Run, people, run

On Saturday evening, members of the Chennai Runners community congregated at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium for their get-together. Under the stadium floodlights, 240 members and 18 divisions participated in an array of meticulously-planned races, relays and competitions.

The event was “the result of one-and-a-half months of planning,” says Ayush Doshi, a member of the organising committee.

On one side of the track, a live band featuring artistes Bruce Lee, Jitesh, Vinay and Mridhula Sekar performed. “Last year, we had a DJ playing, but when you’re running, you need something to keep you motivated and your adrenalin pumping, which is why we wanted a live band,” he says.

Though the event formally started at five in the evening, 23 dedicated runners began a continuous six-hour run at 2.30 p.m. A concept unique to this event, the run was a test of dedication and strength. Venkat Venkataraghavan, 53, says, “We usually don’t run repetitive laps around a stadium for six hours; this is possibly the first time it’s happening in Chennai.”

The monotony of the uninterrupted loops was broken by the energetic and positive atmosphere. Venkat, a veteran road runner, compares running in the stadium to feeling like “an Olympic champion”.

The event embraced the participation of all age groups. Keerthana Swaminathan and Krithika Swaminathan, teenage sisters who ran the woman’s relay, were among the many young people in attendance. “I’m addicted to running!” says Keerthana. “My entire family runs marathons.” The girls say the joyful atmosphere is what makes the event special. “It’s not just about running; it’s also about the community and fraternity coming together,” says Keerthana. Krithika agrees. “It’s about the energy and inclusivity. It brings the whole family together.”

Women’s relay participant, Preeti Aghalayam applauded the event for giving runners exposure to the stadium. “It’s rare for us to get the opportunity to run on the track; we mostly run on roads or beaches,” she says.

The family costume relay added an element of playfulness as did events such as kids run, planking contest and the rock climbing wall.

The event drew to a close at 8.30 p.m., with the six-hour run participants finally taking a break. The TeensDuRuns division claimed ownership of the rolling trophy.

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Printable version | Dec 1, 2021 1:01:03 AM |

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