In February 2008, we decided to organise a marathon to celebrate the 40 years of the founding of Auroville. A training program was scheduled for the residents of Auroville and surrounding villages. We also invited a few runners from Chennai and Bangalore. The event was called ‘Running the Spiral’. The enthusiastic response from the internal and external participants encouraged us to make it an annual event.
Running a marathon is a dream: It is intense, it is arduous, it is challenging both physically and mentally and it demands all of you - commitment, endurance, persistence, focus. The training schedule runs for months demanding more and more from oneself. It has in itself the stories of one’s triumph over disasters and joys over sorrows. There will be times when one wants to give up and throw in the towel and there will be times when you are found wanting to do more. The whole process is similar to the polishing of diamond - the person slowly starts to focus and gets aligned in more ways than one. It brings in a great deal of confidence, courage and self-discipline. It is an experience of a lifetime and regular runners are always found wanting more from it. Running with the group increases the joy from the activity. It brings out the competitive nature in oneself, yet promotes the higher values of comradeship.
The pinnacle of exhilaration that one derives from running is often referred to as ‘Runner’s High’. Scientists spent years trying to find evidence of it. Every runner has heard about it, experienced it and enjoyed it. Such intense euphoria is often experienced once a person transcends his physical and mental limits. We want everyone to enjoy that ‘experience’ and say with a pride ‘I am a marathon runner’. The challenge of running 42.195 Kms is not just about one’s physical attributes of strength and stamina but also about the mental attributes like determination and concentration. Thus, it brings out the true innate nature in every person who attempts it.