Amongst the 2300 odd half marathon runners lined up for the Auroville last Sunday ( Feb 9th ), were Bopanna, Umesh, Venkatesh and me, all from Bangalore. There was the usual warm-up prior to the race with the announcer goading us to shake all the body parts. The organisers had different time- slots randomly based on bib numbers, which ensured a smooth start to the event past 6 am. The full marathon, which had started an hour before, commenced in pitch dark conditions and so, they (about 300 runners) had the led torches to lead them safely. Off we went in waves, with strong contingents from Isha School with their placards and the coastal security force in foggy weather. Running through the Auroville country trails, was a captivating experience with the dense foliage all around. I must say this; the Auroville community has done a marvelous job of converting the barren earth into a wealth of forest over the years.
With the sun struggling to come out even one hour after the start, the much feared humidity of the East coast was still at low ebb. But lest one thinks that it was an easy route to negotiate, we had to encounter mud, sand, stones, cobblestones and cattle traps … we had to be fully alert to avoid falling over and getting hurt. One could imagine the plight of the full marathoners with their torches on in the first hour. It would have been quite a view in that forest.
The aid stations were well organized and we had quite a few choices. The prostate did play truant with me as usual well into the second hour. With the enticing possibility of running on an empty bladder and break my pb, I did vanish into the bushes for a brief time. Being a veggie, I am sure that the Aurovillians would pardon me, having not discharged any toxic stuff into their dear earth. But cramps did me in towards the end, virtually forcing me to limp at the end of the run. So my pb (2:50) still remains intact. Venkatesh completed on a very brave note, determined to crawl, if necessary, this being his first HM. Boppanna & Umesh, having completed and taken the food ages ago, were waiting patiently for us. I was glad to see Janardhana, that indomitable runner from JP Nagar, Bangalore after the run. He was saying that he is determined to run for another ten years. Coming from an eighty two year old person, this was wonderful stuff and shows his absolute tenacity. We all wish him many, many years of enjoyable running.
Being close to the beach, we couldn’t resist getting wet and have a whale of a time. Tanto, that superb Italian restaurant in Auroville did meet our gastronomical needs more than adequately, famished as we were after the run. Our small group had no hesitation in promising attendance in the next edition of this event. And we hope to come prepared with Frisbees, volleyballs and kites for the beach sessions then!!
Thank you, Auroville for the marvelous time we had!!!
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