Mumbai Marathon

Warning Long Post

As you know from the previous post, I was running late for the Marathon. The train finally arrived at the CST station at 6:40am, just 4 minutes before the event starts. We got across the street and started to look for the holding area at Azad Maidan. To our surprise, we had to go all the way towards Metro station and then enter the grounds from Gate 3. By the time we got there, it was already 6:50am. I put on my number “5200”, gave my bag to Sid, who was of the opinion that we should carry our bags and run. Finally better sense prevailed and they decided to keep the bags at the counter. After giving them the bags, I decided to start running. As soon as I got near the start line, there were plenty of people still ahead of me, behind me, music playing loudly and a lot of people cheering us runners. Before I get going, I want to let you know that I have not practiced running since the time I have left Kolkata which is 6 months back. So anyways, I started running from CST at around 7:05am. Initially I was very much ok..reached Flora Fountain in like 2-3 mins, then the Pizzeria and then Trident, took a U turn from there and kept running until I got to Chowpatty. I decided to stop running and then walk for a few minutes since I felt I was getting tired. The lack of practice had started to show up. After walking for a few minutes, I ran until Kemps Corner flyover and then walked up the flyover.. started to run, going downhill. The footpaths were full of people cheering us on.. clapping for us. It really felt good. All these people taking time out of their normal Sunday morning, coming down and cheering common people like me running/ walking for a cause. I kept running until I reached Heera Panna, assuming that I will be going back very soon. I soon went past by Race Course and reached 10km mark. It was there that I realized I was cramping up big time. So I started stretching my legs and walked until flyover at the Atria Mall, turned around and started running. After 12km mark, every step that I was taking was actually amplifying my pain. With my legs cramped, I wanted to give up. I don’t know what kept me going. May be cheering of my friends, with whom I was in constant touch with, may it was my cousin who asked me not to give up or maybe it was me.. I dont know. On reaching the race course on my way back I started running and ran until I reach Pedder Road flyover. There again there were people who gave us Parle G biscuits and water. I had a couple of biscuits and got a few pats on my back and encouragement to keep running. I walked up the flyover and started to run on reaching the midway part and kept running until I hit Wilson College at Chowpatty. I think there I had breached the 16km mark. It was then that I realized that my body cannot take it anymore. I was very badly cramped up. I did a few stretches again and settled down at a chair where I was given an icepack. I kept the icepack on my legs for a couple of mins and started to walk again. The next 2.5kms were a mixture of walk, brisk walk and run in total agony. On reaching the 19km mark, I started to run again. A lot of people were telling, that it is just 2 more kms, you can do it. Finally on reaching the 20 km mark, I slowed down, kept running and finished at 10:15am. A total time of 3hrs 10 mins. I know it is not great.. but I am really proud of this feat.

I finally realized how much stress I had put my body under when I was standing to collect the certificate of participation. I could barely stand. I took my certificate and looked at it with a certain amount of pride and satisfaction. I know what I had endured to get that, the amount of pain I went through (still going through), the way I pushed myself to my limits.. so considering all this.. I was really happy.

On a side note, I don’t want this to sound like sour grapes.. I read a lot of news reports about the Marathon and almost all of them carried news about celebrities. I feel the Marathon should not about the celebrities who just come out to support or do whatever they are there to do. It should be about common people. While I was running, there was this 65+ yr old lady who was carrying the Indian flag and ran all the way through the half marathon. There was this girl, was extremely tired and exhausted, but kept going. This old uncle, who was way in his 70’s running the senior marathon. These are the stories which people need to be told, instead of flashing celebrities to sell the paper.

Azad Maiden at the end of the Marathon looked like a ‘Kachra Maiden’. There were so many orange peels, banana peels etc on the ground..people just throwing them anywhere instead of the garbage cans, which I didn’t see much of.

All in all it was an awesome event. I really enjoyed running the race and look forward to running it next year again.

A hard place

Mumbai, as I have observed over the last 6 months, is a very difficult place for someone who is new to the city. The sheer pace of life, the number of people on the streets, the traffic etc.. can take a toll on anyone who is not used to such frenetic life. I encountered one such person today in the train. This boy was sitting on the 4th seat and was feeling uncomfortable, so he was moving his arms, head around and constantly irking his fellow passengers. He finally got up at Bandra to get down at Dadar. Once the station arrived, the crowd got empty and this fellow went to the other side of the door. After a few seconds, I heard a girl cry out a name. On hearing the name, the boy responded but it was too late for him to get down. By that time, the people had already started boarding the train. He tried to move against the crowd and get down.. but it was an impossible task. The train started moving… the shouts of the girl for that boy kept on increasing.. until the train moved out of the station. The boy, even though new in the city, kept his composure and asked where the next station would come. Unfortunately for him, he was in the fast train and thus he would have only got down at Mumbai Central. I didnt see him get down at that station. I hope he is ok and reunites with the people he left behind at Dadar station. In some ways this city is very cruel. May be in some other city, people might have made way for him to get down.. but not today, not in Mumbai where everyone is running to get somewhere.