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    First ever  ‘Chennai  Kidathon’  draws over  1,500 runners to  the starting line

    You can expect double the crowd support at the city’s next marathon. Parents, siblings and grandparents are gearing up to play cheerleaders at the YMCA Grounds on August 17. And understandably so—given the runners will be a lot shorter than usual. The first-ever Chennai Kidathon, organised by Round Table 94, is open for tiny tots as young as three, tweens and teens up to 14. It has generated such a buzz in schools and social media that organisers have already registered a massive 1,550 runners. “We can’t accommodate any more as registrations are closed,” says Mehul Nanavati, chairman of Round Table 94—a good thing, as each race will have close to 300 little ones at the starting line.

    Winners all
    With categories ranging from 500 metres to 5 km (based on age group), this marathon is intended to promote fitness among young children. And fitness junkie Neville Bilimoria, who has also been mentoring students by visiting schools like Sishya and Gill Adarsh Matriculation Higher Secondary School over the last couple of months, stresses, “We explain to the kids it’s not a race, it’s a marathon. So every finisher gets a medal, even if they walk all the way.” Hopefully, this piece of news will also give kids incentive not to push and shove and, instead, to focus on keeping up a steady pace.
    The organisers have also tied up with Fitness One and Pink centres so that runners can stop by and get tips from trainers.

    Early start
    To get a better idea of how these youngsters are revving up for the big day, we catch up with 10-year-old Vivaan Nanavati. Fresh from his post-exam nap, he says brightly, “I signed up because I want to take part in the big marathons when I grow up. I wake up at 5.30 am and do six laps down my lane. And I’ve been doing this for about four years now.” What’s the secret to waking up early? He has an easy answer, “If I don’t, I’ll be late to school and that means minus five on all my tests!”

    Being  marathon ready

    • Start them slow (1 km is a good beginner’s distance)
    • Motivate him/her with funky shoes or a fun playlist
    • Help your little one be consistent with practice by waking up earlier than them and encouraging them
    • Get your child a running buddy—this helps with healthy competition
    • Make sure your child gets a good night’s rest before D-Day
    • Give your child a carbohydrate-rich meal (pasta/rice) the night before (around 7.30 pm) to boost energy levels
    • Avoid fatty or spicy foods the night before
    •  Wear loose, cotton/ dry fit clothes on marathon day
    The Chennai Kidathon is happening at the YMCA Grounds, Nandanam, on August 17. The event will kick off at 6.30 am. Details: 9094165168.

    —Sonali Shenoy

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