For some time now i have been trying to be a regular visitor to the gym...and have lost few kilos in the process...but one thing that bugged me was the jogging part...Chennai traffic and road conditions make it a tough task to jog on the roads unless you wake up at sunrise and even then you have to take care of the speed devils sitting behind the wheel of the numerous company cabs...So all this left the good old treadmill at the gym,which never gave that feeling of completion at the end of a run which ones gets on a ground or on a road...People told me that jogging on the treadmill is not as effective as on the road as the treadmill is always in motion thereby helping us. So when i read about the chennai marathon in which there was a 7km run for the normal janta, i jumped at it.
Basically i wanted to see if i could keep jogging at that long a distance because in gym i stop at 2/2.5 km at max.
Sunday morning myself and set out for the Marathon.The main route to the starting point, and the only one we knew, was blocked due to traffic diversions for the 21km run which had already started...Numerous diversions later we found ourselves at the island ground. By sheer luck we escaped the heavy showers, which seemed to be a blessing in disguise for many who were fearing what the wrath of the Chennai SUN will do to the runners. We had barely took shelter in the medical emergency tent when it started to rain heavily. Ah, it was sight for sore Chennai eyes...
When it was 7.30 the rain stopped to a light drizzle and we started following the people in front of us...once we reached the road we found people started moving faster and then we knew the Marathon had started. I switched off my mobile and along with the camera placed it inside my friends backpack wrapped in a plastic bag to escape the rain. Little did i know that the mobile part will be regretted later on.
Within 5 minutes into the run i got the runners stitch and thought i was a goner.My friend who is a good runner was already out of sight and so was my mobile ! So the only thing left was to keep on running. The atmosphere was really cool. I could see the 21km run guys returning to the finishing line having covered 21kms in 1.5 hours. The road sides were filled with people who had come to cheer the runners and also included many would be runners who decided not to run at the last moment. Runners were in all shapes and sizes - friends, families,people from the big companies in company Tees , school kids in big noise groups led by their school bands, and people like me who came on the cold wet morning to prove a point to themselves, that this is doable. Since the run was open to all people there were lot of boisterous groups of slum kids running around fighting with each other by splashing the water from the bottles placed at intervals along the course by the organizers. Mid way through the run i felt really thirsty (my bottle was also 'cleverly' placed in my friends backpack) and saw a organizer distributing bottles around 200 feet away. The same moment i saw it, i heard a roar of delight from the kids behind me who were looking for new ammo for their water battles. I am sure those kids would have never seen a heavy guy like me run like i did at that time, knowing full well that if i was late there was going to be no bottles left.
I was able to complete the 7km run in 50 minutes which included around 10 minutes when i would have walked fast to catch my breath. What keeps one going is the numerous people in front of you and many constantly zipping past you that there is no dearth of motivation - especially if a couple of goodlooking gals zip past you with ease which also hits your ego. Once i reached the finish line i started looking for my friend. Instead i ran into the company HR to whom i was to report to in the morning to collect my marathon number tag. I informed that i was late due to traffic and rain,collected the company Tee and cap that i should have been wearing during the Run and made my way to the parking lot for a long wait for my friend.
The journey to the marathon in the cold pleasant morning through empty roads of chennai, the friendly people who were very helpful in giving the new directions and shortcuts due to the traffic restrictions, the energy of people of all ages who took part in the run, the scores of people standing in the rain and cheering the runners was an unforgettable experience - the icing was the personal satisfaction of completing the 7 km Run and still be on two legs.