Over 4,000 marathoners, over 2,000 children, some kilometres to tread and one cause.

The third edition of the ‘Dawn to Dusk’ marathon, flagged off from IIT-Madras on Sunday morning, received a resounding response. And, it was children wearing their marathon tags with their parents’ phone numbers written on it, who took centre stage.

From a 500 metre-run for children below eight years, to a 42-km run for adults, the marathon founded by Neville J. Bilimoria, who also participated on Sunday, has seen a leap in the number of participants. The proceeds from it will go to Bal Sanjeevani Cerebral Palsy Rehabilitation Centre, which provides therapy services and facilities for less privileged children with cerebral palsy.

According to the organisers, close to 6,300 people participated in the run, of which close to 2,200 were children. While some ran by themselves, others were accompanied by their parents

As marathons spanning different distances were being flagged off one by one, five-year old T. Harita and her seven-year old brother were getting ready for their first marathon experience. “This run has been organised for a cause. Instead of taking them for a picnic on Sunday, I brought them here,” said Anand Prasad Reddy, their father.

Children from Saranalaya Children Home had been practising almost for two weeks for the marathon, said N. Sundar, its secretary. Students from close to 25 schools participated in Sunday’s event, according to a press release.

While the kid’s run was supported by the Chennai Trekking Club, the cycling event in which close to 400 people participated was supported by the Tamil Nadu Cycling Club, the press release said.

Actors Karthi Sivakumar and Arvind Swami, former Indian tennis players Vijay and Anand Amritraj were among those present at the flagging off. Mr. Swami also took part in the marathon.

More In: Chennai | News