Monday, January 28, 2008

Another Year, Another Marathon !!!!!

It was that time of the year again. If its the third Sunday of January in Mumbai, then it must be the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon. It is the day when the city changes itself. It literally comes to a halt (what with no traffic plying on Marine Drive, Peddar Road and outside CST) and it celebrates the spirit of human endurance which overcomes all physical and mental odds to reach that coveted finishing line. Having debuted in the 2007 edition (and managed to do decently for a first-timer), I was looking forward to the 2008 edition last Sunday (20th Jan). And with some amount of training in the gym (although the maximum I managed to run at a stretch was a paltry 2 km), I secretly hoped to improve on my last year's time.

Getting to Azad Maidan was also not without its fun. Took the train from Goregoan at the unearthly time of 5.12 am and immediately saw groups of people in the train going to the same destination as me, all with their running nos. proudly displayed on their shirts. At Jogeshwari, a big contingent (about 15 in all) of Gujratis strode in, all men and women in their 40s, and full on enthusiasm. They were participating in the half-marathon (same as me), and if they did manage to complete it, then hats off to them !!!! And, of course, like others from that part of the world, they could not resist opening a bag and helping themselves to fruits on the way !!!

I reached Azad Maidan in time for the race start at 6.45 am. About 8000 runners took part in the half marathon, which was the earliest race to start (and thank god for that, since it meant that we were more than halfway through by the time the heat begin to play its part). The race started at CST amidst great roars, cheer-leaders and blaring music, all fit for a great occassion such as this. For the first 2 kms or so (till Air India bldg via Churchgate) most people were either on a light jog or were just ambling along (the contenders, of course, had gone way ahead). After taking the U-turn at Oberoi, the field began to split up. The ones more serious started to run at a brisk pace while the ones more intent on just finishing the race, or atleast have a good morning's workout, continued their gentle trot. Marine Drive, as usual, was a splendid sight. With no traffic on the road, a nip in the air (it was slightly cooler than last year) coupled with a gentle mist, it was the perfect setting for a morning walk or jog. By the time I neared Chowpatty (about 6 kms in 50 min), the leaders passed me on their way back (must have completed about 15km !!). The leaders were well appluaded by the hundreds of people lining up the course,

I continued on through Babulnath temple, Kemps Corner flyover and touched the 10km mark on the Haji Ali stretch in about 1 hrs 20 min. At that time, the roads were partly cleared for the arrival of the full marathoners (who had covered the same distance as me in about 45 minutes less, a fantastic achievement !). But I was pretty well satisfied with my effort so far, given that last year those guys crossed me just after the 8km mark. Nevertheless, the body was beginning to grumble. The run-walk-run-walk routine also did not help. Turning near the Mela Restaurent at Worli (to start the return journey) was a great high, since it meant now that I was running towards the finish line rather than away from it. By that time, the sun had appeared over the Mumbai sky-scrapers in the East and the heat was beginning to show. Thankfully though, good arrangements had been made to provide water and energy drinks throughout the course. To add to that, good samaritans from the neighbouring buildings (esp along Peddar Rd) also provided water and biscuits to the participants. By the end of 2 hours, I had done about 14.5 kms and was in good shape, except for the legs. Evidently, the preperation in the gym was paying off. In fact, I kept on running in bursts even between the 19th and 20th km (unlike last year, where I only walked after the 8 km mark). And it was that energy and adrenaline that kept me going all the way to the finish line, which I crossed in 3 hrs 6 minutes, a significant improvement over the 3 hrs 45 min last year. And there have been no big injuries afterwards, apart from a bad right heel which has sinced healed. It was one of the most satisfiying days of my life !!!

Mumbai Marathon 2009, here I come !!!



Monsieur K said...

Hey Amit,

mast vaatla vaachun! sahi lihila aahes ekdam! this was my first mumbai marathon - aani khup majaa aali (nantar kahi divas paayaanchi vaat laagli, tey veglach!)

lets hope we practise more for next year's edition and can finish the half within 2 hours :)


sunita said...

hi Amit
u hv nicely expressed ur experience in marthon..
so hopefully this yr also u must be joining..all the best for it...

Amit i need a help from u
i am working with disable childrens , i hv just thought that if they also join this marthon but i hv never been there so i dont know much abt it whats ur suggestion should they try n if yes then what prepration is need.

Amit Gokhale said...

@ Sunita..

Sorry for the late reply.. I guess you would need to contact the Marathon ppl if there are any registrations left..