19,000 participate in Sabarmati marathon
Nearly 19,000 runners gathered at the Vallabh Sadan in Sabarmati riverfront on early Sunday morning. Undeterred by the chilly cold winds, participants of all age group, both male and female, participated in the fourth Sabarmati marathon that was flagged off by Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Quite similar to his previous year's address, Modi boosted morale of the participants and congratulated them in his short opening address before he flagged off the marathon. He said that with Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Surat and Rajkot organising marathon each year, Gujarat has made its place in the list of over 500 cities across the world where such annual events are being organised.
Calling the large participation in the marathon as a victory in itself, Modi said, "Some people might say competition is all about winning but I would say to take part and join an event like this is a victory in itself. Such occasions integrate an entire city. "Jab kadam milte hain to mann milte hain aur jab mann milte hain maksad aasani se prakat hota hai (When we match footsteps we can match minds and when we have similar minds then it becomes easy to achieve the target)," he added.
Though the number of runners was a little less than what was expected by the organisers Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), they expressed contentment with the response.
"Keeping in mind the Visa issue faced by international runners this time that resulted in a slight decline in their participation, the number of 19,000 is not at all bad," said civic body Commissioner Guruprasad Mohapatra who along with Ahmedabad Mayor Meenaxi Patel and former mayor Asit Vora was also present on the occasion.
As many as 17,766 registrations were made till the last date, while nearly 1,500 on the spot registrations were recorded in the morning under various categories of full marathon, half marathon, dream run and physically challenged. The maximum participation with 15,000 runners was under the dream run category. There was an almost equal participation from male and female categories. A total prize of Rs 78 lakh was awarded to 140 winners under various categories.