BySeptember 12, 2018
New beginnings and coming to college bring with it a sense of isolation and self-doubt. We all want to be a part of something bigger. We all want to have a story to tell. So did I. Being completely apathetic to the idea of fitness, I walked into Manipal aspiring to achieve great things.
Every time I’d go around exploring the town, I’d see multiple groups of runners who seemed to be goofing around and having a great time. After enquiring about their whereabouts, I was told that they were all from the same student club, Manipal Runners’ Club (MRC). Hearing about a club that encompassed physical health as well as guaranteed fun, instantly fascinated me. Being socially awkward as well as physically unfit, I was slightly apprehensive about joining MRC for a group run, where I’d have to run alongside some of the swiftest runners in the town. My first run with the club was nothing like what I’d imagined it to be. Everyone who I met was extremely warm, welcoming and surprisingly, wanted to run along with me.
Being a first year student, running also helped me discover some of the most scenic destinations in Manipal. Every Sunday morning, when the rest of the city would laze around in their beds, we would be off to explore a beach, or river or bridge. It was definitely one of the weirdest clubs; we all willingly signed up for physically and mentally torturing our bodies and would celebrate aches, pains and soreness! Even though we were running a competitive sport, there wasn’t the slightest bit of competition between us, fellow runners and all of us just focused on getting better every single day. It took me a while to understand how insane every runner is in his/her own way. Running as a hobby literally means subjecting and pushing your body as well as mind to its utmost limits, sometimes till a point where you simply break. Why would anyone willingly do this to themselves?
Manipal Runners’ Club organizes one of the biggest events in the town, Manipal Marathon, in the month of February. The day of the marathon is one of its kind. Thousands of students, professors, parents and people from all age groups and different walks of life come together for a single cause – Running. It is the only time of the year where people look forward to getting out of bed at 5 a.m. The energetic environment is contagious to absolutely anyone around. In its second edition, Manipal Marathon attracted over six thousand runners and the number is only set to increase!
Apart from the Marathon, Manipal Runners’ Club organizes various runs for raising awareness about multiple social issues. One such run was organized in association with ‘Footsteps to Inspire’, an initiative by a Claire McFarlane, a victim of rape. She raised her voice against sexual assault by running in coastal cities, like Manipal, all around the world. Another such run was organized to raise awareness against the growing menace of drug abuse in the student community. Both the runs attracted hundreds of students from all colleges in the town and managed to create conversation and instill a sense of harmony amongst students.
One of the reasons as to why Manipal Runners’ Club thrives is because of the relentless support it receives from the University. MRC is a place not only to discover yourself, but is also a wonderful platform for creating yourself. I know for a fact that it has given me memories to last a lifetime and friends, who are as passionate as I am about a sport that is still relatively new in the country.
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