It’s done. It was something I was hoping to do one day and that day was today. But God, it was amazing!
Waking up at 4.00 am, to find a big full moon staring back at you from he western sky, today was the beginning of the Hindu reverence period known as the ‘Shradh’, during which the dead (beloved forefathers) are remembered and honored through prayers. Although it had nothing to do with the half marathon, it just attached a special significance to this day. I freshened up, warmed up and ate a bit of carbs. Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium was the starting point and I reached there by 6 am, met up with a couple of friends who were also running, they were marathon veterans though, and it was my first time.
The atmosphere was spectacular! I found out what it meant to be a part of a quality athletic event. It was estimated that around 32000 runners were participating, and I could testify that with endless sea of people in shorts, tracks, geared up, fired up and ready to be unleashed upon the best roads of Delhi. The race flagged off by Bipasha Basu. This was the first time a saw a bollywood heroine for real. She did live up to her reputation! 😉 And I was off, slowly warming up among the horde of enthusiastic runners, the roads lived up by common people cheering us off. It was dramatic, and surreal! I tell you, my school teachers would never believe this! 😀
The arragements were awesome. No complaints except for the ‘Cooling Tunnels’ which were an utter disaster. There were water stations at every 500m, some with energy drinks, and sponges soaked with ice cold water, medical stations, local Rock Bands and DJ’s performing at major intersections, police, people cheering on, these sights would stay with me for a long time. The most spectacular experience was the pleasure of being a part of it. There were so many runners, and they came in all shapes, sizes and ages. Girls, ladies, boys, men, uncles, chacha jaans, fat ones, thin ones, fit ones, handicapped ones, loud ones, annoying ones, littering ones, college kids, corporate runners, veterans, rookies like me, they were all there.
Besides all this, the race in itself was like going through hell, at least for me. It got very hot after 8km, very hot indeed. I took all the water, drinks, soaks, oranges that came my way. I’m glad I did, and so did the others, otherwise we would have certainly been dehydrated. They usually hold this event in late November, but today, it was totally mistimed. I had done just one practice for this, a 15k run last Sunday, that left me with a huge blister on my left toe. And I had to cover it up with cotton and bandage to prevent further friction. Although I was in pain throughout, I forgot al about it after 5kms. And after 15, it was do or die, most proabably die.
But, in the end, through all the pain and fire, I finished the race, welcomed back by a cheering crowd at JLN, in 2 hrs and 25 mins. I guess its pretty good for a rookie who never runs. My endurance training came in handy. And those who finish in under 3 hours get a medal and an internationally certified Timing Certificate. I got the medal, took the refreshments and walked up to meet up with my friends who were back half an hour earlier. I told you, there were pros! My legs were hurting like hell and still are, but I am really happy thatI went through something very difficult and did it in the right spirit, enjoying it all the way through. I made my own little video clips all along the way capturing the sights, and retaining the memories. I will join them and share a single video in the next post. I discovere the joy of running today and hopefully, I’ll make it a habit in the near future.