It was 13th Feb and I was excited.
'Tomorrow is 14th, the Sunday ', I have to wake up very early. I must reach there well before time. Ohh! Parking might be a problem.'
I called up the landline number provided in the e-page.
‘Ramlila Maidaan, fine. Registration? Never mind , i won't be running, would just watch the beginning.’ And feel the thrill in the electrified air by the huge crowd in the background of dawn, I thought.
* * morning alarm * *
My hands, as usually, reached to snooze. But i sprang up! It's Sunday, i can always have siesta. Within half an hour I, with a 13 yr boy from neighborhood, was driving towards Albert Hall. Driving more than seven KMs is a long drive for me :) 'coz i seldom get an opportunity. Of course i had decked up in running gears complete with track suit and running shoes, and properly tied plait.
'Aunty, your chest number?', the boy enquired.
'Beta, i am not running! You keep this money and take an auto from the finishing point, Gaurav Tower as i won't wait two long hours. '
As we neared the spot, the place was already beaming with young crowd in the festivity of health. Parking was no problem, which i feared most, as it was early morning. Besides banners and heading crowd, the energetic beats of drums guided us well to the starting point.
Such a varied crowd! People in different color coded t-shirts representing their affiliation to schools, NGOs, institutes and so on. One of the team had identical small back pack. I made a point that next year i will also carry one so that water bottle, car key, phone, handkerchief etc could be carried easily while running. By 6:30 A.M every inch of the vast area right from Ram Leela Maidan to past Albert Hall was occupied. Later i came to know that there were 70 thousand entries! No wonder the atmosphere grew from sweet chirping to electrifying shrill and the clusters of balloons, colorful banners of all shapes and sizes carrying varied social, health and environmental messages. The hoop la kept the chill in the air at bay.
One Rajasthan- Police trainee asked me which race i was undertaking. When i shook my head in big NO, she insisted me to accompany her and the team.
There i spotted few senior citizens too displaying chest numbers, then i saw an aged woman donning it. ‘Why i cannot give the run a try?’ crossed my mind. 'Next year for sure!' i decided.
And as the RUN began there was no way to turn your back. The entire mob was moving forward, gleefully i too. In my mind i was calculating if i would walk one KM then the return walk till the parking would be anywhere 3 to 4 KMs. That's fine, i can.
On the other side of the road on a huge stage there was Sunil Shetty, waving along with innumerable Who's who. The jubilant crowd was being motivated by and rousing music filled the air. I was in no mood to sprint as there were too many people but i was enjoying the brisk walk. The dance, music, welcoming decorations, the euphoric passer bys was so exhilarating that i noticed a constant grin on my face every now and then. Across the divider the runners of Half marathon were already returning. I did notice the 1 KM billboard but the colorful atmosphere the balloon strings from corner to corner; the cheer-up music put up at every little gap was a lure to raise the bars. At the back of my mind one worry raised head, need for washroom. Credit to the nip in the air! In no time i saw makeshift washrooms installed on pavements. I further noticed that there was no need of any back-pack as proper arrangements done. Drinking Water, medical desks, Fortis Ambulance doing rounds, desks of health drinks and orange fruits... Today, at this morning hour, there wasn't any traffic as the entire track was marked for the marathon and was dexterously covered with streamers, balloons, banners and entertaining flash mobs, cheer leaders of FM radios and Telecos made us easily ignore the 2, 3, 4 KMs marking billboards. The RUN actually felt like cake walk! I thought if i turnabout now, it will be another 4 KMs plus up to my car. Instead i took intelligent 'complete the race' decision. The shuttlers would ferry the participants back to starting point. Whoa! The race further became all the more enjoyable as indecision disappeared. Meanwhile i overheard a tall man saying, 'yes, i am 118 yrs old.' i turned back. A camera man, surprisingly, prepared to do an interview. I didn't believe that boasting however i clicked a picture of the tall turban elderly man and resumed the Dream Run. My legs were aching by now yet enjoyed the RUN, after all when shall i have this opportunity? I had covered five kilometers by now and could see the famous building of World Trade Park. Reaching top of that flyover i tuned back and saw a never ending trail of human beings! It was a scene to have a look!
I was ecstatic. Exactly two years ago I had undergone a major surgery and took 4-6 months to recover. For a whole year I could not go for morning walk as I needed extra sleep, extra rest in lack of which I used to fall sick often. Reliance on my physical ability had dwindled. Here, today I walked and run continuously without a single break! My hubby has always insisted me to take things at ease. My mother in law forbade me to any heavy work out at this age. But the delighted heart and bright face was telling a totally different story.
Wait a moment! Did I miss something? I traced five back steps and there people were clicking selfie with a huge digital clock.
OMG! It’s just 55 minutes! I covered more than 6 KMs in less than an hour. Bravo!
Jaipur Marathon 2017! You are going to find me with you! And the Dream Run of 6 KMs shall be finished in less than half of an hour!
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