'Lahore Marathon likely to set new benchmark'

Dec 25 - 31, 2006

Marathon on January 14th would set off a hectic year-long programme of marathon races around the world, says Ladbrooke, the renowned Race Director, now on a third consecutive assignment to supervise the elite sporting event in Pakistan.

Ladbrooke, the Scottish Race Director of the 3rd International Lahore Marathon 2007, who was in Pakistan last week on a brief visit once again heads a team of eminent racing officials to supervise and finalise all technical matters of the race. His name has become almost synonymous with the race here and the affable and stocky Ladbrooke is by now a familiar figure among the local sporting circles and marathon organisers.

Accompanied by his equally popular Assistant Race Director Rupinder Singh, he spent two busy days in Lahore holding discussions with local officials and organisers and carrying out the essential route survey for the race. Both of them will be back again at least ten days ahead of the event to take charge of their assignment. Ian has a Diploma in Sports Psychology 2001 and his early schooling was in Finham Park School, Coventry 1971-1978. His Support Team which is in the process of finalisation includes Hugh Jones, Secretary, AIMS (Association of International Marathons), Bill Reynolds, Start/Finish Director, London Marathon, 1999 - 2004, Gavin Lightwood, Director, 10 km Course Director, Edinburgh Marathon and Site Manager, European Cross Country and Tim Hutchins, Elite Coordinator London /TV Commentator, London & Mumbai Marathons.

Ian has garnered many distinctions including Great Britain Marathon Team Manager, IAAF Registered Athletes Representative, 2001-2004, Registered with Athletics Kenya as Coach & Manager, 1998 to date and UK Athletics Level 4, Senior Coach Marathon Running. He has been the Elite Manager for both Pune International Marathon and Bangalore 10km, May 2007.

Ian was also the Assistant Race Director of Ras Al Khaima Half Marathon, February 2007, Race Director, Half Marathon 2006, Hanoi, Event Director, Half Marathon 2005/2004, Edinburgh, Elite Athlete Director, Half Marathon 2005, Delhi, Race Director, Lahore International Marathon 2005-2007, Elite Coordinator & Technical Consultant, Toronto Marathon 2005, Elite Coordinator, Pune Marathon 2005, Elite Director, Mumbai Marathon 2004, Race Director, Edinburgh Marathon 2004, Elite Coordinator, Beirut Marathon 2003 to date, Technical Advisor, Beirut Marathon 2003/2005, Elite Coordinator, Istanbul Marathon 2002 to date, Technical Director, Liverpool 10k 2002 to date, Race Director, Abu Dhabi Half Marathon 2002/2004, Elite Coordinator, Pyong Yang Marathon 2001-2004 and Elite Director/Consultant, Dubai Marathon 2001-2003.

Ian Ladbrooke also runs Edge Fitness UK & Ethical Athletics Ltd., the two companies are involved in athletics and fitness training such as coaching top sportsmen and women, aiding international events (road running) and charities in sporting ventures, working as athletics agent to Kenyan and European athletes, organizing large athletics events and many more areas. In an interview before his departure, Ian Ladbrooke, spoke about the coming event and his earlier visits expressing his special bond, which he has developed with Pakistan and Pakistanis.

"I always look forward to my Pakistan visits and enjoy my stay among the wonderful people here," he said. "I have never felt a stranger and the city of Lahore has so much to offer to make it very special," he is quick to add. Then turning to the race he said, "Although the marathons are now a year long activity around the world, Lahore Marathon 2007, is the first significant event of the year. Apart from heralding the 'Visit Pakistan Year 2007' it will also set off the international marathon calendar of the year." Talking of the current year, he said the last significant race was on 10th December at Honolulu, preceded by the Pune Marathon on November 6. The hectic calendar of marathons after Lahore event sets off followed by Mumbai Marathon and Dubai Marathons in the same month (January) followed by Hong Kong (March) and in other major cities of Europe, Africa, Asia and North America. Ladbrooke during his stay also met with officials of the Athletic Federation (AFP) and others to discuss various matters regarding the coming marathon race related to its preparations.

He also participated in the first full-scale meeting headed by District Nazim Mian Amer Mahmood and Chairman Task Force of the Chief Minister Ghouse Akbar, besides holding in-depth discussion with the Event Managers, Publicis. Asked about his views on the coming race, he was quite hopeful that given the present ideal conditions and the top quality of the expected elite runners, the 3rd International Lahore Marathon is likely to return a better timing than the earlier two races. He also expects a much better performance from local competitors to improve their pervious record. Other than that, he also expects the 3rd edition to be a much bigger, much better and more efficiently organised event than the earlier two races.

This optimism is based on the experience gained from the past races and lessons learnt to plug any weak areas.


A renowned Indian athlete, coach and sports organiser, Rupinder Singh, considers marathon running, the key to solving many sporting and social problems. In an interview Rupinder Singh talked about the many-splendoured benefits accruing from marathon running which had been introduced in Pakistan since Lahore started staging the Marathons two years back.

The Delhi-based Indian sports organiser was in Lahore last week on a brief visit in connection with the launch of the 3rd Lahore International Marathon 2007. Rupinder has been the Assistant Race Director and Race Referee for the third consecutive year and is a key figure in the success the event has enjoyed. Rupinder's own athletic background is impressive. With a Diploma in Sports Communication, Loughborough University, UK, 1987-88, Rupinder has organised and coordinated races in Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Tamil Nadu, New Delhi, Pune, Chennai, Switzerland and an International Grand Prix Meet, 1989 -1995, where world class athletes like Carl Lewis, Sergey Bubka, Michel Johnson, Evelyn Ashford, Said Aouita, Steve Ovett etc. participated. He has also conducted weekly road races for children since 1985 and is an established Film Producer and Commentator for Atlanta Olympics 1996, Hiroshima Asian Games 1994, Inside Olympics 1992, Bracing for Barcelona 1992 and Star Sports/TWI.

With an outstanding track record of an international athlete, sports organiser and a coach, he has not only been associated with many big events in India but has also coached groups of school children and upcoming athletes both here and in India. He was extensively involved with a number of school children during his two earlier visits in 2005 and 2006 and is always ready to give advice to young and budding runners.

"You inculcate the love of athletics in the youngsters," says Rupinder and in just a few years you will see the rewards. Rupinder is now a familiar and popular figure in Pakistan and will be back soon in about a fortnight, ahead of the Lahore Marathon scheduled for Sunday 14th January. Along with a team of top notch race officials Rupinder will assist in giving final touches to the coming mega event. Rupinder said marathon running though relatively new in Pakistan, has already taken firm roots through the two marathons held here.

He believes that running is an ideal recipe for health and fitness and it did not cost anything. According to him fitness was paramount for all sports and as such running was ideal to improve stamina and fitness so essential in all games as well as in every day life of all citizens. Rupinder said, marathons have unleashed a new culture of its own where huge number of people runs together to create a feeling of unity.

Apart from the obvious social and health benefits, Pakistan can improve its standards bettering the race timings with each race.

He said, "We should all emulate the worthy example set by athletes from such countries like Kenya and Ethiopia, who have shown the way to others by producing world class athletes." Rupinder also forecast the 3rd Lahore Marathon would create new and better timings in all categories, including improved timings from Pakistani runners.