They defied the weather and the cold on a Sunday morning and the hit the road. Participants of the 12th Hyderabad 10K Run, numbering a mammoth 10,000, demonstrated their grit in staying fit, while having a go at some fun too.

And while the Indian segment seemed content in looking at it as a run for fun-and-fitness, the foreign athletes – especially those from Africa – seemed to want to run to win. No wonder that it was a Nigerian who finally clinched the honours in the elite category.

David Kiptoo Kiprotich said he was delighted to be here.

“The atmosphere was fabulous and it was great fun and I would love to be back next year too,” he said even as he collected the winner’s purse of Rs. 10 lakh.

That the participants were from different strata of society was a reflection of the popularity of the event itself. Besides, it was also being held for a cause – to provide relief to five cyclone-affected villages of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, which were adopted by the United Way of Hyderabad.

Former All England champion Pullela Gopi Chand, who along with City Police Commissioner Anurag Sharma, flagged off the run at People’s Plaza, said it was great to see thousands respond to the event with so much of enthusiasm.

“You can feel a festive mood around the whole stretch. In a way, it shows we badly need these kinds of events,” he remarked.

Mr. Sharma too acknowledged that the overwhelming number of participants was a welcome sight. “It is always great to see so many people running,” he said.

Triple Olympian N. Mukesh Kumar and double Olympian Satti Geetha were also present on the occasion.

More In: Hyderabad