Dhaka marathon | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 13, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 13, 2008

Dhaka marathon

"…Bangladesh is a nation of 150m people; the biggest nation never to have won an Olympic medal”. (BBC commentary on Beijing Olympics opening ceremony team parade, Fri. 08.08.08). Why? This year we have just six participants. It is good to be represented in Beijing and heartening to see our distinguished flag flying - but we need to win.
I have a dream: I am planning to organise a permanent annual marathon in Dhaka, which will take place every year into perpetuity. It will be the first mass participation sporting event in Dhaka and in Bangladesh. It will be a charity, totally non-profit, with all sponsorship revenue minus expenses going to charity, just like the London Marathon. The aim will be to get people running, fit, encourage healthy eating, become more charitable and generally encourage running in Bangladesh; both in the cities and in the countryside. I want to see a Bangladeshi boy, or a girl, running the marathon in a future Olympics and being on the podium in twelve years time!
The Dhaka Marathon charity will look for ways to empower people in Bangladesh. The charity will be the means to tackle inequality; the charity will challenge gender inequality and the charity will not impose western and/or capitalist values on the people of Bangladesh. It will be purely for the people of Bangladesh with Bangladeshis running the charity and the event. It will be universal; there will be no restrictions on who can participate except minimum age. All that would be required is that the entrant pays an entry fee, gets fit.
If any reader is seriously interested in supporting me in setting up the Dhaka Marathon, please get in touch. I am keen to hear from you. To set up a charity in Bangladesh I need at least seven people to sign the registration documents to set up the charity legally. Then we need an office address in Dhaka, constitute a board of directors and appoint a CEO. That candidate should be a local graduate ideally with a charity background in Bangladesh or an MBA with knowledge of charity or social entrepreneurship with strong communication skills in both Bengali and English.
The Dhaka marathon will be an event of national interest in Bangladesh and in sporting diary of the country. It will put Dhaka on the global map of marathon running; encourage tourism, fun running and sportsmanship. Together we can make a big difference for Bangladeshi long distance runners and raise a lot of money for Bangladeshi charities. It will also create employment.

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