Thiruvananthapuram: Heralding the arrival of the 35th National Games to the state after a gap of 28 years, thousands of people from all sections of society today took part in the historic marathon 'Run Kerala Run' across the state.
Giving a boost to the spirit of the run, cricket maestro Sachin Tendulkar, goodwill ambassador of the Games, took part and ran for about 200 metres in the state capital as part of the event, which was officially flagged off by Governor P Sathasivam.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and his cabinet collegues Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, V S Shivakumar, P K Kunhalikutty accompanied Sachin in track suits.
Speaking at a public meeting later after the culmination of the run at nearby Central Stadium, Tendulkar wanted people of Kerala to extend complete support and solidarity to sportspersons coming to participate in the National Games.
"The run is a fantastic initiative by the Kerala government. I hope to see the same response and enthusiasm in the coming National Games also, which the state hosts after a gap of 28 years," Tendulkar said.
"This kind of energy and support from well wishers is significant for every sportsperson.I hope you will extend the same energy and support, which you gave to the Kerala Blasters team, to sportspersons participating in the National Games also," he said.
Billed as the biggest mass run ever held in the country, sportspersons, film stars, cultural personalities,politicians, government employees, teachers and students lined for the event not only in the state capital, but in the entire length and breadth of the state.
The run was organised to express the state's unity and solidarity with the January 31-February 14 National Games.
Adding a dash of glamour to the event, a large number of film stars also took part. Mohanlal and Dileep gave lead to the run in Kochi.
Similar runs were organised simultaneously in over 10,000 centres across the state.
As many as 21 mega run points, 226 mini mega run points, and thousands of ordinary points were arranged for the event.