Running the half marathon on Sunday has been, till date, one of the most beautiful experiences I have had in Mumbai. Firstly, I got to see a crisp winter dawn and secondly, I got the opportunity to run 21 km on the city’s roads that were bare, a rare and truly amazing experience.
As I took off from Bandra, I knew I would not be the first to complete the race. But, I also knew I would not be the last. I enjoyed every stride on the Bandra-Worli sea link, the Worli sea face (where I usually run), the Haji Ali stretch and so on.
What was heartening was the sight of Mumbaiites and their children cheering the runners along the route. Spurred on, I felt I should run faster to win the marathon only to realise the next moment that I have to live longer and so, I stuck to a steady comfortable pace.
By the time I covered 14 km, I realized that I should have practiced harder to avoid sprains and cramps. Yet, I ran on, as backing out was not on my agenda.
The last 2 km, which seemed like running the endless Grand Trunk Road, really tested me. But, thanks to the encouragement from the impromptu cheerleaders, music bands and volunteers, I crossed the finish line at CST. I thanked God for giving me the strength to do so. Then I took my medal, grabbed some refreshments and returned home.
As I soaked my hurting feet in warm water, the high of the overall experience blurred the pain just enough to make me want to run the marathon again next year.
(Sajjan Sharma is a senior manager, Media Marketing, at HT Media Ltd. He completed the half marathon (21 km) in approximately 2 hours, 25 minutes)