When I woke up at 4 am on Sunday, I thought I was headed for a miserable day. I had a terrible cold, a chronic knee injury had flared up and the taxi I had booked refused to show up. Not the luck you need when you’re attempting to run 42 kilometres.
But I showed up as the marathon flagged off at 5.40am, with the weather feeling like it was Delhi’s winter, and started my long journey.
Running along the Queen’s Necklace was a pleasure, the climb up Kemps Corner torturous. I went past Reliance chief Anil Ambani right in front of his brother Mukesh’s home, Antilia on Altamaount Road.
The Bandra-Worli sea link was overrun with photographers. Next up: the Mahim Creek, which left the runners breathless but smiling as slum children ran alongside giving them high-fives.
I was in agonising pain by the 30-km mark, but I limped, allowed the helpful medical staff to ice my knee and carried on. The final rush of adrenaline came from thinking of my wife, who was not running with me for the first time. Eventually I clocked 5 hours and 40 minutes, almost four minutes faster than last year.
The marathon is special in so many ways — when otherwise grumpy policemen encourage participants, especially women; when the Navy’s band eggs people on; when residents along the offer you biscuits and chocolates as you pass by. I am already waiting for 2014.
The writer is a senior manager (marketing) with HT Delhi.