Undoubtedly my favorite event in Mumbai, this was my fourth tryst. Twice in dream run, I chose to step out of the dream run the 21km Half-Marathon last year. This year too, I was keen to repeat it, albeit with no training in months and some extra pounds.
Around 37,000 people ran the event this year. While the daunting full marathon had its usual suspects from Africa as its undisputed winners, around 11,000 people ran the half-marathon and twice the number in the dream run that combines glamour and fun! It also has a lot of celebrities coming down to add color to the happenings around.
As an improvement from no official runners, to dream run teams in the past, this year saw a 140-strong team from SEBI led by Member Abraham who finished his half-marathon in little over two hours. While the majority ran the dream run, there were around 10 of us for the half-marathon and one in the full marathon!
Lining up for the start, my humble goal was to finish it in 3 hours. The first run on the famed Bandra-Worli Sealink was great. Its dominating pillars & cables flowing on either side with the sun rising on the left were inspiring. The only hitch was that there were no water booths on the Sealink. I did have a chat about this with an official who said that many had complained about it and that it would be set right next year.
After crossing the 12km my legs let me down. Don’t blame them; just blame my lack of practice! If a calf sprain wasn’t sufficient, my micro-bounce Adidas shoes bruised me. Well, invariably, I had to revise my target to reach the finish by 1030hours, after which I wouldn’t get a timing certificate. Injury or not, the Marathon is about pushing oneself and testing our spirit and guts against the distance, isn’t it? So, I went on.
From here on, it was here that the spirit of Mumbai that kept me going. Be it the little kids on Pedder Road who distributed glasses of Tang, urchins assisting volunteers in distributing water or many residents of the posh South Mumbai distributing biscuits and cheering runners. A bit of encouragement sure helps in running a little more.
As the end approached I wondered whether reach by 1030hours. Sadly though, I reached one-a-half minutes later than that. Some rotten luck! As I limped from finish to the medical camp, I sure thought about the lesson of the day i.e., to wake up and regain fitness. Can I do it in two hours next year? I don’t know, but now, I’ll try! The pleasure-pain that my legs still have is a polite warning that says “Dude, keep fit”.
The climax was the gathering at the Standard Chartered family marquee where the SEBI team was treated well, considering the contribution to charities this year. Our senior officials accepted a memento from the organizers for this. Now that the running bug has bitten, I’m sure we can put together a stronger running team next year!