At quarter to nine on Sunday morning, ‘IIT-Madras' open air theatre was bustling with joggers readying themselves for a unique marathon.
While some were registering their names and collecting their number tags, others were warming up doing what looked like painful stretches or busy tying firm knots on their shoelaces.
The group of participants included 600 students from IIT-M, which partnered the event in the context of its cultural fest ‘Saarang 2012'. Members of Chennai Runners were also there, not only to clock in some personal exercise but also to encourage marathon runner Neville Bilimoria in completing a 12 hour-non-stop ‘Dawn to Dusk' Golden Run.
The initiative was part of a fundraising effort for Round Table India (RTI)'s Freedom through Education project aimed at imparting education to underprivileged children and IIT-M's projects that support education.
Neville had six hours of running ahead of him within the IIT-M campus followed by an equal number of hours of cycling on the East Coast Road, covering a total distance of 150 km. Dressed in his running gear and clutching an energy drink, he said the run is certainly going to be a test of his endurance.
“I am going to keep on going as I am raising funds for a good cause.” His preparation for the big run: last year alone he clocked 2,850 km by participating in runs all over the world.
“Yesterday, I loaded up on carbohydrates and kept myself hydrated,” said Mr. Neville.
T.T. Arun Vasu, chairman and director TT Logistics and Honorary Consul for Sweden in South India, flagged off the marathon. “Apart from running for a good cause, the initiative portrays the importance of fitness as well,” he said, about the event organised to commemorate 50 years of Round Table India.
“The funds raised will go towards strengthening infrastructure in schools for underprivileged children,” said M.Sivaramakrishnan, Chairman, MCRT-94, about the Freedom through Education project of RTI.
“Once a year, we will go back to the schools and do small projects with the students. We also work in partnership with the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan,” he added.
The cause was one that everyone could identify with.
Three Bachelor of Technology students, who started the run a little late, said they took part because they felt it was an important cause to support.
“We will complete at least 7 km, even if it means we walk part of it. It is for a good cause,” said V.Nandita.