Marathons in India – Sport or Marketing Gimmick ?

Indeed, the Marathon, which has always been a global sport to test a person’s endurance, determination and mettle, has slowly but surely made its mark in India in the last four to five years. Some Companies have helped the cause of the sport by making sure it is held in the major hubs of the country each year, every year. Indian runners rub shoulders with some of the greatest names in the sport when the latter come to India to participate in these mega-events. But the question remains: Are Marathons considered as a serious sport in the Nation, or are they just seen as a Marketing gimmick, and a way to gain more sponsors and net more money?


The answer is probably somewhere in the middle, and though many may have looked at the sport from a purely financial standpoint when it took off in India, it isn’t so anymore. Here we look at the argument in detail:


Today, more and more youngsters and sportspeople are willing to participate in the Marathon races. Some do it out of joy, others join out of peer pressure, some others want to challenge themselves, then there are those who look at it as a sort of fitness test, and then there are the serious runners.

Whatever the case, the numbers have continued to burgeon and swell, and more and more people have joined the sport. This is a testament to its draw, and a point in its favour that it is much more than just a gimmick to the participants.


This may seem counter-intuitive to the point being made, but the fact that the sport has seen a rise in sponsorships as well as marketing and advertising revenue is a testament to the fact that its draw today is greater than it was ever before.

With the Standard Chartered Marathon in India raking in major numbers – both crowd wise and monetarily, as well as Radio City and the like ready to tie up with numerous organizations which are just starting off with Marathons in the country (though even at the start they are drawing in huge crowds).


The numbers never lie, and here they are showing a positive story. With every Marathon, the number of people interested and participating is rising; not only the runners, but also volunteers. With serious money in the industry, Sports Management companies have seen that this is a case where sport and profit are coinciding perfectly.

Yes, there are a lot of marketing activities carried out around the sport, as well as tremendous sponsorship and advertisement deals to grab eyeballs, but the heart of the matter is that the only reason companies are willing to pay huge amounts for these activities is because the people are interested in the sport, proving that the sport is on an upward trend and greatly rising in the country. Marathons here thus go beyond just being a marketing gimmick, instead, the fact that they are drawing in such attention and money goes on to prove that they are being seriously recognized as a sport by those who matter most of all: The people.

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  1. Marketing and the advertisement world have taken a huge leap. The involvement of the public to win over the ideas have further given a birth to new ideas. Marathon as a part of this strategy seems to be one such emergence of the brains of the marketing experts. Looking for the sponsors, making money and generating the numbers yet calling it for a noble cause have involved the social work efficiently. I feel there is no harm in this kind of activity till the basic essence is maintained.


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