Usually, family outings on a Sunday will involve a trip to a restaurant or a movie theatre and sometimes, a drive to The Nilgiris. Most families will try to spend the day by avoiding crowd and without much physical activity.

However, a wind of change was blowing this Sunday, as families decided to undergo the rigours of a marathon rather than indulge in the time-tested holiday etiquettes.

They were required to assemble as early as 4.30am and they did so, perhaps motivated by the fact that their participation will help raise funds to combat the deadly disease of cancer.

Close to 8000 participants had turned out to take part in the Coimbatore Marathon, which saw, professional runners and athletes, army and police personnel besides people from other cities such as Chennai and Bangalore.

Additional Director General of Police (Coastal Security Group) C. Sylendra Babu who led a contingent of 26 marine commandos trained in Search and Rescue operations, says the marathon was a good experience for his team and provided an opportunity to run with a large number of people. Such events bring out the fitness of the uniformed forces, he said.

An army of 700 volunteers had pooled in their efforts for the event. The organisation of the marathon, especially the attention given to the details, came in for a lot of praise from almost all quarters.

S. Mahesh, who had come from Chennai to take part in the marathon, says the runners were given water in small cups which will reduce water wastage. “In many marathons I had taken part earlier, we were given the one litre water bottles, which are not easy to carry and were mostly discarded half way through.”

Soji Mathew, 31, a resident to Kerala who came first in the half-marathon (21.1 kms), says the marathon routes selected was suited for the purpose.

R. Lakshmanan, 74, an ex-serviceman who was the oldest participant in the marathon, says he was motivated by a desire to encourage the youngsters to take to sports. The youngest participant was Rohit, a seven-year-old boy.

The Coimbatore climate was conducive for marathon, says Yogendra Kumar, 22, the winner in the 10km category. He is from S. Star Athletic Academy, which had coached Samya Sri, the winner in the women’s group in 10km category.

With this event, Ramesh Ponnusamy, marathon director, says the organisers have achieved their aim of putting Coimbatore on the marathon map of India. The year-long preparation has paid off.

The total prize money given out amounted to over Rs. 2 lakh.

R. Suresh Kumar, Business Head (Tamil Nadu), Vodafone, the main sponsor for the marathon, terms the response to the event as fantastic.

The Hindu is the media partner for the event.

The marathon was brought to the city by the Coimbatore Cancer Foundation (CCF) in association with Coimbatore Runners and Tango.

The Coimbatore Marathon has Vodafone as title sponsor, ELGI equipment and LMW as the platinum sponsors, Ramani Realtors as the gold sponsor, Lakshmi Card Clothing Manufacturing Company, Stanes and Shiva Tax Yarn as the silver sponsors, Zimson as timing partner, PSG Institutions as the educational institution partner, Angler Technologies as the mobile app partner, Senthil Group of Companies as the refreshment partner, Talwalkars and the Chennai Silks as associate partner.

Skoda is the official car, Timing Technologies are event partners, Brookefields Mall the mall partner and Flashbulbzz e Photography partner.

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