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Soon, a marathon in veshtis, half-sarees to celebrate tradition
Marathons are popular in Chennai today, with everyone from fitness enthusiasts to entire families using it as an opportunity to indulge in a healthy activity – and hit personal goals in the process. But what if it can be used to promote a bigger cause, one that would strike a chord with Tamilians across town?
That is what the team of Old Madras Foundation had in mind when they conceptualised the ‘traditionalathon’, a marathon with a difference that would promote Tamil culture and tradition.
Be it farming attire or Bharatanatyam costumes, veshtis or half-sarees, the enterprising team is roping in people from across Chennai to dress up as their favourite representation of Tamil culture while taking on the 1K, 3K, 5K or 10K versions of the marathon. The event is set to happen in the second week of July, with participants assembling at Besant Nagar beach.
“However, costumes aren’t mandatory, as some serious runners have given us feedback saying they won’t be able to compete properly in saris and dhotis! But we are expecting a crowd of over 7,000, and many of them to participate in the spirit of the event,” said AR Gowtham Raj, general secretary of the organisation.
Started around eight months ago, the Old Madras Foundation was conceived in a bid to provide a platform for forgotten and surviving Tamil art forms and its practitioners by AC Krithik Raam. “Right from inception, we have been involved in various activities towards conserving our tradition for the future generations.
We have a varied topology ranging from supporting farmers in our agriculture-dependent economy to working for a pollution- free environment. Partnerships have been established with colleges and other foundations to garner a strong volunteer base that interacts with students across Tamil Nadu to further out case,” Gowtham said.
With plans to expand their venture all over India, (and revive ancient art forms throughout the country) the team is betting on the traditionalathon for now to bring a healthy balance of young and old together.
“It would be a nostalgic event for seniors, and a learning experience for the younger generation. Various art forms, dances, food and sports associated with our region shall be highlighted to celebrate our roots and we hope that will pave the way for our work in the future,” they conclude.