Bangalore may have an active running community but it isn’t everybody’s cup of tea to run a 21-km half marathon or if stamina permits, the 42-km full marathon. But of late, youngsters in the City are training to do exactly that; not so much for competition as much as the sheer joy of good health.
Sujay Umapathy, a young professional, has done two 10-km runs during the ‘Kaveri Trail Marathon’ and a 10-km as well as 21-km run in Auroville.
“My mother and aunt were part of a group called ‘Runner’s High’. I’d tag along and one day, decided to join and see what all the hype was about. I found it fun meeting and running with new people. More importantly, the benefit of group running is that watching others do the impossible keeps you motivated,” shares Sujay.
There’s no denying the fitness angle either. “I stopped feeling lethargic because of running. Following the training routine made me feel disciplined and fit. Plus, marathon running is about the mind too. When I did my first half marathon, I felt like I was trying to fight with my mind to continue running rather than to stop,” he recalls.
According to Nishant Nereyeth, who enjoys running and was part of ‘Runners for Life’, running has become a trend among youngsters only recently.
“I see running as a mature sport. Only slightly more mature people take it up at a young age. Sports brands portray a youthful image but it actually appeals more to older runners,” opines Nishant.
Yet, he expresses optimistic when it comes to the future of the sport. “As an activity, running is really booming now and other than some regular organised races, every corporate firm wants to have a running event these days. But we’ve got a tricky problem where there are more events than runners. It’ll take a while for the masses to take to it but I’m sure it’ll happen. After all, it only requires a pair of shoes to stay fit!”
“Of course, a little training goes a long way for those who run long-distance. “I don’t see too many youngsters completing long distances. The fact that it’s a non-competitive sport doesn’t appeal to them and it requires a lot of dedication, which many of them can’t put in.”
“But more and more are getting into five-km and ten-km runs. Still, I’d be cautious of this trend because without training, there are very high chances of injury,” explains Sourav Banerji, a professor at Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIM-B) who coaches at ‘Runner’s High’.
Sourav has even tried spreading the running culture in the college.
“As part of students’ overall development, I started a running club at IIM-B last year. There were workshops conducted, students were encouraged to run in organised races and we even had a run for our students, staff and alumni. This year, we’ve
incorporated running into the orientation programme,” he informs.