The Stories Behind: Thaarumaaru Runners, a fitness group that goes the extra mile for the community

GIVE BACK TO THE COMMUNITY

As membership grew, the founders decided they could do more to help the Indian community and beyond.

“The fact that we managed to increase the numbers so significantly in a short period of time…we sat down and decided maybe we could do a little bit more,” Mr Ramesh said.

For example, in May the group organized a run to raise funds for the Singapore Indian Education Trust, which helps Singaporean Indian students from low-income families.

A team of 10 runners from the group ran a mile per hour for 26 hours, aiming to raise S$30,000.

They tried their luck by reaching out to Mr. Shanmugam, who to the surprise of the group agreed to run with them for a mile.

In the end, the group managed to triple their goal, raising around S$90,000 in total.

“I don’t think anyone even thought we would reach S$90,000, but (the fundraiser) really showed what a simple hobby like running and a simple band like this can really do. “said Mr. Eswara.

In June, the group also collaborated with the Singapore Indian Development Association (Sinda), a self-help group for the Indian community, to mentor young people and introduce them to the sport.

Members of Thaarumaaru Runners teamed up with around 40 students aged 13-18 from underprivileged backgrounds to run a short race and chat with each other.

“Although it was something very enriching for the students, the volunteers among us who participated in it also came away very satisfied,” said Mr Ramesh.

He added that around five to six students have continued to regularly join the running group for weekend races as well.

Mr Ramesh added that sometimes after their weekend shopping, the group worked with grassroots organizations to distribute grocery parcels to less fortunate households.

EVERYONE IS WELCOME

As the race drew to a close, the group of runners thinned out as we started to run at our own pace. I found myself chatting with Micro Ramesh, the migrant worker, for most of the second half of the ride.

He told me how joining the group sparked his love for running and told me that when he worked as a truck driver picking up other construction workers, he sometimes took short trips to different parts of the island between his shifts.

“Singapore Park Connectors are very good for racing,” he said.

Towards the last kilometers, we encouraged each other as the sun rose higher in the sky and the temperatures rose.

When we finally finished the race, we bumped our fists before I bent over in exhaustion.

The other runners quickly poured in, giving each other high fives, chatting and taking selfies.

About Bradley J. Bridges

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