Bengaluru-based Go Heritage Runs is making heritage fun with run vacations

Having innovated the concept of ‘runcations’, Go Heritage Runs, an award-winning series of scenic, fun runs, is organised through the year across India, at heritage locations such as Hampi, Hyderabad, Khajuraho, Ooty, Udaipur, Warangal, Badami, Halebidu, Srirangapatna, and Bidar.

A self-confessed history buff and runner, Ajay Reddy, founder of Go Heritage Runs, was also part of the founding teams of Hyderabad Marathon and GoUNESCO, a group that challenged people to visit the maximum number of UNESCO-certified heritage sites in the country in a calendar year.

A suggestion by a team member at GoUNESCO was the inspiration for Go Heritage Runs. In 2014, Ajay and his team of four began by conducting test runs in Hampi and Bidar before chalking out six heritage runs for 2015.

“The idea is to promote heritage runs where runners can participate with their families. These are not races, but fun runs where everyone can walk or run through the trail, taking in views of historical sites,” he explains.

Today, their runs cover 14 picturesque destinations, including Hampi, Srirangapatna, Badami, Bidar, Halebidu, and Coorg in Karnataka; Khajuraho, Pench, Orchha, and Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh; Ooty in Tamilnadu; Hyderabad and Warangal in Telangana; and Udaipur in Rajasthan.

Have fun while you run

Their runs are not races and are never timed. Participants may walk if they want to! They are great for families, groups of friends, or couples, and participants get to bond with a supportive enthusiasm. In fact, their runs have witnessed participants as young as three years and those young at heart at 85 years.

“Our runs are meant to create a holistic experience for the runner. We weave in as many aspects of arts, crafts, culture and heritage, as possible. Even our medals are inspired by the local craft, and can be collected as souvenirs from a memorable run. Every design aspect of our runs is well-thought-out and meant to depict the essence of the heritage destination,” Ajay says.

Using WhatsApp for community building

The Go Heritage Runs team uses WhatsApp extensively for community building. WhatsApp groups come in handy to assist their runners in planning travel and accommodation for the runs.

At every run, they create a group for each city and send an invite link to registered runners where they can e-meet other runners, share travel information, and coordinate among themselves. They have also published the WhatsApp Business number on their website, which makes it easier to answer customer queries.

The app also comes in handy for information or promotions. Runners and website visitors can sign up for updates via WhatsApp. Runners also get automated welcome messages and run announcements via the app. Go Heritage Runs also posts inspiring WhatsApp stories to engage and pique runners’ interests.

Take a runcation

These runs see people of all ages and stages take a vacation like no other.

“This is one way to impress our vast heritage on your kids. We frequently arrange additional local experiences like bouldering in Hampi, watching a dance performance in Warangal, or walking the beautiful heritage town of Ooty to make our run a great vacation So what are you waiting for? Come to our runs,” Ajay signs off.