When Greek soldier Pheidippides ran from Marathon (a village) to Athens to report the news of victory against the Persians in the Battle of Marathon, little did he know that he was creating a history of the marathon which is becoming a new age fitness trend.
Bright Solomon Raj, a half marathoner, who is been running since his school days and is running a marathon from the past eight years, says, "I run to win as I want to accomplish something. Winning a medal is my major push and I wanted to be in touch with it and did not want to lose out on running post my marriage. When I start running, I feel motivated. Seeing other people run, the desire to run even more increases. From the last two to three years, I have seen a sudden increase in people who run compared to 2007 when I started to run," he says.
"One has to constantly self-motivate to run because of many a time, you tend to lose the enthusiasm for it after a kilometre or two. But the minute you see other participants, you will tend to outdo yourself," adds Bright.
For Thennarasan, senior associate in Dell, it has just been a year of running. "It's not just youngsters, people who are retired and those who have crossed 50 are also very health conscious now. Most of the youngsters start off as a fun run, and they get more health conscious in the process. They get better at it and finally, improvise on their shortcomings. Unknowingly, they also motivate and become an inspiration to others."
"It is an addiction once you start running a marathon and this addiction gets you to perform better," said Thennarasan.
"In my case, one of my friends got me into it as I was a chain smoker and I had confided in him that I wanted to quit smoking. I myself was combating stress issues at one point in time and wanted to become a better person. He was into running and he told me that if I had to quit smoking, I must try and cultivate another habit so that I concentrate more on that and gradually forget to smoke or lose interest in smoking. When you start seeing other people who have become better than you, then you tend to question yourself, 'when they can do then why not me?'" he says.
"Initially, I started with a 5-km-run and in two months, I was able to run a half marathon in 2 hours and 12 minutes and later a full marathon. Though the timing of my full marathon was not great, I was able to finish it."
Sunita Singh, a fitness trainer who also trains marathoners, adds, "The trend to be fit started seven to eight years back. The crowd is precisely the middle-aged lot. The whole concept of going to gym and getting trained is becoming
more popular now."
"The 'strength and conditioning' training is more in demand. I also see working women, housewives and new moms hitting the fitness arena due to increasing health awareness. The first motivation I see among women to become fit is through social media. Once they start working out, the comfort of feeling lighter and healthier pushes them to be fitter," she adds.