An array of lush green trees with rain dripping from the bright tender leaves, an eye-pleasing backdrop showcasing the mist cascading down the tall blue mountains and waves of pleasant gentle breeze carrying the sweet petrichor smell that filled the fresh morning air, welcomed the participants to the first trail run event -Run for Anamalais, an annual fundraiser supporting the education programme for the tribal kids of the Anamalai’s.
The event was organized by Wild Wing Trust, an NGO which supports various conservation initiatives in the Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR). Formed by individuals who are passionate about wildlife, environment and well being of the society; WWT aims to provide quality education to the tribal kids and also to motivate the frontline staff involved in environmental protection of the ATR.
Run for Anamalais is a unique trail run and first of its kind in the area, with the route venturing into the coconut yards, orchards and canals located in the buffer zone of the tiger reserve. The trail route was designed to create awareness about the richness of natural wealth in our neighbourhood by allowing town/city dwellers to experience it.
We (The Pollachi Papyrus Team) arrived at Maitreyi Vedic Village on Saturday evening, volunteering to lend a helping hand. Saravanan Chandrasekar- the managing trustee of Wild Wing Trust briefed us about the trail route, the registration procedures to be followed the next morning and allocated roles for each of us. It was very encouraging and inspiring to work alongside a group of young volunteers. Their hard labor didn’t seem to hinder their excitement with which they performed their duties. Dinner was served at Maitreyi Vedic village and it allowed us to interact further and I made some new friends. I understood that some of them have been volunteering on weekends on various conservation issues, even prior to the event.
We stayed over at a friend’s farm house at Sethumadai, a blissful locale, so close to the jungle and the mountains. The night stay at the farm house was accompanied by the soulful melody of the rains, as we woke up mesmerized, witnessing the prussian blue skies. The rain has subsided by then, leaving behind a heavenly atmosphere that set the tone for the morning that followed.
En route to the venue, the early morning rays slowly revealed the rain magic and I witnessed heavenly colours in the skyline like never before.
As we arrived at the Temple of consciousness, Aliyar, the participants had started arriving already at the venue, warming up for the run and the very sight of that lifted the spirits inside of me.
The first of all categories, the 10 KM run was flagged off at 7:15 AM by Ms.Vanitha Mohan, the Managing trustee of Siruthuli, an organization aimed to do support the environmental causes in Coimbatore. The bikers and the support cyclists led the runners along the trail route, after the countdown that marked the beginning of the event.
The trail route started from Temple of Consciousness, ventured into Maitreyi vedic village, reached Panapallam along the feeder canal before returning back in the same route for finish line.
Several refreshment points were organizeed along the trail route to provide drinks and refreshments for the runners.
The 5KM run and the 3KM run was flagged off by Mr. Chinnaswamy, Managing trustee of Temple of consciousness and Mr. Shankar Vanavarayar, Joint Correspondent of Kumaraguru College of Technology respectively.
There was enthusiasm throughout the run as people participated for different reasons – some to show the support for the cause the event, some who wanted to gain a sense of accomplishment, and some to show their love for the sport. Some focused participants ran solo and few ran in groups.
The children were the most enthusiastic of them all as their parents ran along, cheering them up.
More than 400 people spread across three different formats (3KM, 5KM and 10 KM) participated in the trail run and all the participants who finished the run were awarded with participation medals.
The winners were awarded by Mr. Shankar Vanavarayar and the support staff who monitored the run were honored by other dignitaries.
An aura of happiness and accomplishment filled the place as the event drew to a close.
Here are few excerpts from what I got to hear from the participants on their experience
‘’ This is the second marathon I am taking part in and I participated in this event to show my support to conserve environment.” said Surya, a school student, accompanied by his mother.
‘’ I participated in this marathon to show my support for the cause. I also liked the climate and the experience of running in a track surrounded by greenery” quoted Hemalatha, an Electrical Engineering student from Coimbatore.
“I accompanied my brother to this event. He is an athlete. I took part in the 5KM run and finished in 33 minutes’’ said another student.
Saravanan Chandrasekar, thanked the participants for the support, the organizers and volunteers who towards making the event successful.
We had a sumptuous breakfast at The Temple of Consciousness alongside few participants and as we drove back to Pollachi, a sense of accomplishment and content filled my heart as my eyes slowly shut down. It was an early start to a Sunday morning after all.
The major activities of Wild Wing Trust include Tribal education, Nature awareness programs and capacity building programs for the frontline staff of the forest department. To contribute or to get in touch with the Wild Wing Trust, visit www.wildwingtrust.org
Photo Credits – Janani Divakar