Sole purpose

Members of the Trivandrum Runners Club are looking forward to Trivandrum Marathon 2016  

N.S. Abhaya Kumar is huddled over a route map with a coordinator. The Trivandrum Marathon 2016 is almost here and there are last-minute logistical details to be ironed out. As for those who have registered to participate, October 30 will be no regular Sunday.

Abhaya Kumar, president of Trivandrum Runners Club (TraCs) and organiser of the event, says,“Long distance running needs a lot of co-ordination with government officials, the police and the public. Some marathons are identified with cities. This one too can turn into a city identifier, like the marathons held in Berlin, San Francisco and Boston.” Four runners from Kenya are expected to participate.

Bangalore-based Vijay Venugopal has arrived to participate in the Trivandrum Marathon, fresh from the Berlin marathon held last month. He also ran the Paris Marathon in April. “I grew up in Thiruvananthapuram. Last year, I missed it. We need people from different cities to participate so that the event is established by word of mouth,” says Vijay who took to running in 2012. Head of a sports nutrition company, he is elated at having qualified time for the 2017 Boston Marathon which he calls the ‘Olympics of marathons’.

Syama S. speaks for many women in the group when she says the early morning runs are a perfect start to the day. She attempted the Chennai Half Marathon in June after joining TRaCs last year to lose weight. “That is still in the process but now I love running and go every day for training. We have members from all walks of life. The women’s group is quite large and active. We can finish by 6.30 a.m. and head home.”

The marathon will also see many doctors including six from Sree Chitra Thirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology participating. Varghese T. Panicker is one such who started his daily runs a month before the first Trivandrum Marathon. This year, he is aiming for a full marathon. Inspired by Madhav Manoj, a fellow runner who is a national swimming record holder and cycling enthusiast, 44-year-old Dr. Varghese also uses a bicycle to reach the hospital from his house in Kesavadasapuram. Despite his background in sports, Dr. Madhav, an independent orthodontist, took up running only last year. “The members taught me how to run. Before, I thought running was no big deal. It is so nice that even the really good runners will slow down for new runners.” Dr. Madhav was encouraged by the members to participate in the Half Iron category of the Chennai Triathlon in July. He also teaches swimming for those runners who wish to push themselves.

Abhaya Kumar is now in what he calls his ‘excuse phase’ due to sleep-deprived nights at work. “Running without a good night’s sleep is dangerous,” he says. After losing 30 kg in four months with daily runs and slight alterations to diet, he started the club in 2013 with a small group of friends to help people benefit from the dynamics of a group run such as perfecting technique and highlighting the safety aspect.

He is training under retired British long distance runner Hugh Jones to earn his accreditation as a course measurer with Greece-based AIMS (Association of International Marathons and Distance Races), a sign of Abhaya Kumar’s vision for the marathon as an international event in the years to come.

“Already certified by Sports Authority of India, from 2017 the Trivandrum Marathon will be a fully AIMS accredited course. I have to conduct a marathon twice as per AIMS standards and get certified by a national body for two years to get full accreditation,” he says, having already assisted with two half marathons including that at Mumbai. With Trivandrum Marathon 2015 and 16, he meets the minimum requirement for a full accreditation as a course measurer. He spent last month designing the course for Sunday’s event to measure exactly 42.195km. This is physically laborious and “may seem boring to someone who is not interested in such details,” he says.

“But distance and time are sacrosanct for serious runners. Running in a new city has its own charm but as a measurer, my duty is to see that nobody cheats.”

Timing mats at different points of the course read the magnetic chips on the runners’ bibs. Crossing them all qualifies one for the certificate.

In the long run...

The second such event to be held in the city, this year’s prize money marathon will be on the route from Shanghumugham, with the full marathon of 42 km starting at 4 a.m. The categories are a full-marathon, half-marathon, 10-km open/corporate relay/under 18; two-km family run, races for differently-abled and a Kids’ Mile. While the differently-abled can participate for free, registration for other categories start at Rs. 500.

Water, fruits, energy drinks, biscuits, t-shirts and live breakfast stations will be available at the venue apart from three ambulances. Health insurance for the runners will also be covered. Zumba sessions at the venue will help runners warm up for their categories.

The runners’ bibs will be distributed on Saturday, October 29 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the race expo stall in YMCA where a painting competition will also be held for students from classes one to 10 on the theme of running. Spot registrations can be done for the marathon and painting competition. Contact : 9745911164.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 2:35:38 AM |

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