For most people, New Year resolutions are always dropped midway, but many Hyderabadis seem to have stuck on to their vows in 2015; at least that’s what the trends show. The number of city folks who have taken up running for a healthy lifestyle has seen an unprecedented surge.
As a positive outcome, fitness enthusiasts across various colonies are forming their own groups of runners and making running an activity to bond over. According to the Hyderabad Runners Group, at least four new runners are joining their group daily — an increase of at least 20 per cent. Rajesh Vetcha, the founder of Hyderabad Runners says, “During this year’s Hyderabad marathon, 44 per cent of the participants were first-timers. There could be various reasons behind it. One is health-consciousness; second, the awareness factor; and third, social pressure. When you run, two of friends or family members think ‘If he can, why can’t I’. Offer them tips and encourage them to run. And I am sure the numbers will increase the coming year as well.”
What is important is to create an ecosystem — a handhold to support people, feels Rajesh. “Earlier, our focus was on corporate events. But we got very good response from gated communities who run at their residence. Some of our members train and motivate them and thus, the Hyderabadi Runners reached out to more people this year.”
Satish Raju from the PBEL City, a gated community which formed its own running group, says, “Almost 200 people participated in our recent running event. There is a growing interest among people to take up running, and hence the numbers too are growing.”
Seshadri Kothandaraman, a member of another running group created within a gated community, says, “More people have joined our group as well. More participation is seen for running events. When they have a motivation or a goal that they need to complete certain number of kilometres on certain date, we see motivation and increased participation. Since the Mumbai marathon (January 17) is nearing, a lot of people are joining us for training at the Gachibowli Stadium.”
Seshadri adds that when it comes to fitness, only a few dedicated people run every day. He says the number is not stable and keeps changing throughout the year. Here’s why more people should take up running. “After walking, the next easier exercise is running. You don’t need a court, a racquet or a swimming pool; all you need are shoes and a path where you could run. It is the most convenient, simple, accessible and inexpensive healthy activity,” says Rajesh.
Adds Satish, “Most of us are living a sedentary lifestyle; so we should make running part of our schedule. Running can’t do you any harm. When you run with experienced runners, you bust a lot of myths associated with running; you won’t have injuries. We don’t advocate running 7 days a week, 3 to 4 days is okay, and we ask people to increase the mileage gradually. We promote an injury-free running. Running can also be taken up at any age; we also have people in the late 40s and 50s running with us. The best thing is that our group has more women runners.”