Amanda Chang started running 13 years ago and has not stopped since. “It is a great way to make friends and meet new people,” she says. Amanda also enjoys the fitness aspect of the sport because it gives her a sense of pride to stay healthy. 26-year-old Sachindra Sanders got into marathon running before he [...]


Let’s get together for a run and some fun

Marathon/Triathlon clubs are fast picking up especially in Colombo

Amanda Chang started running 13 years ago and has not stopped since. “It is a great way to make friends and meet new people,” she says. Amanda also enjoys the fitness aspect of the sport because it gives her a sense of pride to stay healthy.

Sachindra Sanders: Loves the sense of accomplishment

26-year-old Sachindra Sanders got into marathon running before he had heard about triathlons. Initially, the interest came about from school, where he took part in the 5000m and 10 km runs.

Swimming was his main sport back then and he ran to build up his endurance and cardio. Soon, he developed a sense of liking towards running. “That euphoria of the runner’s high and the sense of accomplishment” he felt drew him to it.

Ever run a Triathlon or a Marathon? Maybe it’s on your wish-list. A fast growing interest in these sport has seen Marathon/Triathlon clubs in Colombo take the lead in encouraging the sport and although these are two different sports, “all triathletes are marathon runners; but not all marathon runners are triathletes”, they share certain similarities in terms of appeal and mental requirements.

Colombo City Runners (CCR) and Colombo Night Run (CNR) are running communities that were started by a group of enthusiasts. CCR began in 2015 and every Sunday morning sees over 80 runners hit the roads for about a five to 15 kilometre run (depending on your abilities). Though their routes may vary every Sunday, the one thing that remains a constant is the strong sense of family they share.

Begun in 2016, the CNR happens every night on the streets of Colombo. It has evolved into a large community that includes over 250 runners from some 25 countries around the world. Both communities do not charge any fee.

The runners are welcoming of new entrants and make one feel comfortable instantly, motivating and guiding newcomers.

The communities also take part in five km to 42.2 km (full marathon) runs and train for key events such as IronMan and LSR (Colombo) marathons. There were more than 40 participants for the IronMan 2018 event from both communities, we are told.

You can join either community by dropping them a message on Facebook



The CNR and CCR also partner with the Triathlon Club Colombo (TCC), a non-profit organization that was started to promote the sport of triathlon in Sri Lanka. It is the only internationally registered triathlon club in Sri Lanka.

The TCC (Triathlon Club Colombo) was started in 2016 by Tisara Samarasuriya and Mithun Liyanage during a charity ride from Jaffna to Kilinochchi. Tisara, who was an experienced triathlete, wanted to give back to the community. They contacted avid cyclist Chantal, Ashwin Dorengama (youngest Sri Lankan to participate in the IronMan 70.3 World Championship), Denis Crassier, Rashmika Nissanga and Mario Attanayeke and were on their way.

Amanda Chang: Great way to make friends and stay fit

At its core, TCC is a community of athletes that meet up on a regular basis to train and socialize. But the club goes the extra mile to promote a healthy lifestyle, and encourages its community to push their boundaries at various triathlons and multi-sport events around the world.

The platform is currently limited to Colombo and its immediate suburbs but the organizers hope to expand to other regions.

The training depends on the race you want to complete. There are four standard distances. A sprint triathlon is the shortest and would be the easiest to step into the world of triathlon, whereas a full IronMan is the most time-consuming.

A majority of the members train for the 70.3 which is half of the IronMan. This would take an average of three months. “Working around a full time job, you would spend at least ten hours weekly training. Discipline is key if you want to lead a lifestyle such as this,” Tisara tells us.

Although the club does not have a coach yet, experienced athletes are happy to share their knowledge. If you’re new to the sport or you’ve been running for years, this is the perfect way to meet like-minded friends, find new training partners and learn from experienced triathletes.

You could join TCC by simply dropping them a message through Facebook.

Their facebook page could be accessed on

Running requires discipline and is hugely satisfying. Amanda and Sachindra  gave us an insight into their training processes and what keeps them involved with the sport.

Running is rewarding, Amanda smiles. “I came in first in the LSR half this year and first in my age group for IronMan!”

Her training process involves three main workouts a week that she builds on. “The total distance depends on the race I am training for and the distance per workout. I gradually build up to a peak about three weeks prior to my race,” she says. Amanda would then cut back on the distances until the race. She’d also do recovery runs inbetween or swim/cycle.

She does not follow a specific diet but generally tries to maintain a healthy balance, eating a lot of protein, leafy greens and less carbs. “Carbs are good energy but for long distance running, you want to be pretty lean so a more equal protein to carb ratio is better.”

Buoyed by the Ironman challenge: A competitor at the run. Pic by Pubudunie Wickramasekara

For her, the toughest part about running is that it’s so easy to stop when you’ve run 15 kilometres, but still have another 15 kilometres to finish. So she would try to keep her mind occupied by listening to music or a podcast. To keep things exciting, she’d also give herself random pace targets in the middle of the run.

Sachindra who had lost interest in running once he left school, found it again whilst taking part in the charity event ‘Run For Their Lives’ where he came in 6th. After this, he also took part in the LSR (Colombo) run.

Having developed a liking for Triathlons and  the Iron Man competition since 2010, he only managed to take part last year (2018). Realising he didn’t have the time to excel in all three disciplines he took part in a relay team, where he completed the swimming segment of the competition.

He describes Triathlons as a gruelling sport, because you’re not only trying to master one aspect but three. “It takes a lot of money and effort, because you need to make sure your nutrition is in line among other things. It’s a second job,” he says.

Balancing work with his training was tough, he concedes, especially as he works as a lawyer- his only break being in the afternoon.  “But the good thing about running is that you don’t need a gym or equipment, you just need a pair of shoes and somewhere to run.”

He advises any beginner to find a small circuit at the start. When you’re training for something, you need to have time limits in your head as well. And take small steps. Your first run doesn’t have to be long or fast.

“It’s all fun and games, but it can also be dangerous if not done properly. It can cause a lot of wear and tear on your knees and ligaments. Things like stretching, proper equipment and shoes, proper techniques are important,” he shares.

Sharing a strong sense of community: Colombo Night Run (left) and Colombo City Runners (right)

Where and when to run Sachindra and Amanda recommend
Viharamahadevi  Park Colombo 7 for workouts. The park features a  400 metre loop and 2 kilometre loop that is usually empty in the mornings
Japan Friendship Road  and the road near the Spinner Café/Thalawatugoda (3 km loop)Waters Edge and Beddagana wetland park– “there are some really nice paths through the park at Waters Edge and that is connected to Beddagana under the bridge. It’s a nice way to step away from the Colombo traffic,” Amanda says.Running at the crack of dawn or in the evenings usually help. If you’re training for an IronMan some runs in the afternoon would help to prepare you for the heat during the race.

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