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Guest Column ‘Running a marathon is similar to meditation where you shut out the outside world’

‘Running a marathon is similar to meditation where you shut out the outside world’

Vikaas Sachdeva, CEO, Edelweiss Mutual Fund recounts his experience of running the Mumbai Marathon.
Vikaas Sachdeva Jan 18, 2012

Vikaas Sachdeva, CEO, Edelweiss Mutual Fund recounts his experience of running the Mumbai Marathon.

vikaas s“If you want to run, run a mile. If you want to experience a different life, run a marathon.” – Emil Zatopek

These words more or less summed up what I felt once I crossed the finishing line during the recently concluded Mumbai Marathon 2012. I am full of admiration for those who run the marathon year after year. It is always a pleasure to see so many people unite to run together, irrespective of whether they win or not.

It looks like the entire city came together to showcase the latent energy beneath and it turned out to be an awe-inspiring spectacle. Never will you see 38,000 Mumbaikars at one starting point rushing forward together with such intensity and in the process energizing everyone around.

My tryst with this event began last year when I participated in the Half-Marathon with a finishing timing of 3.5 hours. Not too impressive, I admit, but last year I ran for the experience – and enjoyed every moment! This year, I was determined to do better and I did practice for the past 2-3 months in great earnest – well almost, if it were not for my hamstring injury, which knocked off quite a few practice sessions. It was worth it at the end; I finished the race with a better timing of 2:54:34!

I believe that the Mumbai Marathon is the right aphrodisiac for a busy city that seldom stops to admire the beautiful things in life.

This race left me physically exhausted with some of my joints crying out for attention! I realize that this pain is temporary but the pride of completing the course is forever.

For me, running a marathon is similar to meditation where you shut out the outside world to focus on one specific goal or challenge with proper breathing techniques.

A sea of humanity

Thousands of runners – approximately 38,400 in comparison to 22,000 at the 2004 inaugural event – joined together to put their bodies to the test at this event. I could see a lot of smiles and frowns as people of all ages set their hearts out on one target – the finishing line!

I met a lot of colorful characters during the race, including a 65-year old man from Surat who came brightly dressed in colorful attire! Celebrities too made their presence felt with their coterie of supporters.

It was very heart-warming to see the mentally challenged and the handicapped taking part in the event flanked by their loved ones. The smiles I saw on their faces will remain with me for a lifetime.

Mumbai Marathon 2012 – making a difference in the lives of Mumbaikars

I believe that the Mumbai Marathon is the right aphrodisiac for a busy city that seldom stops to admire the beautiful things in life. I was expecting more people to turn up to witness the event but Mumbai’s unusually chilly mornings kept them away. Nevertheless, I am proud that thousands jumped at the opportunity to associate themselves with charity and to run for a cause.

I joined my colleagues at Edelweiss to make our presence felt at the event. We were a competent team of 40 runners that were egged all the way even before we wore our running shoes!

I would like to end by highlighting two specific instances which will highlight what the Mumbai Marathon does to the city of Mumbai. At a time when most people preferred to stay indoors, I saw a small child of around 4, completely wrapped in woolens by his mother, standing on the pavement with her. He had a board saying “There is RELISPRAY here.” I broke into a smile as I ran past the child and his mother – Mumbai’s “big heartedness” starts very early in life indeed!

On the other hand, while running, I saw a few foreign nationals sprint past. I overheard one of them saying “Amazing bloody city – never seen so many people run like crazy at one time!” I gave them a thumbs up as I ran across and they smiled back. What a feeling it is to have foreigners saluting the spirit of Mumbai!

I am already charged up for next year’s event. However, the next event to follow is the Mumbai Cyclothon in early February – can’t wait to get out on the sea link again!

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