Chennai, Aug 28: About 2,500 runners, including Beijing Olympics marathoner Surendra Singh have signed up for the professional runners 21.09 km Chennai marathon to be held here in aid of an NGO GiveLife Rs 70 lakh, Chennai Marathon on August 31.
The organisers Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi and Father Gasper Raj of cultural organisation 'Tamizh Maiyam' and title sponsor MARG industries group CMD R K Redy told newspersons here that a galaxy of personalities, including tennis icon Vijay Amritraj, K Srikkanth, Joshna Chinnappa, Deepika Pallikal, Mohammed Riaz, Dhanraj Pillai, Rajasekharan and film stars Surya, Arya, Jeeva and other celebrities from entertainment industry will participate in a seperate section 'Great Chennai City Run'.
Two other competitive sections for Veterans and those in wheel chairs would also be held seperately, they announced.
The donations raised through this ambitious event, which is also meant to promote sports culture among youth who are addicted to other entertainments like video games and remain indoors, would be given away for the development of underprivileged children adopted by GiveLife NGO, Kanimozhi said.
CMD of MARG group Mr Reddy said the Chennai Marathon is an important step in bridging the social inequality among the large sections of the people in the city.
''The city has achieved everything in terms of economic growth, culture and technological progress. But the large gap between the have's and have nots has to be bridged,'' he added.
The equal Prize money for Professional Chennai Marathon of Rs 10 lakh each for winner of men's and women's section and Rs 5 lakh for the runner up, makes it the third richest marathon in the world, Kanimozhi pointed out.
The marathon has not been made international as planned before, only to give a fillip to our professional national marathoners, Gasper Raj.
There would be a special cash prize for Tamil Nadu runners if they happen to emerge as winners in the professional section, in addition to the stipulated prize money, he also announced.