The sunset cast a serene reflection over the canal waters. Few birds were skipping over the water in a playful mood. The high rises of the city, though seen, seemed too far away. Nothing seemed to disturb the peacefulness of this stretch of water and the accompanying trail.
But a few of us were busy discussing on the preparations and logistics for the morrow. I left for home when it became dark, but there were a few people who would weather it out in that place, having mosquitoes and stench for company. Lots of arrangements for the big event tomorrow were yet to be completed. There were many other people in different parts of the city doing last minute tune-ups to different aspects of the event.
What motivates a person to spend a lot or all of his/her personal time in planning/preparing/executing a cause ?
Why would anyone expend energy on something which does not return monetary gains ?
Why on earth would anyone brave the bitter sun, pouring rain or dense darkness of the night to make things smooth for unknown strangers ??
Passion for the cause is one possible answer.
Love for humanity could be another explanation.
Spreading the joy that a person has got from an activity, so that others could also experience that joy may be the reason.
It is all of this and above all the zest to actually go on the field and make all of the above true by actions.
It is called ‘Volunteerism’. It is also the ‘Spirit of CTC’. This is the common thread running through every activity of CTC, be it the treks, runs, cycling, social causes or tree plantations.
Volunteers are the souls who go the extra mile and give freely of their time, energy, money etc in making impossible things possible, simple things extraordinary, and make every participant achieve his goal and feel good about themselves. Not just in words, but in concrete actions.
Volunteers willingly go the extra miles ,
And get rewarded by genuine smiles 🙂
So much theory on volunteerism is not necessary for anyone who witnessed/participated in the CTC Buckingham Canal Marathon on Oct 7, 2012, Sunday @ Chennai.
It had rained the previous night and the morning was cool and cloudy. It remained so for the entire duration of the marathon. Neither rain nor shine played havoc with the proceedings.
Buckingham Canal is a 425 km long man-made canal that runs through 2 states – from Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh to Villupuram district in Tamilnadu. Wikipedia has more information on this fascinating waterway http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buckingham_Canal.
The stretch of this canal that was chosen for the marathon was the stretch from ECR Link Road between OMR and ECR to Muttukadu. The trail was red sand with cityscapes to the west and mostly empty land to the east of the canal. How many of you have actually got off the main road and taken a stroll by this canal ?? Many would not have, despite residing in or visiting Chennai for years. It was my first time and I was stunned by its beauty and the potential it held for being a major outdoor jogging/cycling trail in Chennai. Thanks to the founder of CTC, Peter, for identifying this offbeat location for conducting this marathon.
This canal is a sad testimony to the unplanned urbanization and mindless industrialization of the city without any responsibility towards conserving precious water and other resources in the vicinity. This situation is not unique to Chennai as many Indian cities are grappling with the same issues.
Hope this marathon brings into limelight the wonderful possibilities this canal and trail hold for recreation and fitness, apart from using it as a water resource.
And the whole purpose of this marathon – the determined runners of all age groups, different fitness levels and across distance categories. But the goal was one – to complete the chosen distance with good timing without any untoward incidents. They were all excellent and eager athletes. First timers did not fully comprehend what was in store for them but were excited to start their running journey ! Veterans of the track were aiming at bettering their own personal records. I had been eager to run my fourth Half marathon in this track, but organizing/ volunteering responsibilities placed me on the other side of the start line ! And I was equally happy in this side also.
My main focus for the day, the CTC Kids Fun Run, turned out to be a colourful, fun and wonderful event with 53 enthusiastic kids. The little ones reported well ahead of time and brightened the place with their pranks and laughter. Ofcourse, they were running around so much that if measured it would be a few kms that they had covered 😉
All the CTC volunteers made sure each kid felt extra special and happy.
Some of the parents, guardians were inspired to hit the track themselves and participated in the 5K or 10K. Some were cool and some were anxious. Overall it was a lively crowd.
My 2 kids were also participating and they were waiting for this moment since many days. Since I had taken them to few marathons with me, they were inspired by my running and were eagerly waiting for their turn at the start line ! Atlast their chance came in the form of this kids run. So in a way, my kids Abhimanyu & Rahul have been the inspiration for me to organize this kids run. Kids of my brother, sister and friends also participated enthusiastically !
The kids had 4 distances to choose from – 3 kms, 2 kms, 1 km and 500 mts. They looked like professional runners with their shorts, tracks, tees and shoes ! And ofcourse the id of a marathoner – the running bib with numbering !!
The kids run was to start after the 5K, but some of the kids were already running to the start arch and had to be called back ! Balloons and chocolates adorned their hands, but the former was burst or blown away and the latter was gobbled up in minutes !
Assembling the kids for a group picture turned out to be an event by itself. The official volunteer photographers had a tough time to click the group without many parents heads popping in between. Each parent had a camera and it was a sight to see all of them click away standing in rows, even as kids were not eager to stand still !
The kids were assigned one pacer for each distance and they were asked to stick to their pacer uncles ! We came up with this idea as many kids were talking about marathon as a dash/sprint/race and were planning to speed up their run ! So we told them that this is a run for health and outdoor fun.
Stretching and warm-up exercises were done for the children and they were flagged off in batches. The distance being short, they were back to the finish line in a jiffy, or so it seemed !
The refreshment tables on the trail and at the start point took care of their little tummies and kept them energized with glucose, bananas, cookies etc.
They posed extensively with their certificate, poster and medals in different locations ! And some of them are eager to run longer distances soon.
But we at CTC are sure that these kids are on the path to have a healthy lifestyle and grow into healthy adults. And definitely, they will create a ripple effect to spread the message of health, outdoor play and fitness to their friends and families.
From Inactivity to In Activity !
From On Screen to On Track !
From Online to On Lane !
This is the right wealth to bequeath to our dear future global citizens !
P.S : Except the pics watermarked with my name, the other nice pics are all taken by official volunteer photographers at the marathon. Thanks !