Dil toh ziddi hai, dil toh ziddi hai…
To the loud thumping of this peppy song, we started our run just at the dawn of 18th Nov 2018. While there were some discussions in social media around the late start time for half marathon for this event, which was at 6:15 AM (vs. the IDBI Half Marathon in Sep, which had the start time of 5:15 AM), and the organizers had gone to great length to explain their rationale, most runners weren’t pleased. And cannot blame them. For a city like Mumbai where the weather is always hot and humid, even in mid-November, running after sun-up is no fun if you are in the 2:30 something finishing range.
Barring that, the run was superbly organized – it is inspiring to see so many Naval officers in all whites hustling around to ensure the runners have a good time. The aid stations were well-stocked with water and Enerzal, and there were volunteers at most points giving directions.
The route of the marathon was circuitous with too many turns and loops, but the volunteers made life easy for the runners, mostly shouting “10 k take a u-turn, 21 k go straight”. Again, considering the practicality of the venue and the metro work happening everywhere in Mumbai, this is the best the organizers could have done. At several points along the race route, there were dhol bands playing live music pepping up the runners.
The holding area was spacious, with enough space for runners to move around and stretch, there were dance/Zumba sessions by kids on the stage and beamed at several large screens, while the highlight were the Naval artefacts that were on display at various locations around the holding area. There were scale models of Naval vessels, a sail boat, and even the brass bell that once adorned the, now decommissioned, India’s first aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant. The runners were welcome to ring the bell with pride!
The naval brass band, much acclaimed across the world, played inspiring tunes and was a spectacle to watch, before and after the run. For the awards ceremony, the top brass of Navy were in attendance and handing out the prizes. Overall a superb event, a great function, and the ending of the event with the naval brass playing to the National Anthem was a cherry on top!
Personally, this race is special to me. In this event last year, I got my first sub-2 in an HM, and this year too finished in just under 2:00 thanks to my run buddy Ravi pacing me to sprint the last 400 meters!
Life’s good with friends like Ravi around, and all set now for the upcoming running season!