The commentators will regale attendees at the Airtel Half Marathon with anecdotes about runners

They bring athletics to your drawing room in a most enchanting style of broadcasting built over years of diligence. It is a skill honed by studying the subject, constantly evolving with their description of the participants, keeping the viewer glued to the screen.

Tim Hutchings and Rob Walker bring rich experience to their work as specialist on athletics, traversing the globe and describing some of the most exciting moments from the sport. Hutchings took part in the cross-country events for 10 years before taking to commentary.

“I have been doing it for 30 years now,” says the affable Englishman.

For Walker, it was the fascination to take to the mike and describe the sporting events that led to a career which many would like to emulate. Twelve years in television has created a niche for Walker in the world of broadcasting. “My debut was at the 2007 World Championships at Osaka,” he informs.

Hutchings and Walker, sought after commentators at all major world athletics meets, are in Delhi for the Airtel Half Marathon. Hutchings has been associated with the event since its inception in 2005. Walker is relatively new but excited and well-prepared. Their preparation involves reading about the city, its history and heritage, apart from gathering little known information on the athletes.

“It’s tough,” says Hutchings. “Especially the east African runners are not very forthcoming for many reasons. They are mostly shy and end up just giggling. It doesn’t make my job easy because, at such events, we have to keep the viewer engrossed by constantly feeding them information about the athletes.”

Walker, considered a versatile commentator, at ease with a marathon as with the 100m sprint, loves the long-distance races. “It gives you scope to talk about the athlete, the place and so many exciting things a viewer can relate with.”

Commentators like Walker and Hutchings add to the picture on the screen with their amazing stories, laced with anecdotes and personal experiences with the runners. “There are times when the runners on the screen are not from your country and we have to ensure we give some lovely stories to stop you from moving away from the television. That can be challenging,” observes Walker.

‘Read about favourites’

“The challenge,” insists Hutchings, “lies in adding that extra layer of knowledge and emotion to the event unfolding in front of your eyes. As a viewer, I want to know more and more about the champion who I am watching winning the race. The major part of our preparation, other than staying fit and fresh for the broadcast, is to read and read about the favourites.”

For those not wanting to step out early on Sunday to cheer the runners, it would be a good idea to plonk yourself in front of the television and enjoy the insightful description of the marathon by Hutchings and Walker, the two most respected men in the art of commentating.

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