CHENNAI: The fourth installment of the Chennai Wipro Marathon saw a flurry of participants from across the country run the length of Beach Road and the road beside Kasturba Nagar MRTS station. The aim is to raise funds for flood relief work. Delayed by a month because of the floods, the marathon that has been gaining popularity over the years, saw 17,000 runners grab their running shoes and make it to the starting line.
Shanta, from Shastri Nagar, who runs for Chennai Runners, said her preparation for the marathon changed her entire routine within months. “I started running when my doctor told me I had high blood pressure,” recalls the 43-year-old who used to suffer from asthma. “Waking up and making that split-second decision to grab my shoes and head out for a run was the most difficult thing. But I can confidently say I can attempt a half-marathon now. Running is truly a high,” she chuckles.
The first leg of the event organised jointly by Wipro and Chennai Runners began at the MRTS station where the half (21.1 km) and full marathon (42.4 km) runners assembled at the starting line. Both marathons that began at 4am and 4.30am respectively saw full attendance.
Besides an itch to run, there was of course the Rs 15 lakh cash prize. A 10 km run was also held and was flagged off from Napier Bridge. The eclectic mixture of runners — business professionals, housewives, senior citizens and college students tread two separate routes before reaching their destination — CPT grounds at Taramani.
Siddhanth, who runs for a local group ‘Gunners’ at Anna Nagar, remarks it’s not surprising to see a large number of people running. “It was a fitness-thing for youngsters, but many local groups now have people above 50 running as well. My grandfather is running ahead,” he grins, before slowly jogging away.