65 km relay run - Traffic safety by Thozhan

A long array of awesomeness happened yesterday on Thozhan's 65 km relay run to create awareness on the importance of following traffic rules. Capturing those awesome moments here.

Pre Event

  1. Early morning cycling with Gowri to the spot.
  2. Reached a wrong place, Valluvar Kottam side entrance by 5.15 AM.
  3. Then mingled with other volunteers at 5.40 AM at right place.
  4. All volunteers joined in, preparation happening at full pace. We all switched to T. Shirts and caps / helmets.
  5. Accidentally, my slipper tore while playing with Yalini!
  6. Flash mob team arrived and made an awesome performance, boosting our already energetic spirits to next level.

Phase 1 Run

  1. Torch was lit and running kick off by Jahir Hussain sir and so my cycling :)
  2. In a short while, the first team of 3 runners picked up. Despite my personal interests, I made sure we never crossed 5 km / hr speed though others were insisting to go fast.
  3. Tried my level best to keep the triangle formation of cycles with the runner in center. But couldn't control the energetic, dynamic volunteers in a formation.
  4. Then switched to next sets of volunteers at Connemora.
  5. Rajesh Kanna told Sai we are in more than an hour delay and you NEED TO SPEED UP. Wow, that is what I exactly wanted.
  6. Then came Ribbon building with next set of 3 kms. Young souls aged > 50 joined there and ran with full spirit.
  7. Then to Parrys corner. Since we are in a delay I check with the runners that if they are regular runners. If they are, request them to speed up to close the delay. Ragav anna and Boopathy joined there in Parrys. For unfortunate reasons, Ragav anna couldn't run after 100 meters. Other runners closed this gap though.
  8. Next stop @ Triumph of labor statue. Wow, what a place! Drawing energy from the Bay of Bengal to the left. Our young hero Hitesh jogged there and he sped up like nothing closing the time delay.
  9. Then at grandpa Gandhi statue. Next runners joining in. At all spots, we were taking the pledge of 7 points to create Accident Free Nation. Some runners going at their own pace, some runners going above average, thus maintaining the overall time.
  10. Update from Rajesh that we closed the delay from 1 hour to 30 minutes and to keep this delay as buffer. We can sprint in the end and quick finish If needed.

Phase 2 Run

  1. First spot in Phase 2 is at the heart of the city, Gemini fly over. Easwar joined in along with 2 other runners. Myself and Easwar meet after nearly 4 years, our first meet at Blue cross. After taking the pledge, we started shouting the slogans, Vande Mataram and Bharath mata ki jai!
  2. Upto here, I was just cheering up the runners behind. But this is where I started shouting traffic safety slogans to follow traffic rules, to wear helmets and such.
  3. Next stop at Nandanam signal. Excited to see the Water warrior Ashwin and Red drops Knight Akshyaa there. I know Ashwin very well and we sprinted at ~ 10km / hour, closing the gap. We over did it, leaving little space to Akshyaa and the other runner. Akshyaa was the first female runner of 4. Kudos (y)
  4. Then to traffic nightmare, T.Nagar signal. Next set of volunteers picked from there. Then to Saidapet high court signal. Here, another female runner joined in along with Prahalathan, Co-founder at Bhumi and Raj Kannan.
  5. It was sunny when we are running through the further spots Madhya kailash, Tiruvanmiyur, but it did nothing to the fire inside us.
  6. Then at Tiruvanmiyur signal, where I volunteered for my first Traffic Awareness Campaign with Rajesh, Akhil, Dinesh and others some 10 months back. Met Akhil at the same spot, surprise :-) Our 3rd female runner ran here :-) 
  7. Then beating the sun through Taramani spot and to Velachery Vijayanagar signal. Phase 2 ends here.

Phase 3 Run

  1. Time to speed up and close the delay gap from Phase 3. Unaccounted delays happened due to traffic jams and when switching volunteers between spots. From Vijayanagar signal, to velachery railway station to Phoenix mall. 
  2. From there to Hotel Le Meridian. Our first bridge in the whole event came here. I was little afraid on the toll the bridge will take on the runners. Once we near the bridge asked the runner If we needs to switch to other volunteer. He said 'Naah, I am fine' and he ran over the elevated bridge road at the same speed, shouting the traffic safety slogans. I am now seriously worried and asked him to save his energy. He told, "Boss dont worry. I am a runner and I am running for my nation. So I am cool". We shook hands on the move and his name is Ponmari.
  3. Next stop at Hotel Le Meridian. 3 NSS Students joined there and 1 of the guy WAS AWESOME. I didnt had any speedometer with me. But I am sure we touched ~15 km / hour with him, covering a kilometer in under 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Then to Radison Blu and to Airport. The heat of the sun is too much, draining the energy of our volunteers at accelerated rate and slowing us down. Obviously more legs would help. So I took the torch and did a sprint for 0.5 to 1 km.
  5. It's airport and then to OTA Academy. `Lit the Light` Bharath and other volunteers ran from there to Olympia Tech park. Excited to see `Lit the Light` Bharath `running with the light` for a cause :-) (y) Before Kathipara boarding we did 2 switches. Then one volunteer started to cimb up hill through kathipara. I felt very hard to pedal the cycle, but he was running at full pace with ease and energy. Then engal annan Gowri took over from Kathi para mid and he was almost sprinting and reached Olympia in a very short time. One should looked at his face. I saw that internal fire, heart full of desire to see a Accident Free Nation through his face (y)
  6. Then from Olympia to Sivan Park. I did another small quick sprint here from Kasi Theatre signal to the road end, took left at KK Nagar main road and handed over other runners.
  7. Reached Sivan park. Durga Prasad sir, and Ezio / Altair Ganesh Janarthanam and other volunteers took over :-)
  8. Then to Power house. From there around 7 to 8 volunteers pledged and signed for the run including our Core members.
  9. Then started our final stretch to Ashok Pillar.
  10. From pillar, Sabari, Rajesh took over and we rounded the Udhyam Theater block. Finishing exactly at the enter.
  11. We made it ON TIME !!!

Post Event

Inspiring speech by RK, Rajesh, Karthik Pandy, Nakkeeran and others. I was sooo excited to hear that the Chief guest is the Legend Kalyan Iyya, the personal secretary of my grandpa Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. WOOOOOOW. Just writing this statement here sends shivers through my spine. Perfect finish with a legend.

Model Signal Release

Another unexpected excitement. Model Signal document and animation was release by the legend. I was dying to take a pic with him and possibly shake hands. They say "When you want something badly, the whole universe conspires to make it happen" and I seen the proverb gone real that minute. The cosmos did its work. I shook hands with the legend, received a book from his hands and number of cameras took snaps. Mohan was excited the same way for receiving another book from the legend for his Model Signal animation work (y)

Unexpected surprise visit by `Indian National Developers` senior member Priya :-)

More hands joined to create Accident Free Nation. I am fuelled and excited more than ever :-)

Post Post Event

Discussion @ RK Home on event review with awesome Kesari and Chips. Then returned the cycles to Alagappan and Magesh and I reached home at 10. Splendid day!

During the whole run, our Core team volunteers Rk, Dinesh, Rajesh, Nakkeeran, Karthik Pandy, Mohan, Durga prasad sir, Gowri, Hitesh, Saravanan, Manivasagam, Muthuramakrishnan, Mohan Kumar and all others were encouraging, cheering up, keeping up the energy sphere around the runners at perfect shape, that shielded us from the heat, dust, pollution, traffic, broken Chennai roads and numerous obstables.

Let's create Accident Free Nation together!

PS: Atlast, I realize when I see the photos now that I was wearing my Helmet the wrong way!

PSS: Was mastering the arts of Extrovertism today, but in the end RK switched me off!

+Swami Vivekananda: You needed 100 energetic men. right? Here we are preparing ourselves (y) (Give me 100 energetic young men and I shall transform India)