the first time after his enlightenment. The trail passed through Buddhist heritage sites like Tilaurakot Palace, Niglihawa, Banganga River and concluded at the Lumbini Sacred Garden.
Shrestha received Lumbini Ashoka Peace Prize of Rs 100,000, medal and certificate. While the first runner-up received Kapilvastu Xuen Xang Peace Prize of Rs 75,000, and the second runner-up received Mayadevi Garden Uthant Prize of Rs 50,000.
The marathon was organized jointly by Lumbini Peace Marathon Pvt Ltd and Adventure Sports Nepal. It was supported by a number of organizations including Lumbini Area Development Trust, Nepal Tourism Board, Vaidya’s Organization of Industrial and Trading Houses (VOITH), Hotel Kasai, Nepal Chamber of Commerce and Buddha Air, among others.
A total of 94 athletes from Nepal as well as India, China, Hong Kong, New Zealand, USA, Germany, South Korea and Sweden, among others, participated in the marathon.
Tirtha Pun of Indian Army won the half marathon (21 km) category of Lumbini PEACE Marathon. Similarly, Nepal Army athletes Ramji Basnet and Tikaraj Katwal finished the race as first runner-up and the second runner-up, respectively. While the winner took home Rs 50,000, the first and second runner-ups became richer by Rs 35,000 and Rs 25,000, respectively.
5 KILOMETERS RUN
In the five-kilometer-run organized for students, Sunil Thapa finished first with the timing of 17 mins and 5 seconds, while Sanjay Rai (17:07) and Satendra Yadav (17:24) finished second and third, respectively. While the winner took home Rs 10,000, first and second runner-up received cash prize of Rs 7,000 and Rs 5,000, respectively.
Bhikkhu Maitri of International Bouddha Society gave away Lumbini Ashoka Peace Prize, while Chief Monk of the Chinese Monastery presented Kapilvastu Xuen Xang Peace Prize. Similarly, Chief Monk of Myanmar Monastery gave away Mayadevi Garden Uthant Peace Prize, while Chief Monk of the Chinese Monastery.
Speaking at the program, Bikram Pandey, chairman of Lumbini Peace Marathon, said that the main objective of the marathon is to promote Lumbini-Kapilvastu region at national and international level through a spiritual sport. “We are very encouraged with the athlete footfalls. We are hopeful that the event will expand further in the coming years,” he added.
Representatives of Lumbini Area Development Trust, Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents, Adventure Sports Society Nepal, among others were present in the closing ceremony.
On the eve of Lumbini Peace Marathon, a three-day cycle rally was organized from Kathmandu to Lumbini. Named the Great Buddhist Trail, the cycle rally saw a participation of around 50 cyclists. The event started from Swoyambhu and concluded at Lumbini.