EVENT The Chennai Runners' annual programme is back, with a few changes…
C hennai Runners' annual run has shifted from East Cost Road to the tree-lined roads on the IIT-Madras campus. What the unpredictable Madras weather has to offer on the morning of November 6 —scorching heat or splashing rain —is anybody's guess. Whatever prevails on the day —rain or shine —the canopy of trees will shield the runners from it.
Trimming the run to just two categories —a half marathon and a 10-km run — is another significant change. Lopping off the popular five-km run is aimed at encouraging a section of runners within the group to push themselves to the next level and at avoiding a severe strain on resources.
Organising a run of such magnitude within a campus is a difficult proposition. Aware of the challenge, the group dedicated two months to working on the route.
The team that attended to this job included Preeti Aghlayam, a professor at the Institute who is conversant with the features of the campus. “After much effort, we succeeded in identifying a 10-km loop,” says founder-member Ram Viswanathan. Ram points out that the run has been organised on a par with international standards, with special attention paid to safety and rejuvenation aids.
Among what makes the ‘Marg Chennai Runners Half Marathon 2011' — as the event is called — exciting is the participation of a huge number of IIT students. Says Ram: “We expect around 1,000 runners, and half of them will be these students. The IITians run for free.”
They have been encouraged by Preeti and another IIT professor, Sankar Subramaniam, to go for the run. The two professors have been taking ‘running classes' for these youngsters during the weekends. Everything appears bright, except for the skies. Ram admits it has been overcast for sometime now and adds: “Rain or shine, we will run!”
Soundarya, another key member of Chennai Runners, says: “Wet weather has never dampened our spirits. There was a sudden burst of rain during the 2010 run on ECR. The runners enjoyed the spell.”
Registrations for the run — on IITs-M campus on November 6 (Sunday): half marathon starts at 6 a.m., and the 10-km run at 6.30 a.m. — close on October 31. To register, visit www.chennairunners.com