Sonam Jalan, 31, had participated in the Mumbai marathon last year, but when she completes the half marathon on Sunday, she will count it as her first race, since she will actually run rather than walk.
Last year, Jalan ended up walking for most of the 21-km half marathon due to lack of stamina and energy. This year, the banker is more confident of completing the race in less than three hours as she joined a training group four months ago.
“I realised that as an amateur, it was necessary to be trained to run in the right way, and it is motivating when there are several others training along with you,” said Jalan, a Colaba resident.
Her coach, Savio D’Souza, an athlete himself, has been training a group of more than 25 first-time runners for the last six months at a ground in south Mumbai. “The most important reason why amateur runners attempting long-distance should train under a coach is to avoid any kind of injuries,” he said.
Such group training sessions under expert guidance are also helping runners push themselves.
Sonal Mishra, 40, who has been running the half marathon for the last seven years, has decided to set her eyes on the 42-km full marathon finish line this time. “I was very sceptical but my coach and my friends who I have been training with encouraged me,” said the Borivli resident. Mishra has been getting intensive strength training at a community training club for runners."A marathon is not just about running, and needs a more structured training," said coach Daniel Vaz, who has been training several amateur runners in the age group of 18 to 60 years for Sunday’s marathon.