Published: 22nd September 2021
Why SRM students ran a 280-kilometre relay from Tiruchy to Chennai, carrying a lit torch, in 34 hours flat
SRM Institute of Science and Technology's College of Physiotherapy organised a relay run from its Tiruchy campus to its Kattankulathur campus to mark World Physiotherapy Day
One of the most iconic parts of any Olympic Games is the torch relay. The Olympic torch travels across countries, from one sportsperson to another, in a bid to keep the fire and, thereby, the Olympic spirit burning. It was with the aim to replicate the Olympic torch relay and what it represents that SRM Institute of Science and Technology's College of Physiotherapy organised the longest continuous overnight relay from its Tiruchy campus to its Kattankulathur campus in Chennai. The event was organised as part of World Physiotherapy Day on September 8 and has now made its way to the Asia Book of Records as well as the India Book of Records.
The relay began on the morning of September 7 and continued for 34 hours and a distance of about 280 kilometres, till the evening of September 8. Speaking about the event, College of Physiotherapy's Assistant Professor Vincent Jeyaraj D, who is the official spokesperson for the event, said, "We organise an event every year on this occasion. This year, the department decided to do something for the community. The relay not only helped create awareness about physiotherapy and physical health, but it also connected the people of the community with each other, who were essentially isolated due to the pandemic."
Lighting the torch at SRMIST
Over a hundred undergraduate and postgraduate physiotherapy students volunteered to participate in the event. "We had a strict selection procedure in place. All candidates had to be vaccinated and pass the physical examination for which they received training over the last three months. Around 75 candidates qualified for the run and they were sorted into groups. Before the actual run, the entire distance was clocked around the SRM campus as practice," says Vincent. To ensure that the runners are safe, the institute organised a convoy containing police patrols, medical aid, food and other supplies to accompany them during the run.
Every student had to run for one kilometre before they handed over the torch to another student. "A dedicated person travelled with the convoy to ensure that the flame didn't die," explains Vincent. Since there was 280 kilometres to cover and just 74 students, all the students had to run four times to complete the relay. "Once a student finished running their kilometre, they were only allowed to run five hours later. During this period, students usually rested, ate and travelled on the bus to the next location," says Vincent. Both male and female students participated in the relay.
In their effort to involve the community, the department invited ten transpersons to the campus who bore the torch before the run began. Besides them, 20 young para-athletes were also invited. "These people are very much a part of the community. They, along with a naval officer, participated in the inaugural ceremony before the run and were also present when the relay concluded at Kattankulathur," says Vincent. "Physiotherapists sometimes do not perform the exercise that they suggest. Through this event, we wanted to lead by example and educate the people about the importance of physical health, especially amid the pandemic," concludes Vincent.