It is that time of the year when Mumbai will stand on its feet with the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon scheduled on 19th Jan. This has brought back memories of me participating in the 2011 edition, a sense of nostalgia.
I had just passed out my engineering in 2010 and joined a firm where there was a selection round to deem fit enough employees to participate in the race. I was nervous but I came through the selection round. All the selected employees were given an option to participate either in the Dream run or the Half Marathon, I choose the latter. No one was allowed to compete in the full marathon as it was only for athletes. Due to time constraints and the fact that I had never participated in a marathon event made me nervous but at the same time determined to do well. I came to know that only if one completes the race within 3 hours will be honored with a certificate which instilled in me a sense of drive and fortitude to finish in the stipulated time.
I started my preparation by running only on weekends but as the D-Day neared I started running on alternate days somehow managing my work. During these 3 months, only once I ran the entire race and my timing was around 2hrs 45 mins which was reasonable.
The moment finally arrived. I remember getting up at 04:30 in the morning and taking a cab up till the MMRDA ground in Bandra where all the participants had been asked to assemble. I observed people doing all sorts of stretching and exercise with all sorts of accessories which made me feel a bit inferior.
Finally the race started at 06:00 am with thousands of people pushing and shoving each other clamoring for space to run ahead due to the mob. I finally managed to pull myself out of the mess and started running with room ahead. It was a scenery to behold running on the astonishing sea-link.
The experience was of one of the most memorable moments in my life; Mumbai was on its feet. The enthusiasm and love shown by each and every Mumbaikar on the street was spellbinding. We were being distributed with biscuits, juices, fruits, water on the way by people unknown to us. I could then relate to the amazing vibe and confidence which the sportsmen imbibe when playing in front of a massive crowd.
I was battered and bruised at the end of the race. I was bed-ridden for a week as I had exerted a bit too much in the race. But, it didn’t matter as the end result of finishing the event in better than expected time of 2:12:37 and finishing in the top 1000 made me feel accomplished. The most important learning from the event was that the will to succeed is important but what’s more important is the will to prepare.