Friday, January 14, 2005


‘I’ve really been training for the marathon,’ said a colleague yesterday.

I looked up impressed, as did a few others.

He continued, smugly, ‘I’ve been taking the stairs for the last two days.’

I fell off the chair laughing. Our department is on the 2nd floor. And if climbing two storeys amounted to marathon training, walking up to the canteen on the 6th floor, would probably put him in line to climb Everest.

Smug colleague isn’t the only one training for what seems to be the biggest social event of 2005. Dabbawalas, senior citizens, celebrities, socialites and thousands of others are all gearing up for January 16. Imagine the clatter of 25,000 pairs of feet on Marine Drive!

Runner No. 21769 is not very excited, though…

As a result of a goof up, I’ve been signed on for the 7 km Dream Run. Having done the Half Marathon last year, where’s the motivation to do one third the distance, and that too while being elbowed, and possibly stamped over, by 20,000 people.

Oh well, that’s just a rationalisation. I’ve haven’t been training for the Half Marathon anyway. Last year, it took one month of concentrated physical and mental preparation, and an insane amount of co-ordination just to find a place where one could run without encumbrances. I tried Azad Maidan once and it was quite an experience. I got chased by dogs, stumbled over canoodling couples and lost my footing several times on the uneven, unlit ground. If I were training for the obstacle course, Azad Maidan would’ve been perfect.

Thankfully, Oval Maidan turned out to be a better alternative. It actually had a running track, lined with palm trees that swayed lazily in the evening breeze. The Rajabhai Clock Tower nearby kept perfect time. And running, while watching the city recede into the night, was as sublime an experience as any.

It strikes me that the city has such few open spaces where people can run without having to dodge traffic, other people and not to forget, animals. Running on a treadmill for anything over half an hour can be desperately boring. And while running on the beach sounds dreamy, the sanitation leaves a lot to be desired.

So, just maybe, Smug Colleague had the right idea. See, that’s another reason why I couldn’t train. I live on the ground floor…

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