Chiranjeevi flags off the Run but the zest is missing
HYDERABAD: Shrugging off their Sunday morning languor, a few hundred Secunderabadis showed enough spirit to gather in front of the old War Memorial near the Parade grounds and run for their 200-year-old city.
But the enthusiasm faded once megastar Chiranjeevi and a few other stars of the big screen left the venue after flagging off the runners.
Some energetic souls ran the full length but the numbers, by the time the Secunderabad Run ran around Sikh Village, Paradise, S.D. Road and returned to Parade Grounds, dwindled to half of what was there in the beginning.
The organisers a few days ago had said that they were expecting 10,000 participants. The expectations dipped to 5,000 on Saturday and on Sunday, hardly half of them made it. The registrations could show much more because there were many who gleefully accepted the free T-shirts and caps, jostled against one another in a frenzied crowd while waving at Chiranjeevi, and then, just walked away.
Chiranjeevi, for his part, was "overwhelmed" by the response of the youth to the Run. The megastar said he was happy the city was in young and safe hands.
Down memory lane
"My affinity with Secunderabad goes way back to the mid-70s. This was in fact the first big city I ever saw. I came to this very place, the Parade grounds, as a NCC cadet from West Godavari district in preparation for the Republic Day Parade at New Delhi," he said.
"The first high of seeing city life from close quarters has stayed with me ever since. After that when I entered the film field and the Telugu film industry shifted base from Chennai, this city has become my home," he said amid applause.
Actors Ravi Teja and Anoushka badminton player Pullela Gopichand along with MCH and HUDA officials, too, were present to flag off the run but most of them went missing once the runners set out.
A couple of hours later, a vintage bike rally organised by the Deccan Heritage Automobile Association presented a few captivating moments for two-wheeler enthusiasts.