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Sunday, October 04, 2015

Marathon Musings

I've been following this sudden spurt in Fitness culture among Indians, more specifically at close range in Chennai and Coimbatore, where am currently on a sojourn!

For a while, the Marathon culture is steadily spreading among the urbanites. It is a good thing. Some run for fitness, some run for a sense of achievement, some run to prove to themselves that they can in little doses push the boundaries of their endurance, some run for records, some run for medals, some for the cause behind these Marathons... and there are also a few wannabes, like in every other vista of life. They just don't wannabe missed out in the next day's or next week's thambola hob-nobs, or miss out on FB status updates or more simply miss out on an opportunity for a selfie!

I happened to accompany my daughter who took part in the morning's annual Coimbatore Marathon organised for creating consciousness to fight cancer. It was so gratifying to see a sea of people, all up and geared since 4 a.m. The organisers must be really commended and lauded for their unsparing efforts to make the event as smoothest as it can be. It was, too. The experience must have been so fulfilling for all involved - organisers, volunteers, runners. I was a watcher-by for all these events. Well, every event needs an outsider perspective, right! So, there I was.

They had a novice class - a 5 K.M run/walk, a 10 K.M run and a 21 K.M mini-marathon. There were close to 12000 people participating from what info that could be gathered. Of course, the selfie culture and ego aggrandisement that has inevitably crept into our westernisation process was self-evident. Some even just landed for the sake of it... one of those random events of early-out-of-bed experiences where they communed with their friends they had parted from only 5 or 6 hours since. It was obvious from the way they continued or picked up conversation half-way from where they had left earlier, without as much of a starter pack! Some had just landed, registered, but did not hit the starting line... traipsed or trudged or ambled or lolled the other way and walked through a short cut to the finish area. They couldn't care to collect their medals: well, they knew they won't get one or deserved to get one, didn't they? Honest Souls, lol! Some... but again... were loaded with precautions to the hilt even though they were doing the novice class. And resolved, even before the race began, inspired by the refreshing and rejuvenating electricity of the atmosphere, that they would attempt to get up this early each succeeding mornings of their post-marathon life.  Some... it was routine. They were there, been there, done that and were doing it... and would do it... by default.

What was it that inspired this tribe, I wondered, that made them commit to these marathons! They sure were no Ethiopians or Kenyans, though one could notice the inevitable African presence at marathons, here too. Yes, there were non-locals and non-Indians too. There was a bunch - rather a few unrelated bunch of people from Kerala. These are Marathoners who travelled from Marathon to Marathon by habit. Fitness freaks? No, I would say. What it is... I can't say. Inspiring it was, I can say.

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