For 10-year-old Siddharth, his first 5K run turned out to be a memorable one. He jogged past his favourite animals, including chimpanzees and elephants, at the Arignar Anna Zoological Park (AAZP), early on Saturday, as part of the Vandalur Zoo’s Wild Run.
“From last night, he has been so excited about running inside the zoo,” his father Shankar, who drove him to Vandalur all the way from Kilpauk, said.
For the first time in the country, AAZP organised a run on its premises with the motto ‘Run to Conserve Wildlife’, as part of Wildlife Week celebrations.
Around 6 a.m., participants of all ages started trickling into the venue, and promptly finished their registrations and warmed up for the run. A total of 1,300 people took part in the event. Participants, clad in themed t-shirts provided by the organisers, ran, while stopping occasionally to catch glimpses of their favourite animals in enclosures along the route.
The chimpanzee enclosure turned out to be popular among participants. The children were overjoyed when they received their finisher medal with a paw and elephant calf engraved on it.
Senior officials from the Forest Department said the run was significant, as it was a silent and low-wastage event. “We ensured that the animals were not disturbed and the participants adhered to the rules,” a senior officer said. The proceeds will go towards the upkeep of the zoo.