Slow and steady

On the go ‘Chennai Runners’, united in their passion

On the go ‘Chennai Runners’, united in their passion   | Photo Credit: Photo: N. Sridharan

A diverse group gets together everyday for a bit of recreational running

These guys get high on LSD, taking a dose of it everyday. As a result, they perform better at work. Puzzled, are you? LSD is short for ‘long slow distance’ running, a method introduced by Joe Hendersen to train marathoners. In contrast to the PTA (pain, torture and agony) method, it induces fun into marathon training. Through LSD, the marathoner trains by gradually increasing the distance he runs. To give an example, he might start the week with a 10 km run on Monday and increase the distance by an increment of 5 km every day until Sunday. The cycle would be repeated next week.

Chennai Runners, a city-based group addicted to running, has embraced this method. Engaged in a variety of professions, they are as diverse a group as you can get. But they all share a passion for LSD. Most of them top-notch professionals, they see it as a way to compete against themselves and achieve a sense of achievement.

One of the members, Ramesh first thought he was not good enough for a five-km run. He surprised himself by doing it. And, then he graduated to 10 km. Now, he runs 30 km every Sunday. For, he is one of the twenty-five from Chennai Runners who are preparing for the December 7 marathon in Singapore. “We will be the biggest contingent from India,” says Ram Viswanthan, working with IBM and is the founder of Chennai Runners.

But don’t for a second think ‘Chennai Runners’ is focussed on marathon glory. No doubt, its members take part in international marathons but are in the least concerned about the results. Running is the primary goal. Fitness and marathon glory are incidental to it. With 550 members, the group has various chapters around Chennai. All through the week, barring Sunday, each chapter functions on its own organising its a run every day. The runners function like a team with the seasoned runners passing on tips to the beginners. For example, techniques such as ‘uphill-downhill running’ are taught.

On Sunday, all the chapters join for a run which starts and ends at Dimensions, Alwarpet.

Ram started this group when he met Hari and Vidyuth at Dimensions. Into rollerblading while he was in the United States, he was looking for a parallel activity when he moved to India.

The group has a google group and a website People come to know of this group through word of mouth and advertisements inserted in neighbourhood dailies. Four times a year, it organises a run on the East Coast Road, after much publicity. Its membership goes up after every such run.


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