COIMBATORE: Coimbatore on Sunday hosted its first ever duathlon event, which came as a healthy change from the regular marathons and cyclathons.

In a dualthlon, there is a running leg, a cycling leg and it culminates with another running leg. People aged between 15 and 52 participated. Women also participated in the event.

The organisers, Coimbatore Cycling and Coimbatore Runners, said they received over 150 registrations for the event. However, they had to limit the number of participants to 50 as it was the first such event.

“We wanted to ensure that it is organised professionally,” said Prabhu Bala of Coimbatore Cycling.

The event began near Jenny’s Residency on the Avinashi Road where the participants ran a mini-marathon of 5km and returned to the starting point to mount on their bikes. They cycled up to Kaniyur and returned to the starting point covering 40km. Again, they ran for 5km for the last leg of the event.

At the duathlon, the enthusiasm was contagious with people from all walks of life taking part in it.

Balamurugan, one of the older participants at the event, said it was highly challenging. “We have taken part in marathons and also in cyclathons. But doing both at the same time was a little difficult. But it was fun. We are glad that all of us completed it,” he said.

“Earlier, I used to visit the gym for exercising. But when I realized the joy of outdoor activities combined with fitness, I stopped going to the gym,” he said.

Chakravathy Birur, one of the founders of Coimbatore Cycling, said, “Health awareness in the city had increased. It is nice to see people take part in different types of fitness activities.”

The youngest participant at the duathlon, Sanadana, was 15 years old. She was an athlete and loved taking part in such events.

“I have taken part in many marathons and cyclathons earlier. But this was different and I wanted to be a part of this,” she said.

She added that not many of her friends preferred such events. “Youngsters like me are slowly choosing these activities as they not only keep us fit but also add to a healthy mind. I cycled from Ooty to Mysore a few months ago,” she said.

Coimbatore hosted a duathlon on Sunday. In a dualthlon, there is a running leg, a cycling leg and it culminates with another running leg. (TOI pic by J Jackson)

The organisers said they plan to conduct a triathlon next year in which swimming will also be included as an activity.

“In Chennai, an abandoned quarry is being used for this purpose. In Coimbatore, we are yet to identify a water body which is safe,” said Ramesh Ponnusamy of Coimbatore Runners.

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Source: TOI-Che