Half marathon kicks off Shillong Autumn Festival

 SHILLONG: A half marathon kicked off the annual Shillong Autumn Festival on Saturday. Aimed at promoting tourism in the "Abode of Clouds", chief minister Mukul Sangma led the run. Later, he also sang some evergreen numbers of the Nineties to entertain the crowd. People from all walks of life took part in the event.

In keeping with the theme "for a greener tomorrow", the Shillong Autumn Festival is focusing on the need to save the green cover, considered as the USP of tourism in Meghalaya.

"Think green, eat green and live green," Mukul said, urging the participants to carry home the message of shouldering a collective responsibility to keep Shillong and the environment clean.

Assuring sustained supports from the government for the green movement in the state, the chief minister added, "Let's take a resolution today that whoever is here will ensure that this humble beginning is converted into a movement... a green movement".

Bining Lyngkhoi, former champion among runners at the Mumbai Marathon and hailing from Meghalaya's West Khasi Hills district, was the ambassador of the half marathon. Meghalaya Tourism Development Forum (MTDF), the organizer of the event, projected the number of participants at 10,000.

After today's event, the cultural shows and food court of local cuisines from the NE would be held on November 3-4 at the picturesque Orchid Lake Resort at Umiam (Barapani). Former state home minister and CEO LIFCOM, R G Lyngdoh, who is also the chairman of MDTF, said this year a sound and light show titled "work of art" would be one of the attractions at the venue.

Several western music bands and cultural troupes from the region would perform during the two-day event and would have a lot to offer for people. The annual Shillong Autumn Festival has been drawing a large number of tourists over the years.