-By Saurav Bhartia
My First full Marathon ‘SCMM 2017‘
It all started because of my father, who at the age of 60 runs a marathon of about 10 kms and always used to push me towards a healthy life style as I am asthmatic since birth.
In the year 2016 I enrolled myself for 5 Km run in the ‘Airtel Run For Education’ marathon where my father had done 10 km. That day I realised that if he can run at this age then why can’t I !!!
Making a Start
I started running short distances with one of my friends and one day my friend told me that he wants to do a 42 Km run and I commented ‘You have gone mad.’
I never thought that one day I will complete my full marathon!!!
I started off with 5 km then 10 km, 15 km which culminated into 21 km at ‘Airtel Run For Education’ marathon and 25km at Tata Steel Kolkata marathon 2015. After completing TSK in 2015, I first thought of a full marathon and I tried to register for Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2016, only to find out that registrations were closed. I was disappointed, but by that time I was deeply involved in running and waited for SCMM 2017. I registered well in advance and started training for 4 months prior to the date. I went on a strict diet, I changed my lifestyle, stopped partying, no late nights and focussed 100 % on my goal.
Now, I wanted running buddies, with whom I could train and gather some tips as to what it takes to run 42.195 km. I came across a running group, ‘KOLKATA ULTRA’. Sudhir Ahuja introduced me to his vibrant running group and I did my first practice run with them for 24 km and met many experienced runners like Jaydev Raja ( Jbro ), Vipul, Prema, Nishant, Howard and many others. By the time I met Jbro he had already conquered the 150 km ultra run and I realised that it’s all in the MIND.
It’s All In The Mind
I got to learn what it takes to complete the marathon:
- Positive Attitude
Unfortunately, 15 days before the SCMM, injury struck me and the pain in my knee was disturbing me. But out of inexperience I neglected the injury and did not consult a physiotherapist or a doctor and continued with my self medication.
Finally the day came, I knew I was very well prepared and planned to finish it off within 5 hr 30 mins. I knew I am with most experienced runners and could feel the positive energy in their company. We reached the venue well in advance and did warm-ups stretching and were ready to start.
Then It All Began:
I started off and kept a pace of 6. However just after completing 4 kms my pain hit me and my IT Band gave me a shock. I fell behind and my running buddies went ahead. I dragged myself in pain till 17 kms. I was in severe pain and I could not bend my left knee. For the first time the thought of quitting came to my mind and I burst out in tears as me and my family both worked very hard for this marathon and the thought of quitting was very disappointing.
At that time Prema came as a life saviour for me. She saw me crying in pain at the aid station and was shocked to see me in such a bad shape, as she knew I had worked hard and was very focussed for this run. She motivated me, she did all that she could do, she shouted at me, she gave me ice packs, energy gels etc. One line that I will never forget of Prema was “It’s you who came to SCMM, not your knee who brought you here, so leave your knee behind and carry on. Mind is much more powerful than your body.”
I was in severe pain but the only thing I knew was, there is no option other than to complete the run. I WILL and I CAN do it.
After about 32 kms, my mind accepted I was going to move ahead and adjusted to the pain. Somehow I was not even thinking about it and now it was my turn to motivate Prema as by then she was in pain.
Finally the confidence and thought of completing the run gave us energy and eventually I completed the run in 5 hrs 52 min. Just after finishing the run I asked a fellow runner for the phone and called my wife back home in Kolkata and we both shared an emotional moment. She was proud of me.
A journey started from 5 km……….Yet many more are to come.
It is rightly said by the late Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
“Dream is not the thing you see in you sleep but is that thing that doesn’t let you sleep.
My dream is finally a reality!!!