Alwarpet in Chennai is birthplace of runners community

Over the last few years, taking part in a marathon has become one of the most favourite activities for Chennaiites. Many people are taking up running seriously, also having a constant watch on their diet and fitness. Many running clubs have sprung up in Chennai with people joining them enthusiastically.

Chennai Runners is one such community of runners that has 16 neighbourhood chapters associated with it, with nearly 12,000 members. Recently the club organised the city’s biggest Marathon – Skechers Performance Chennai Marathon – with more than 25,000 Chennaiites participating in it. Chennai runners, which is now a premium runners club in the city was however initially started in Alwarpet.

“Chennai Runners was started by two running enthusiasts Ram Viswanathan and Harishankar in Alwarpet, Pettai Rappers was the first chapter that was formed 12 years ago and it is also the oldest chapters in Chennai. Only after forming Pettai Rappers, the founders went on to establish Chennai Runners,” says Vinod, who is a coordinator of Pettai Rappers.

According to Vinod, in Pettai Rappers there are 80 active members currently who meet every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday morning, alternating between Dimensions Gym on CP Ramaswamy Road and outside the Madras Boats Club. “We assemble at 5.15 am and start our activity by 5.30 am. Basically, we motivate our members to be more active in life. We discuss health, nutrition and how to progress oneself into running and training for marathons. We help them learn the basic warm-ups and exercises that are essential before they start running,” he said.

About the running scenario in Chennai Vinod feels that it is growing leaps and bounds. “A lot of people are showing interest to run. Also, many people are willing to join running clubs. The participation in the Chennai marathon too is increasing year by year. This year we had 25,000 participants compared to the 20,000 last year,” he said.

According to him men and women alike find it easy to join a club as basically, it is free to join without any fees and in quick time they can learn the nuances involved in running, “Also there is no age limit to join the club and since running is a group activity people also have the opportunity to interact with each other which gives a feel-good factor,” says Vinod who joined the club only two years ago.

Pettai Rappers also has plans to start an exclusive programme for beginners from February For more details contact Vinod at 98402 41121 or Vrunda at 99620 41800. Also visit

Aaditya Anand M