‘Twisterhood’ and the school of running wizardry

On the eve of Tower Twisters’ anniversary, a look at the systems that make this running group special

On the eve of Tower Twisters’ anniversary, a look at the systems that make this running group special

Imagine a Zoom session on pure math by professors, occasionally interspersed with a raw recital of the first ten numbers by preschoolers.

Although both exercises are about math, throwing them together is incongruous. Tower Twisters, a chapter of Chennai Runners, saw a similar mismatch with the result that it now works with four official WhatsApp groups.

Vikram Mohan, one of the founders of Tower Twisters, notes that a WhatsApp group that hosts members with blinders, who are fixated only on running. The group has a low tolerance threshold for attempts to get a non-running line in, straight, or to the side.

There’s another one for members “who take running seriously” but can’t resist the temptation to run through every topic, “chatting to the glory” as Vikram puts it. This group approves of these digressions, since almost everyone is guilty of them at one time or another.

Another WhatsApp group is for cycling enthusiasts.

The fourth is for the “tenderfeet” who start their first runs and it’s called an incubation group. Being baptized in the running brotherhood though this group is a trial by fire. The term “incubation” brings the full scope of its meaning to the table, but quietly beats the closer scrutiny behind it. These beginners are “on trial”, their seriousness about running is tacitly measured by the core team members, who are in all four groups.

Vikram explains: “There are people who want to join such clubs, either to network for business or to socialize, or both; we want to keep such people out,” says Vikram. “Don’t get us wrong. We want our members to befriend each other; only that we want friendship to be a by-product of the shared pursuit of excellence in running and fitness training, and not the primary goal. In fact, we’re proud to be so close as a family, and we’ve come up with a name for this bonhomie: Twisterhood.”

The group gets its name from the fact that members practice in the Anna Nagar Tower Park.

One charming cachet the group may like to show off is Strides, an annual running magazine, although the last issue was published more than a few years ago.

The running magazine started in 2017 and is three weeks old. Since the start of the pandemic, the magazine has not had enough feet to make it to the printing press.

When the magazine launched, there was the predictable question, “Why run a magazine, when Chennai Runners has one?”

Vikram explains: “While Chennai Runners’ magazine would make better runners out of those who already run, our magazine focuses on couch Potatoes with the aim of turning them into runners. It is intended as a guideline for someone who has let go of the couch and needs help getting started. A newcomer would have those questions for the group. How fast do you run? Can I keep up with you? There may also be questions about safety, especially for women who join the group.”

In its three years in circulation, the magazine would always appear around Tower Twisters’ anniversary – April 2 – and magnify the grandeur of the occasion.

“The anniversary run would have remarkably more than the usual number of runners – 1,500 to 2,000 runners,” said K Sathyanarayanan, Tower Twisters core team member.

The magazine makes a living from advertisements from local commercial entities and the proceeds go towards funding exercises to promote running and fitness in the neighborhood. The print order is usually 2,000 copies and will be distributed in Anna Nagar and surrounding areas, up to Nelson Manickam Road, Sathyanarayanan says.

Tower Twisters had nothing big planned for this anniversary, as Omicron kept an eye on the news in January, around the time the chapter kicks off activities marking the run-up to the big day.

“We run challenges in the weeks leading up to the big day: one of them is creating teams and giving them the task of setting goals. A team would bend over backwards to make sure every member attends every day of the match as that would push them on the points list. †

Although this anniversary would be modest, people could still count on an attendance of about 400 runners.

For more information, please call the Tower Twister coordinators at 9840233233 and 9884169590.

SOURCE : www.thehindu.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.