VELLORE: A marathon organized by the Vellore Welfare Trust, a non-profit organization, was rescheduled after a group of participants alleged malpractice by the winners, in the city on Wednesday.
With the aim of spreading awareness on compulsory education for children below the age of 15, the Vellore Welfare Trust had organized a 12.5-km marathon. About 1,500 persons from various parts of Tamil Nadu participated in the event. It started from Katpadi Christian Pettai and ended at Nethaji ground in Vellore, passing through Katpadi Main road, Arani road and Anna Salai.
When the participants were running, vehicles passed parallel through the same road. A large number of participants had allegedly joined the marathon en route from different locations.
At 10 am, the event organizers announced that Mallesh Patel from Ooty, Naresh from Dharmapuri and Mano from Chennai were the winners. It was announced that `1 lakh cash award for the champion, `50,000 for the 2nd position and `25,000 for the 3rd ranker would be given. Opposing the announcement, a group of participants took to the roads, demanding refund of the admission fee of `350 as the marathon was not organized properly. Around 100 people protested by sitting on Anna Salai main junction.
“Many participants joined just three to five km before the Nethaji ground. We saw people taking two wheelers to reach the ground. Water packets were also not arranged for the runners. We did not see any ambulance along the way from Katpadi to Vellore,” said R Vinoth, one of the protestors.
Vellore DSP G Panneerselvam and Vellore South Inspector (in-charge) AT Ramachandran tried to pacify the protesters. However, the protesters refused to leave. Vellore Welfare Trust founder Pushpa Chittaranjan announced that the marathon had been cancelled and another event would be conducted on August 27.
When Express contacted Pushpa Chittaranjan, she said a few anti-social elements had deliberately spoiled the event. “The person who collected admission fee from participants has not given it to the trust. A few youngsters started running even before we flagged-off the event. A few school teachers, who were appointed to regulate the runners en route, did not do their job, as we paid less than what they demanded,” she claimed.