Fitness

Get, set, go

A SPRIGHTLY LOT Members of Soles of Cochin in action   | Photo Credit: By special arrangement

Come November 16, Kochi will witness its first full marathon, an event the organisers claim to be ‘by runners, for runners’. The Spice Coast Marathon, an initiative taken up by Soles of Cochin, a group of running enthusiasts, will feature the full 42.2 km marathon, a 21.1 km half marathon, a five kilometre family fun run and a corporate relay.

The infectious energy of the marathoners was apparent in the interactions between them at the inauguration event, each discussing upcoming runs and personal bests. Mathew Mapram, one of the founding members of Soles of Cochin, started running around seven years ago at the age of 62, and now competes in ultra marathons. “I started when my daughter encouraged me to do something instead of sitting idle, and once I joined a group, the activity became fun,” says Mathew.

Kochi Customs Commissioner K.N Raghavan, who attended the launch, spoke of the importance of promoting the running culture. “When we were younger, we could go to places like Subash Park and Durbar Hall and watch Ranji cricketers practise; now they have stadiums and we still have the same Subash Park. Hopefully events like this will attract the authorities’ attention to the importance of having spaces for such recreation,” he said, before elaborating that he believed such infrastructure could help tackle the problem of alcoholism. “If there are parks and grounds, children will focus on physical activity and chances of addiction decrease. And if children ask parents to take them to a park in the evening, it gives parents an alternative activity instead of having to look to the bottle for the evening’s entertainment.”

Former long jumper T.C. Yohannan, who was named event ambassador, said that the popularity of marathons is an encouraging sign, and that running should be made a community initiative so that more people are encouraged to participate. “We were born to run, as children we first walk, then we start to run, and eventually we stop because we don’t have time anymore. That is what needs to change,” he said. And since the Asian Games are on, what does he think of India’s prospects? “I’m optimistic about Vikas Gowda’s chances in discus throw, and if Arpinder Singh can do more than 17m in triple jump there is hope for him. I’m also looking forward to the women’s 4X400m relay,” he said. Deputy Commissioner of Police Nishanthini R. was also present, and infused some humour to the proceedings when she recalled her own experiences with running during her training.

Ramesh Kanjilimadhom, another of the founding members of Soles of Cochin, said that the Spice Coast Marathon is an attempt to bring the fast developing marathon culture that is prevalent in other cities. “The route is planned in such a way that runners will get to see many popular landmarks of the city in a new light, thus adding to the experience,” he said.

Registrations for the Spice Coast Marathon are now open. For more information, visit: www.spicecoastmarathon.com.

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Printable version | May 15, 2021 2:30:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/fitness/get-set-go/article6442462.ece

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