The 10K INTENCITY Run in Besant Nagar beach was a great experience for all. The runners were in for a big surprise when 10-year-old R Thamizharasi won the bronze after she decided not to compete in the Olympic Champions’ Run (12-16 years) and took part in the Women’s open category in 10K (a 10-kilometre) race.
“Initially, I thought that she was running in a different category, but then we realised that she was running in our category. She gave us a fright,” said Preenu Yadav who stood first clocking 40 m and 3 seconds on Thamizharasi’s feat of completing the run in 46 m 50 s.
Every participant was running for a cause — either for upholding gender equality or for saving the girl child or creating awareness for diseases like diabetes, autism and cancer. The revenue earned from the run would be routed back to the athletes through their charity partner Olympian Association of India.
“This is a circuit run and we have received tremendous response to this new concept. The enthusiasm here in Chennai was overwhelming and vindicates our initiative. Also, with this we aim to give back something to our Olympians as no one thinks about our former sportspersons. Hence the tie-up with the Olympian Association of India. We also have a 2km Run called the ‘Future Olympians’ and we make it a point that whichever place we travel to, Olympians are invited as chief guests to inspire and motivate young runners,” said Anand Menezes, an Olympian in the Sydney Games in 2000.
Armyman Ranjit Singh led the race in the men’s open with ample ease clocking 31 m 57 s while running enthusiast Sanjay Kumar Patel followed him 37 seconds later with localite Jegadheesan coming in third.
The men did not lag behind either on social issues. Piyush Jain had travelled all the way from Pune just for the marathon while 81 year-old Major General Ian Cardozo ran with a prosthetic limb. He believes his artificial leg does not affect his performance one bit.
“Representing India as an Olympian was one of my proudest moments. However, I realised that India isn’t highly represented at the world stage as we don’t have a running culture. Hence, I thought of the 10K INTENCITY Run and take running to different cities by offering runners a platform to realise their potential,” Menezes added while inviting the state runners for the next leg of the 10K INTENCITY Run in Kolkata on March 4.
In the children’s category (2K Future Champions Run), Nirmal Kumar and S Abhita bagged the championship. Sridhar Ananth & Nikita won over the couples who ran together on the 5K Fit Together Run....