Ram Viswanathan: Chennai's Marathon Man

Father. Engineer. IBMer. Runner? Meet Chennai's marathon man, Ram Viswanathan. He started running seriously about eight years ago, and has managed to complete over 50 marathons!

Ram Viswanathan co-founded the Chennai Runners in 2006.

Father. Engineer. IBMer. Runner? Meet Chennai's marathon man, Ram Viswanathan. He started running seriously about eight years ago, and has managed to complete over 50 marathons!

"I used to be into roller-blading and in-line skating back in the United States but I started looking for something to do when I came to India," he said."My son happened to see a poster in his school of a running event and he suggested I go for it. I used to run in my school and college days but I got back into running through this particular incident and there has been no turning back!"

The Chennai Marathon was originally scheduled to take place in December but was re-scheduled after the devastating Chennai floods. Ram believes he saw a different face of Chennai during the disaster and thinks running can also bring the community together.

"Running everywhere in the world, brings people together. Everyone is there with their kids, their families. It is like a big block party!" he said.

A number of marathons have popped up all over India in recent years ranging from those of competitive international standards to the smaller ones for a cause.

Ram said, "This 'Run Group Movement' in Chennai and in India has picked up a lot over the last 10 years or so. I would say it is still with the middle class and I would like to see its horizons broaden where people from all backgrounds are able to participate and they take it as a lifestyle thing."

Having run a number of marathons in the United States, Ram picks out his preferred American running destination. "The Big Sur Marathon in California is one of my favourites. It runs through some of the most scenic places with a terriffic landscape on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. It is a truly beautiful route."