The smell of freshly baked cakes and warmth of the Santa gloves might be tempting, but Chennaiites are pumped up for something more adventurous this December. The second edition of Wipro Chennai marathon has had the morning streets turning into jogging pavements for nearly three months to help the participants complete their dream run on December 1.
“We have training groups in eight areas across the city,” says Krishna Kumar Rangachari, president of Chennai Runner’s Club. These include groups in Alwarpet, Besant Nagar, Velachery, Porur, Anna Nagar, K K Nagar, ICF and Avadi. “We, a group of 30 to 50 members from Alwarpet go for the ‘Kutcheri run’,” he says with a laugh. Since their running route covers Narada Gana Sabha and Music Academy, the members found it apt to name it so.
“That’s not it,” he adds, laughing. “The group in Nungambakkam goes for a ‘Bhajanai run’ while the 150-member KK Nagar group, which takes a route parallel to the railway tracks, goes for the ‘Chikku Bukku run’,” he says. While one is left marveling at these fun runs, he hastens to add - “Chetpet Cheetahs! They are the group from Perungalathur who run from Chetpet to Vandalur Zoo.”
If you thought this was motivating enough, their Facebook page, littered with tidbits about right diets and inspirational stories about runners, says otherwise. A recent post even talks about encouraging one to register their spouse for the run. Apart from these, there are also pictures of people during their morning training.
The photos convey that the 12-week training that precedes the run is no military drill. “We believe that there is no one particular way to train. There is no fixed regimen. We just let the runners do whatever they are comfortable with,” says Rangachari.
It must be this flexibility that attracts people from all walks of life participate in the morning runs. “There are more new runners every time. Also, we had people who ran 10 km last year, graduating to do a half or a full marathon this year,” he says.
But can a person who has not been working out a bit take part in the run now? “I wouldn’t personally advise it. Typically to run a marathon, they need to have a minimum running practice of atleast 12 weeks. Even if they start sincerely running everyday, till December 1, it wouldn’t help much,” he says.
However, those who have always been regular visitors to the gym and haven’t been stuck with sedentary work over the years, can definitely register for the 10-km run, he suggests. The open registration is closed now, and the present registration would cost `1,500. “We are a non-profit organisation and this money will be used for charity,” he says. “Also, December 1 happens to be World Disability Day, so we are planning to organise a separate event for the disabled – probably a three to four km run,” he adds.
With overflowing registrations, Rangachari is confident that this year the participation would break last year’s count of 6,000 and even surpass their target of 10,000. While he does not vouch for running as the best form of exercise, he does make a thought-provoking point – “No gadgets, no specific attire, no money for roads, free for all. Isn’t this the best way to stay fit?”
Today is the last date to register for Wipro Chennai Marathon. Log on to https://thewiprochennaimarathon.com/