GUWAHATI, April 1 - Thousands of people from across the Northeast today participated in the first international marathon of the region �Star Cement Bhaag North East Bhaag� in support of a �Clean India�.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal flagged off the run along with Industry and Transport Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary and Bollywood actress Bipasha Basu.
Several eminent people including singer JP Das, actor Pranjal Saikia, singers Manas Robin and Simanta Shekhar, swimmer Elvis Ali Hazarika, fitness guru Mahadev Deka, mountaineer Anshu Jamsenpa, writer Maini Mahanta, actors Gunjan Bharadwaj, Sunita Kaushik and Aimee Baruah, and actor-director Tridib Lahon were present on the occasion.
Runners from several countries participated in the run which had races in three categories � a Half Marathon, a 10-km run, and a 4-km run. Total prizes of Rs 69 lakh were given out. To encourage participation, 50 per cent discount on groceries was offered by Star Cement to all participants at the Khanapara ground immediately after the run.
Urging people to make cleanliness an integral part of their lifestyle, Sonowal said a clean, hygienic and healthy Northeast was not only important for development of the region but also for the whole country.
Actress Bipasha Basu, known for giving importance to having a fit body, said she loves the natural beauty of the Northeast and that the people of the region were comparatively more conscious about fitness and cleanliness than most parts of the country.
Abhishek Pal and Sanjivani Yadav came first in the male and female categories in the 10-km open run, while Gosa Bogale Seyoum and Gladys Ruto won the International Elite 21-km run. Srinu Bugatha and Sudha Singh won the Indian Elite 21-km run.
Star Cement Chairman Sajjan Bhajanka said the �Bhaag Northeast Bhaag� run will put Guwahati on the global map of marathon events.
Star Cement CEO Sanjay Gupta said the company has taken a step towards generating awareness about cleanliness and to enhance the Northeast�s image.