Sunday, January 16, 2005

The finish post

Was able to complete the 1/2 marathon in 2 hrs 22 min 32 seconds. More than the exhilaration of completing the run, it was more a feeling of quiet satisfaction. You can't really exult and pump your fists in the air after running for 2 1/2 hours non stop. Never thought, I would be able to make it without leg muscles sending critical SOS signals or having to sit and stretch for a while. But it was a consistent and a smooth race and very very pleased with the outcome. Possibly, could have run faster, but it was my first race, and you can't really tell if your body can take the pace. Also, the route was quite treacherous, esp along the Babulnath to Mahalaxmi stretch. Its quite hilly, and joy-ridey, and many casualties (people hyperventilating, dehydration, muscle cramps, passing out) occured around this section. In fact, during the return stretch hardly anyone was running. Everyone was literally dragging this feet along.

Still, the support of the people was awesome. So many people had come down to cheer the runners, it was truly amazing. It certainly takes your mind off the incredible agony you are going through. Mumbaiites were shouting "Go Mumbai Go", "Cmon India", "Run, dont give up", and so on. Also, the facilities along the entire track - medical aid, water, electrol etc were quite adequate. Some things can be surely improved, but given the participation and enthusiasm levels, things are bound to go a bit awry.

The last 3 kms of our race saw us join the 7 km runners (rather strollers) on their return march, which halted my progress considerably. I had to weave in and out of the crowd, to keep my momentum going. Was afraid that pain may set in if I slow down or stop. Still, the 7 km dream run was the one that saw the largest participation (18000) and was the most colourful. A number of them were supporting and advertising the charities of their choice - shouting slogans and adding to the atmosphere and melee. Can't complain about too much of a good thing, can you?

A number of celebrities were also there. Anil Ambani, running 2 kms ahead of me around the half way mark. Saw Jaya Bachchan, a bored Abhishek Bachchan, Azharuddin around the flag post. Didn't get a chance to see the others.

So, all in all a great event. Apart from the blisters, I have a great memories to carry home with me. The dabba walla running in fits and starts (with every cheer from the crowd, he would pick up speed), the blind man running at a fair speed with his guide, a really old frail man, ahead of me even around 15 kms mark (was he cheating?), a group of guys carrying an Indian flag, on an endless pole, kids serving water at an unofficial water post) along the Babulnath stretch, a tree man running for environmental awareness.

Truly, a great race are we.
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