Running a marathon to support Isha Vidhya’s cause is something of a tradition among Isha Vidhya volunteers and well-wishers. Chennai has always had a strong (and healthy!) base of volunteers/marathon-nuts who have supported Isha Vidhya activities. They came forward again to participate in the Wipro Chennai Marathon 2013, and on 1st December, 580 volunteers including 140 women, 34 children (under 18 years of age) and 10 senior citizens (above 60 years) ran the Chennai Marathon in support of Isha Vidhya. Incredibly, this time, four runners ran the full marathon (42.2 km) and 52 runners the half marathon (21.1 km).
Pranav Srikanth, the youngest runner completed the 10 km run in 1 hour 33 minutes and Mr. Manoharan P., the seniormost runner was officially timed at 2 hours 56 minutes for the 21.1 km run. Mr. Manoharan had in reality finished the race in 2 hours 26 minutes but misunderstood an announcement and headed towards the Start point rather than the Finish point! He has pledged to run for Isha Vidhya again next year and win the First Prize! The other veteran runners who ran the 10 km finished in less than 2 hours.
Durai Murugan, a lawyer by profession and an outdoor enthusiast by passion, has run 4 full marathons. He shares his experience:
At around 5.30 AM the murky clouds opened up and what started as a gentle drizzle soon turned out to be a heavy downpour. But nothing could stop the running legs and with the continued blessings of rain, thousands of legs ran, splashing the water.
My Body was drenched in a pool of sweat,
Mind was drenched with unbound happiness,
Heart was drenched in a wave of bliss,
I self-realised that it’s ‘Runners High’ @ 42.2kms
While running gives me absolute pleasure and every time I hit the road or cross the 42.2 kms mark I feel that I have achieved something significant in life, there is another high, a far nobler and meaningful purpose to my running. Right from my first marathon I have made a mental sankalp (resolution) to run for Isha Vidhya, expressing my gratitude for their noble cause, to educate rural India. I feel there is no greater thing one can do in Indian society than educating the masses of rural India, since real empowerment for the poor and the neglected lies in education.