Manipal warms up to first MU-backed marathon
Endurance runners in Manipal mostly looked forward to half-marathons organised by Syndicate bank and the various cross country runs organised for fests like Atharva by TAPMI and Revels, and now an organisation dedicated to providing for running lovers is planning to take the town on a run.
This lack of exposure came to the notice of Siddharth Jain, founder of The Manipal Runners Club and eventually led to the initiation of the Manipal Marathon. “We don’t have many people who are used to Marathon running because we haven’t had many events of that sort here in Manipal. The culture of going for marathons regularly is yet to come. Our basic aim with Manipal Marathon is to get people off their couches and go have a fun experience with friends in the 5km race this year, and slowly they will be motivated to keep running and move up towards the 21km race,” he said.
Long-distance running is gaining popularity with The Manipal Runners Club initiating early morning group training sessions and also inviting professional runners Satish Gujaran and Dharmendra Kumar to guide the runners.
But there remains an absence of an active running culture, discouraged by the lack of regular competitions in Manipal. There are many who have shown interest in participating in the sport. Their reasons however vary from looking at it as a fitness routine to perceiving it as an exhilarating athletic challenge. “Running to me, in general, is a way to go to new places and enjoy the scenic view as I go along. It has always been in my bucket list to run a marathon with a couple of my close friends as I want to look back at this moment three years from now and feel a sense of nostalgia,” said Anush from DOC. Rahul Ramanathan from MIT, however, has quite a different approach, “I will be running to prove to myself that I can do it, for physical fitness and also because running is fun in general.”
The categories of the upcoming marathon will provide a niche for different levels of distance runners. The half marathon category of the race especially is expected to acclimatize first-timers and passionate runners to endurance running. “The marathon distance is set to take us all beyond our comfort zone, into a realm in which we confront the limitations of our bodies and our minds,” said Sahaana Aun, member of Manipal Runners club and winner of the Run for Cause mini-marathon held as a part of Atharva 2017.
The marathon is expected to have students from the local schools and others from the locality along with the faculty and students of the university thereby bridging a gap between the two through sport. The marathon also raises the cause of a stroke free world. “The marathon is founded on the idea that people of all age groups should benefit from the power of sport and support a stroke free world,” said Sahaana. “There are plenty of good reasons to training for and running a marathon. The training will help you lose weight and increase your fitness. Running will bring you more self-confidence and energy too” she added.
Featured Photograph Courtesy: Ganesh Indrali, MIT Live
The Manipal Marathon is set to take place on Sunday 5 March 2017 at 6:30 am, starting from KMC Greens. You can register for it here
In the interest of transparency, The Manipal Journal is in association with The Manipal Marathon. This story is a part of a collaborative effort.