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Run to the hills

Let's all run together

Let's all run together  

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Divya Chandran on her experience at the Run for Anamalais

Kollywood has showcased the scenic beauty of the Anamalais quite often and so the people of the area are quite used to a film shoot. But the crowds that turned up this Sunday was for the ‘Run for Anamalais’, a trail run, organised by the Wild Wing Trust (WWT) as part of their annual fund raising to support conservation efforts in the Anamalais Tiger Reserve and to raise funds for tribal education. WWT consists of young individuals from various backgrounds and professions who share a common love for Nature and wildlife.

A few weeks ago, a scenic picture of a trail on social media caught my eye and enticed me into signing up for the run on September 6. A few of my running friends and I eagerly marked our calendars and started training for the 10k run. The run was to start and finish at the Temple of Consciousness in Aliyar, at the foothills of Valparai in the Anamalai hills.

Early on Sunday morning, we drove through sleepy villages slowly stirring to life at dawn to reach the venue. As we neared Aliyar, a magnificent rainbow arched right above the trail route and I knew in my heart that the event was going to be special and memorable. After parking our vehicle in a mango grove, we headed to the registration area to collect our bibs.

The organisers had been clever enough to reach out to and attract only a few hundred registrations so that they could focus on the quality as this was their maiden run. The event started right on time; something that we runners always appreciated, as we stretch and hydrate according to the starting time. Any delay makes runners cranky.

Essentially, the route consisted of trails along a canal, pathways inside a private resort and coconut groves and was unlike anything I have ever run on before. I struggled to pace myself initially, as I could not find my rhythm among the crowd of runners. Due to overnight rain, the trail was dotted with puddles and the humidity was pulling me down sooner than I expected. But once I found my rhythm, I could look around and enjoy the beauty. We ran past marshes and creeks, past cocoa plantations and baffled stray dogs.

There were plenty of aid stations along the route and volunteers cheered the runners on. There were many twists and turns along the trail route but, at every turn, volunteers ensured that none of the runners lost their way. The runners looped back to the starting arch to finish to the sound of local drummers. The medals were given away by volunteers at the finish line and top finishers got the prizes. A sumptuous breakfast was served to all the runners.

The trail route challenged almost every runner but we all walked away with a smile on our faces. Runners in cities do not get the opportunity to run on scenic routes with fresh and clean air often enough. With running becoming a popular sport and many individuals taking to it for health reasons, trail runs like the ‘Run for Anamalais’ should be supported by the community. The word is now out in the running community that the ‘Run for Anamalias’ is an event to lookout for.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 6:51:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/run-for-anamalais-was-organised-by-the-wild-wing-trust-wwt-as-part-of-their-annual-fund-raising-to-support-conservation-efforts-in-the-anamalais-tiger-reserve-and-to-raise-funds-for-tribal-education/article7625227.ece

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