Over 10,000 runners participated in the second edition of the Abhujmaad Peace Marathon in Chhattisgarh's naxal-hit Narayanpur district on Saturday, the police said.
The 21-km half marathon started from the High School ground in Narayanpur town and concluded near the camp of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police in Basingbahar in Abhujmaad jungles.
"The purpose of the event was to invite people from outside Bastar region to visit and explore this beautiful land and know more about the vibrant tribal culture," said Inspector General of Police Sundarraj P.
Such events help remove misconceptions about Bastar as people from outside Chhattisgarh can see the improving security situation, the IG said.
Participants included runners from foreign countries too, he said.
Narayanpur Superintendent of Police Mohit Garg said prizes of over Rs 6 lakh were distributed to top ten finishers in men's and women's categories.
In men's category, Shankarman Thapa from Meghalaya secured the top position followed by Simons from Kenya and Ramnarayan from Dallirajarhara (Chhattisgarh).
In women's category, Alisa from Kenya stood first while Dimple Singh and Reenu, both from Uttar Pradesh, bagged second and third position.
Special cash awards were also given to five local men and women each who topped the table in the 'Abhujmaad residents' category, the SP said.
The thickly forested area of Abujhmaad is located around 350 km from the state capital Raipur.
It was known as a Maoist stronghold, but officials claim that rebels are increasingly under pressure because of the operations conducted by security forces and the developmental activity.
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