The Chennai International Half Marathon on September 27 will highlight several social issues GET, SET, GO Participants at last year's marathon
In the early days of the Olympics, marathons addedcolour to the games. Then, they helped bring asense of community among residents of a city. Inrecent times, they have become a tool to extendcharity and popularise a city. The annual marathonsin Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New Yorkhave given these cities a great deal of prestige in theinternational community. These five cities constitutethe World Marathon Majors.
"While staying focused on social goals we are tryingto promote through the Idea Chennai InternationalHalf Marathon 2009 (September 27), we should notlose sight of an important truth - a marathon can bea powerful advertisement for a city," says Fr. JegathGasper Raj, founder, Tamil Maiyam, which is organisingthe event for the second consecutive year.
While the 2009 edition was still on the drawingboard, the planning team wanted to do everythingthat would ensure an unprecedented participation.The swine flu and the registration fee are amongfactors that have forced the organisers to scale downtheir expectations. But according to Fr. Jegath, seveninternational marathoners will participate.
While GiveLife Charity (which supports underprivilegedchildren in the cause of education) remainsthe benefactor, the marathon is geared to other socialgoals as well. One, it is a warning bell for those whounderplay physical activity as a way to deal withdiabetes. "We hear that Chennai is the diabetes capitalof the country. While walking and running are notthe cure for diabetes, they help manage the condition,"says Fr. Jegath.
Inclusivity is another highlight. The marathon allowstransgenders, wheel-chair bound, visually-impairedand other minorities to draw attention to theirissues. The marathon will end with the visually-challengedparticipants making up the last battalion -walking together holding hands.
For details, call 24994344/ 24980201. For online registration, visit www.givelife-chennaimarathon.comPRINCE FREDERICK