Nature meets heritage

Chennai Runners’ route for The Wipro Chennai Marathon looks to provide runners views of both sylvan settings and buildings with historical significance

Updated - November 13, 2021 10:23 am IST

Published - October 30, 2012 03:49 pm IST - CHENNAI:

A NEW EXPERIENCE:  From Chennai Runners. Photo: M. Karunakaran

A NEW EXPERIENCE: From Chennai Runners. Photo: M. Karunakaran

Key members of Chennai Runners break into a run at the IIT-M stadium. A marathon meeting that delved into all aspects of The Wipro Chennai Marathon (TWCM) having taken its toll, they are unwinding in the only way they know. After a sprightly jog, what do they do? They go back to discussing the December 2 marathon (powered by Chennai Runners)!

Change in tradition

While they talk about the proposed route, a couple of spotted deer and a black buck graze nearby. Hari Shankar, a founder-member of Chennai Runners and TWCM route director, points out that these animals are a reason for the annual event taking a new route, breaking away from a long-observed tradition. The traditional marathon route involved going back and forth between Marina and Besant Nagar beach, an exercise Hari calls boring. The proposed route for the marathon — involving 20.695 km inside IIT-M and 21.5 km outside the campus — marries Nature to wonders of civilisation. (For the half-marathon, 7.1 km is inside the IIT-M and 14 km outside the campus).

“On the IIT-M campus, runners will get to enjoy the profuse greenery, watch monkeys, spotted deer and the endangered black buck. This experience will contrast sharply with what they encounter outside — buildings that speak of our heritage. Of course, we are not omitting the Marina from the route. Runners from land-locked cities — such as Bangalore and Hyderabad — would love to run by the beach and we are not going to deny them that experience.”

V.P. Senthil Kumar, race director for TWCM, says, “Safety and promoting the city are high up on our priority list. We have come up with this route after answering the questions ‘how can the runners stay safe on the road’ and ‘how can we showcase the city to runners from other centres’”.

“The proposed route is an outcome of experience. Chennai Runners are familiar with all the areas that are included in the route. My baptism into long-distance running involved these areas. We know for certain that the route will work for any runner,” says Krishna Kumar Rangachari, a member of core team at Chennai Runners.

An associate professor at IIT-M, Preeti Aghalayam has the comfort of running on home ground. Last year, the annual half-marathon and 10k were confined to the IIT-M campus. Preeti says that all the runners gushed about the experience. This feedback encouraged Chennai Runners to make IIT-M the focal point this year, when they are looking to take the event to the next level.

Preeti has prepared a to-watch list on the campus for the runners, which includes “a couple of beautiful banyan trees”.

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