India recruits runners to deliver messages to monsoon victims

runners deliver messages in monsoon season

The Indian government wants all of its citizens to be informed for the upcoming elections on August 23. But the monsoons are not making that easy, knocking out telecommunication networks to certain, remote areas. Luckily, they have a solution: runners.

The government has recruited 15 runners to bring messages as far as 27 miles to constituencies that lack mobile phone connections and are not accessible by road, according to The Telegraph.

So to reach them, the Electoral Commission hired “able-bodied men” with proven athletic abilities to communicate with constituents. It won’t be an easy jog: the runners will be required to run in relays in the hilly terrain.

The runners are from these areas—which produce the best distance runners in the state, because the remoteness requires them to walk and run long distances regularly—so they are already familiar with the landscape.

The runners will be paid for their work, but a specific amount was not readily available.

A similar strategy was planned for the election in February, but was abandoned after telecommunication was deemed adequate enough for news to reach the constituencies.

Message runners in India are nothing new. According to The Telegraph, they date back to the 16th century, when the runners were employed by merchants to deliver commercial dealing news. They also delivered mail during British-Colonial rule.

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Israeli runner celebrates too early at the European Championships

Volha Mazuronak wins marathon, despite suffering with a nose bleed during the race

A version of this article originally appeared on Runnersworld.com