Inspired by the book ‘Born to Run’, I also thought of trying my luck at long distance running. Not that running was new to me. Growing up in Lucknow, had been doing 3-5km run even during college days, mostly at the cost of Physics lectures which use to start at 7:30am in morning. But stretching from 3km to 21km was some adventure bound to happen. Once bitten there was no way going back.
27Nov 2011, I ran my first competitive 21.097km at Delhi Half Marathon.
Some experience sharing. In last week of July, I saw a small news in Hindustan Times Delhi- Mini Marathon (8km) being organised at Nehru Park Delhi. That time I was running upto 7km in normal course. Just to stretch my limits I enrolled for the mini marathon. To my surprise I comfortably completed 8km. That gave quite a confidence. The regulars there were talking of Delhi Half Marathon, so I decided to try my luck.
With some search on the internet, I made up my schedule for 21km. Slowly increasing from 7km to 10km, then to 12, 15 and 18. By the time I started doing 18km, day got shortened and it became difficult to run after office hours. Switching to morning, fog was ruling the roost. Dangerous to run on highway in foggy weather. Last two weeks before the D-day went in traveling and others went to fog. Resulting I never did entire stretch of 21km during practice.
A bit nervous and cold reached JLNehru stadium at 6am on marathon day, in true sense. We were directed to holding area, like sheep. The elite runners in front, followed by regulars. Amateurs, first timers and just participants in last. It took over a minute to reach the starting line after the gun shot. Run run run.
Its was mad house. People were firing on all cylinders. I thought I will be the last one to complete. But yes I was determined to complete the race. Around 3km at a U-turn saw the elite africans runners literally flying much much ahead of the rest. By the time I crossed India Gate completing 7km, the africans were returning back and were completing 15km mark. That was the speed. Amazing.
Meanwhile, I also started overtaking people. Few huffing puffing and panting, few now walking and many slowed down. Rajpath, Rail Bhavan, Sansad Marg, back on Rajpath, then towards Le Meridian and Shangri La circle and back to India Gate and return. More kilometer marks passed and visit to water stations started.
Once past 18km mark, it was all new territory. 20km I started feeling exhausted. Positive point was that I had only a km more to go. But that km seemed endless. I kept running and running and at last 500m to finish line. Ages and then 300m banner. God 300m was never this long. And finally could see the the finishing line with hoards of people. 100m to go banner. Still running, and finished the race. So never under-estimate the last .097 in the full length of 21.097km. Its the toughest 100m to cover.
An apple and a Parle G packet was the refreshment. And yes the Medal. Official timing and Certificate to be posted later at home address.
My Marathon Day was not over yet. Since race was still on, and Great Delhi Run to start at 9:30am traffic restrictions were in place. Couldn’t locate the driver in parking. With no mobile phone or money, walking was the only option. From JLNehru Stadium to KG Marg, walked around 6km before I could place my legs on table and recline on sofa for a statisfying feeling. A sense of achievement. ‘Runners High’ it is called.
I completed 21.097km in 2hrs 48sec. OK timing for a first timer. An addiction I cherish since then, an addiction called Long Distance RUNNING.
– Kamlesh Mishra.