Run among the skies: Balloon Run Marathon highlights TNIBF 2024

Cartoon-themed balloons galore
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The Balloon Run Marathon is the highlight of this year’s Tamil Nadu International Balloon Festival (TNIBF). Being an annual event in India, it has seen a significant increase in footfall over the last few editions. In its ninth edition this year, the festival is expected to draw at least 40,000 visitors, indicating a shift in destination tourism.

“The marathon will begin early morning when the other balloons take off. Therefore, it will be a unique experience to witness,” said Benedict Savio, TNIBF’s founder and Global Media Box’s event director. The marathon will be divided into 10 km, 5 km, and 3 km. It will take place on January 14, and the winners will have the opportunity to have a hot air balloon ride with a commemorative medal and t-shirt. Anyone who registers on the website can take part in the run.

The ninth edition will also concentrate on enticing toddlers to have fun surrounded by cartoon-shaped balloons of Twin Frogs, Eli the Elephant, and Duck-shaped Balloons. 

More than ten hot air balloons from the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam will be displayed for spectators. “Since this is an aircraft event, these are handled by the Civil Aviation Authority and Airport Authority of India. The events function with their coordination. Every year, we make sure we are standardising the testing and taking off the balloons under the DGCA standards,” Benedict explains. 

Spectators can also capture their enjoying the blues moments with a Tethered Balloon Ride. The airship will be safely anchored to the ground while it will float within the 60-80 ft range. 

Every year, during the Pongal weekend, the festival spreads its wings to elevate the celebration to another level. “Another reason we also chose to conduct the event during this specific weekend is because the balloons require calm weather to float in the sky,” Benedict said. 

The visitors can also partake in an adventurous helicopter ride to enjoy the serene greens of Pollachi. Apart from these, a three-day shopping expo, kids’ gaming space, and musical evenings will be in store for this edition’s festival.  

After partnering with the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation the previous year, the festival has been recognised as the main event in the tourism calendar and the only annual balloon carnival in India. 

From January 12 to 16 at the Tamil Nadu International Balloon Festival. Visit or follow @tnibf on Instagram for more details. 

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