There's always an incredulous cab-driver incident.
A few minutes after I'd sat in the cab and said, "World Trade Centre", the cab-driver piped up, "Aap kyon ja rahen hai World Trade Centre?" (Why are you going to the World Trade Centre?) Perhaps my faded jeans and T-shirt and shapeless backpack didn't suggest that I was a World Trade Centre regular. Taken aback as I was, I hemmed a bit before replying, "Kal daud hai, number lena hai." (There's a run tomorrow, I'm collecting my number.)
There were no questions after that. He'd pegged me for a loony for sure. I mean, whoever talks of walking in Dubai, leave alone, running. Two years ago, there was another cab-driver who looked at me with narrowed eyebrows when I told him of a 'daud' in Bombay.
Skeptics notwithstanding, a few thousand runners are going to hit the streets of Dubai tomorrow in the Standard Chartered 2006 Dubai Marathon. Yellow signs have appeared all over Zabeel Road which read, 'Caution Runners'. (Caution us, about what??)
Runner No. 3045 isn't doing the 42 km. Marathon. Not this year, at least. In the absence of a Half Marathon, Runner No. 3045 will be doing the 10 Km run.
I can't say I've been training like I did two years ago. A mere 3 km. jog three times a week doesn't really qualify as training. But I'm going along for the fun of it. I'm keen to see how Dubai handles a Marathon. I'm also looking forward to those fabulous Kenyan runners. And to all the assorted madness that's part of a Marathon.
I collected my T-shirt and running bib at the World Trade Centre. Interestingly, there's a chip attached to the running bib which will record the finish time. The run starts at 7:10 tomorrow. If all goes well, I should hopefully complete the run in 1.15 hours. Hopefully.