Society

Have you run a marathon yet?

Madurai marathoner

Madurai marathoner   | Photo Credit: mamp29marathon

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Run for glory, run for fun, run for health or for no reason at all. The Madurai Marathon is back, with the third edition promising to be much bigger

“Our slogan this year is ‘challenge yourself’ because running a marathon transforms life,” says Dr Sathish Devadoss. After observing the Wipro Marathon in Chennai for two years, the orthopaedic surgeon conceived the Madurai Run in 2017 to promote good health among people in his native town. “With lifestyle diseases on the rise, we felt a marathon will create awareness and promote a sense of well being,” says his wife Dr Hema, who manages the event.

The doctor couple’s initiative has, however, gone far and beyond city limits. The Madurai Marathon finds itself on the national calendar of marathons and the first Sunday of every January is permanently reserved for the run, the only one in Southern Tamil Nadu. Participation and enquiries from professional runners from countries including Poland and Kenya also indicates the Madurai Marathon has arrived.

If you are a regular at the Walker’s Club for your daily fitness regime, you would have noticed a surge in crowd in the evenings over the past two months. People are running the 2.2 kilometre lap multiple times to build their stamina under the watchful eyes of a trainer specially hired by the marathon organisers. Anybody is free to join the two hour evening sessions, according to Hema, who feels it is important to help people prepare for the run.

“You cannot just wake up one morning and run a marathon. It requires focus, determination, and regular practice,” says industrialist Hari Thiagarajan who regularly cycles for fitness and is inspired to join the run for the love for his city.

The Devadoss Multi-speciality Hospital (DH) helmed by Sathish and Hema, has ushered in the marathon culture in the region. People turned up in large numbers on the previous two occasions and are expected to do so this year too. About 30 percent of runners constitute people from neighbouring districts, with Coimbatore contributing the most, followed by Bengaluru, Sivakasi, Nagercoil, Kanyakumari, Ramnad, Trichy, and Thanjavur.

Within six month’s of the second edition, held at the beginning of 2018, people started enquiring about the next, says Sathish. “It reflects the growing popularity of marathons,” he adds. Online registrations opened a month ago and over 1,500 people have confirmed their participation so far. Not less than 3,500 runners are expected to participate.

The planning

Hema heads a team of 25 leaders who ensure that the marathon is hassle-free. The hospital staff and over 100 volunteers drawn from various associations, colleges, and organisations also help towards smooth conduct of the event.

“It involves huge planning majorly due to the unpredictable number of runners involved,” she says, adding, “the time, effort and commitment are massive.” Sathish explains that they also organise zumba sessions to warm up before the run. “It’s nice to see a sea of people with a shared passion embarking on the same challenge. Everyone tries to pump each other up,” says Sathish.

The men’s half marathon will get flagged off first. The women’s will follow 30 minutes later. After a 15-minute gap, the children will race off and are followed by a mixed group of fun marathoners. The route around Alagar Koil road will prep up for the big day with ambulances and water stations in place. Running kits will be distributed through the night before the run.

“Since running is an exercise where people can measure their accomplishment, by completing a marathon is like realising a dream and proving to yourself that you can do it without quitting,” says Praveena Mukunthan, who ran last year and is all geared up for January 6. “I like the spirit of running. There is lot of camaraderie,” says Vijay Darshan J, all set to run his second marathon. “You have no idea how it feels until you experience it and there is no feeling that can compare.”

Swetha R from Bengaluru, participates in the run every year. “It is an addiction and you feel ecstatic at the finishing line,” she says.

Running a marathon is perhaps the hardest and the best thing one can do. A lot of things may contribute to making your run challenging. But the crowd in Madurai will cheer you on till the finish line.

(The Hindu is the media partner for the Madurai Marathon 2019)

The Devadoss Madurai Marathon-2019 highlights:

Timing chip in the marathon bib of every runner

Three computer stations will be installed to monitor and record the running track and timing of each runner

Online digital certificates, special marathon medals minted in Delhi and 20 second finishing line video for every participant

Online registrations will close on January 4 and spot registrations on January 5

Registration fee: Rs.500 for adults, Rs.300 for children (seven to 13 years), special discounts for group packages

Log on : www.themaduraimarathon.com

Madurai Marathon-2018 highlights:

Of the 2,700 runners, 8,00 completed the half marathon

Visually challenged Senthil Kumar, who is a lift operator in Devadoss MultiSpeciality Hospital, successfully ran the half marathon

The oldest participant was a 78-year-old man who ran his first half marathon completing 21 kilometres K

There were large teams of runners from corporate companies Honeywell, SBI, ICICI, Rotary Clubs, Happy Feet

The prize

First place winners in21 kilometre run K marathon (men) and 10.5 kilometres (women) will win Rs.50,000 each (fifty percent in cash and gifts and vouchers worth Rs.25000); second prize winners will receive Rs.15000 each and third prize winners will get Rs.10,000 each

The top three position holders in children’s category (below 7 to 13 years) will win a bicycle each

Every participant will get a certificate, a medal and a kit containing T-shirt and some goodies

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 7:13:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/run-for-glory-run-for-fun-run-for-health-or-for-no-reason-at-all-the-madurai-marathon-is-back-with-the-third-edition-promising-to-be-much-bigger/article25849824.ece

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