Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Marathon Mania

Believe me, Marathon Mania was very much a commoner's vogue world from the times of Chanakya. Just that world wakes up to it in vivid ways. Right from the Battle of Marathon, and the secrets of the "Raramuri runners(barefoot runners of South America)" being unearthed, after centuries today we witness run for a cause, run for fun and many such events. Haven't you heard of the Boston marathon? Surely about the fancy dress marathons of London? Well, the best one is the Pinkathon of India. The scene is jaw-dropping. Thousands of women on roads, running miles and miles with smiles.

Running like a few 10 kilometers is not a joke. Phew, it's an abuse to the body is the opinion of few. And there are more than a few who appreciate a marathoner.  If injuries are what you are thinking about, be reminded of Philippides. He was that Greek messenger who ran from the battlefield of Marathon to Athens announcing the military victory of Persians in the war, collapsed and breathed his last, right in the assembly.

Philippides had zinged off over 300 kilometers, at a stretch in two days! Can't you do a few 10 kilometers with all modern amenities? The question I asked myself a few years ago. I was beginning to discover the lost athlete in my soul. Lost decades ago after college times.

Ever since the long runs have been named after the place Marathon, today it is an entire way of life. We have distinguished clubs to "train" for a marathon. We have a potpourri of running accessories like a pedometer, headband, sweatband, runners pouch, sports watches in variety. Apparels, footwear, electronics, name it, and find it. Legacy of Philippides has grown far and wide, tall, and strong.

As for me, training too is self-styled. I am not a fashionista but running "nanage ishta"(nanage ishta=i love, in Kannada).
Life is not a race, but a race could be someone's life. I mean for a few passionate about running. And I too was one. Right from school days.  Was accustomed to being on the victory stand. Only the college days and academics mania ruined the athlete in me. But whoever told age matters. It did not. After having two children, in my 30's, two things caught my attention. The Doha-Bank race and my growing tummy.

In, I plunged.  A marathon mania stirring up. My entire family dashed up to the sports centers picking up branded attire for me. And I scrolled up for running and training apps in my phone. Being honest here, I have been a self-trained, hard to crack running nut. No matter what,  every Friday morning, I would be seen doing my 5k to 10k with the i-pod intact in my ears. I would listen to all kinds, from "beat pe booty " to Bhimsen Joshi bhajans.

Very soon, I registered myself in the most popular marathons of Doha. Posted pictures on FaceBook, patted my own back, and motivated myself. I also reached one of the races in Bangalore too. (Let me call it Bangalore, the Bengaluru kind of disconnects me to the city I love).


I have my own silly way of entertaining myself while I run. I see that uncle in a brown jacket, hands tied at the back, feel he needs a jadu ki jhappi. It's lovely how he adores his slow-motion walks with occasional nods. When my calf muscles yell at me for the abuse, I slow down to walk a bit and amuse myself wondering if the uncle's occasional nods do have a purpose or are wind-driven. It seems he's happier outdoors. 

But there's one man whose whistle can be heard like in a 100m distance. He's the one who greeted with warmth. He's a walker too. But a "walker" whistling all along. Each time we cross by and he finds me walking instead of running, he doesn't forget to ask me "how many kilometers lady" tired today? This man inspired me like "go do it".

Do you believe in good luck ideas? Well, there's this uncle who probably believed walking is lucky for his business deals.  Always see him on his mobile, brisk walk, loud business talks. Whoever said men can't multi-task!

So much about uncles, the lovely aunties were seen lesser in the evening and more in the morning. One of them always decides to praise my run and with my widest grin, I stop to make her talk more. Definitely, aunties are more honest walkers and better at multi-tasks. They can cover a whole lot of subjects in a span of 3 kilometers to 5. From the lunch menu, the new sale offers in the splash, to the "dekha renu ki beti ko, haay ram, chikni chameli jaise kapde aur dance , ooof". This isn't eves dropping folks. When there's so much entertainment that swirls and wriggles into your ears when you run, how could you deny it?

Well, after all these encounters, I gifted my apple i-pod to my daughter and declared I had enough entertainment to inspire me for my training. Yes, I can do it without the music. I had a lot much one could not ask for more.

After accomplishing every marathon event, and see the medal hung around my neck, I smile proudly thinking of my future self-training sessions. Aah, I might have had to join a Nike Training Club if I do not have these uncles and aunties of my community in my life, who cheer me up daily and keep me going.

Run, run. Life is not short. Nor a sprint. It's a marathon itself. 

Life is so Run-derful.

P.S - For those who do not know, that my humour and sarcasm have only one aim that is to keep you smiling.