As Kenyan athlete John Wambua took the final step to emerge winner in the Chennai International Half Marathon on Sunday, the city found yet another stepping stone for nurturing its underprivileged children.
More than 70,000 people participated in the run, said Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj, founder, Tamil Maiyam.
The proceeds of the marathon will go to support underprivileged children under the GiveLife programme, said Member of Parliament Kanimozhi.
Enthusiasm among the all sections of people reigned supreme and transcended geographical, social, economic and gender barriers despite rain trying to play spoilsport. Tim McCurry, one of the participants from the United States said, “The race was great. The people wonderful.”
D.Sekar, a third year student of Physical Education of M.D.T.Hindu College in Tirunelveli, who participated in the 7 km category said, “Participating in the run is my contribution towards making thousands of underprivileged children enjoy education.”
Hari Krishna, a participant, after a tiring run said the marathon had given him more energy in contributing his mite for the welfare of poor children.
The half-marathon started from the War memorial and covered Kannagi statue, Foreshore Estate signal, Adyar park, TVK bridge and Eliott’s beach before coming back the same way to finish at Anna Square, spanning 21.09 kilometres.
The marathon stresses the importance of freedom, grit, compassion, motivation and being a beautiful community, said Fr. Gaspar.
The second prize in the International category was won by Daniel Cherviyot of Kenya. Tewodros Shiferau of Ethiopia came third. “The marathon is an opportunity to see how Chennai cared for its weaker sections,” he said.
Madasu Srinivas Rao of Andhra Pradesh won the first prize in the wheelchair category.
D.Mariappan and B.Govindan got the second and third prize respectively in the same category. “This race would be yet another opportunity to tell the world that more focus on the ability of the persons with disability was required,” said Mr.Mariappan.
The first three places among women in the wheelchair category were won by Deepika, J.Anuradha and A.Baby.
Nelly Jepkurui of Kenya won the first prize among women in the international category. Rose Kosgei of Kenya and Ayelu Lemma bagged the second and the third prize.
Deepchand Saharan of Rajasthan won the first prize among men in the national category. Arvind Kumar Yadav of Uttar Pradesh and Ajai Kumar Patel of Uttar Pradesh won the second and third prize respectively.
Pampa Chanda of West Bengal won the first place among women in the National category. Sukanya Mal of Uttar Pradesh and Rameswari of Kerala came second and third respectively.
The first three places at the state level were won by P.Nagendra Rao, P.Loganathan and Ezhil Nilavan.
This marathon has united diverse people to run together in order to create awareness on issues such as global warming, water conservation, child labour and domestic violence, said A.Sivakavi Bharathi, a college student from Tirunelveli.