Fitness enthusiasts are lacing up to race against the wind and pound the roads
Put your best foot forward for a new fitness trend that is racing across the city: running. When they are not running their enterprise or firms, a bunch of enthusiasts are busy running: for health, for fun, for companionship… At the crack of dawn, they lace up with the sole aim of hitting the road to join a group in the city, all members of the Trivandrum Runners Club (TRaCs), who are rediscovering their running feet.
“It is the pleasure of the run that motivates me to rise and shine,” says Hema Menon. Like many other members of the TRaCs, she got on to her feet to lose weight. But once she began, she discovered that it was the sheer pleasure of feeling the wind in her face that keeps her going.
It is that post-run high and the pleasure of “personal space” that motivates Bhageerathy Vaidyanathan, a young techie in her twenties, to wear her trainers as frequently as possible during the last two years. “As a student in Kochi, I was motivated by my mentor, Ramesh Kanjilimadhom. After I began working in Technopark, I started running with members of the TRaCs. When you feel stressed and fatigued, there is nothing better than a run to rejuvenate you,” she says.
It is that sense of freedom and fitness that they want to popularise in the city, especially amongst youngsters, says N.S. Abhayakumar, one of the founder members of the Club. From 100-plus kg, Abhay, an architect, lost approximately 30 kg ever since he started running in July last year. What began as a personal journey evolved into a club with some 70 members through word of mouth publicity. Soon many began to wear their trainers for the morning run.
Of course, not all the participants require even trainers. Hema, for instance, runs barefoot. She says although one has to be every careful while running barefoot, she feels the roads in the city are cleaner and safer than most other places in Kerala.
On an average, about 30 members turn up every Sunday for a weekly run that usually begins from Kowdiar and covers 10 km. Abhay says the advantage of running on the road is that one does not get bored and numbers mean safety too.
“Recently, some of us got together at Meenamkulam beach. There is a long stretch of the road that is comparatively quiet and we had a great time there,” he adds.
They are also into night-time running, a trend amongst fitness fans in the world. The run begins late in the night when the streets are more or less empty. On February 14, TRaCs organised a night run in the city. Similarly, they have organised fun events for the runners, some for philanthropy, some to raise awareness about running for health.
So enthused are they about pounding the roads that many of them are now actively participating in marathons and half marathons in India and abroad.
While Hema talks enthusiastically about participating in the Ohio marathon when she goes to visit her son, Bhageerathy says she is looking forward to the Travancore Half Marathon. Abhay completed the Mumbai Marathon and is looking forward to more.
Many of them are participating in the Boston Virtual Marathon on April 21.
“The idea is to pledge a certain number of miles in support of the Boston Marathon and then let them know how much you have logged in. It is more like an act of solidarity for the Marathon,” says Abhay.
Bhageerathy says blithely that she had pledged 100 miles and now has just seven miles to go to touch her mark.
Travancore Half Marathon
TRaCs is planning the first Travancore half marathon in November 2014.
Prior to that, they plan to reach out to schools in the city to train youngsters to run. “We have met authorities in the Tourism department and those in involved in the National Games too. They have also agreed in principle to support our initiative. If it works out as we have planned, 10,000 youngsters will participate in a run that will be a kind of curtain raiser for the National Games that will be held at various venues in the city,” says Abhay.