A potpourri of participants from sinewy professional athletes to wheelchair-bound participants and senior citizens to ordinary fitness enthusiasts were all part of the third edition of the Sunfeast World 10K Run Bangalore 2010.
Thousands of people, who had assembled as early as 7.30 a.m. at the Kanteerava Indoor Stadium, where the marathon kicked off, braved the rising humidity and mercury levels. Even as international, national and the “Majja” runners endured the weather, senior citizens and wheelchair-bound participants took it sportingly.
Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, his Ministerial colleagues, R. Ashok and Katta Subramanya Naidu, Mayor S.K. Nataraja and Police Commissioner Shankar Bidari were present at the inauguration. However, Saturday's air crash in Mangalore cast its shadow on the show organised by Procam International.
Celebrities, including actor Pooja Gandhi, former Miss India Gul Panag, actor Rahul Bose and sport star Pankaj Advani, all ran for a cause, for charity. And, the “costume competition” provided the colour and tang to the event.
Traffic along the route of the Run appeared well controlled and no complaints of blocks in the arterial routes were reported.
“This is an area which has improved over last year... and the other is the course itself,” said race director Hugh Jones from the U.K. “The event itself was a heady mix of energy, enthusiasm and fun,” said a first-time runner who participated in the “Majja” run and prided in her effort of 30.3 minutes for the 5.6-km distance.
Kenya's Titus Mbeishie, despite the searing heat, ran an impressive 00:27.54 seconds which was just off the event record of 00:27:51 seconds set by Eritrean Zersenay Tadese in the inaugural year (2008) among men and Yimer Wude of Ethiopia (00:31:58 seconds) among women.
Despite the toned down celebrations, the runners vowed to come back again... and make it sweeter.
Senior citizens were attired in yellow T shirts while people with disability, who had arrived here from different parts of the country, wore red T shirts.
M.V. Reddy, a wheelchair user, said, “I am excited to be part of this. This shows that we can equally match with the others.”
Prem Singh, another person on a wheelchair, said, “I have come from Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centre, Pune, to participate in this marathon.”
Krishnachar Rangan, a senior citizen, said he was thrilled on completing the race. “As an elderly person I feel proud of it and wish to continue the same in the coming years.”
Vasanthi Srinivas (60), asenior citizen from Hanumanthnagar, said, “A programme like this should be organised monthly once rather than once a year. This brings energy and freshness in our life.”
For Selvie Manoj, general manager of Child Rights and You (CRY), the Run was a way to garner support for children's right to education.
Various non-governmental organisations such as Oxfam, Association of People with Disability, Harmony for Silvers Foundation were among those who participated.
They used the opportunity to raise awareness for their respective causes by displaying banners and shouting slogans.
Aruna N., an athlete, was full of enthusiasm as she was participating in the Run for the first time. “I come here everyday (Kanteerava Indoor stadium) to practice running and I decided that the marathon would be an ideal event to check my time (time taken to complete the run).”
The event had also attracted middle-aged persons from different parts of the country. “I came from Mumbai just to run. I have run in Delhi and Mumbai. It is something I look forward to. I also want to motivate my son,” said Sanay Hemady, COO at a radio station.
“I ran for the love of it. The last 3 km was hard, but still fun. I ran with my sons,” said Sangeetha Muthanna, an interior designer and one of the many woman runners. Other women, including Nethra, an IT professional, said, “I like running. The arrangements were good. The run was good, they could have probably kept the water cool though.”