Venue: Kanteerava Stadium, Bangalore
Date & Time: Jan 29, 2017 & 5:30 AM
I have been to 8-10 running events in Bangalore over last 1 year and have seen a huge gathering of participants from all sections of our society, old & young, male & female, rich & poor and the list goes on. This was a day when I could add another category to this, Abled & Specially Abled runners. This was a day full of shock and surprises, some of them were funny while others were learning for me. I could have never imagined such a big turnout of runners as this was supposed to be an only woman’s run. It was full crowded and gave me a feeling of carnival with the only difference as all the girls were in same t-shirts and not in their different attires which they always want to be. They don’t like anyone to copy their style, dress and even sense. I am sorry if I hurt the feelings of some girls out there reading this. I was here with my source of inspiration, motivator and at times also my competitor (when we argue)J.
After witnessing happiness and excitement in Neha on completing her first run, I registered her for Pinkathon. The event was supposed to start at 5:30 am as per time on the website and we woke up accordingly to get ready. We did some packing for my son, since Neha was suffering from lumbar sprain so we packed volini gel as well. It is a common saying ‘habits die hard’ and I know someone who is living it. Since her school days Neha has been among the last few to enter the classroom for lectures, last few to enter the examination hall for exams and even though I was late to the engagement venue for our engagement back in 2013 but I was waiting for her on stage during our engagement ceremony and she was late on stage too. So it continues and we reached the venue around 6:00 am and by then Half Marathon was flagged off. I will not take away the role my 1 year old little champ played in all this. While our cab was waiting at the apartment gate, his mumma was busy in cleaning and changing his diaper.
Rather than going inside the stadium we decided to go close to the Start/Finish line and cheer for the 10KM runners as the run was about to start. Whenever I am at such places I always keep looking for the runners whom I know or have read about them and while doing the same I met someone who is not a runner but a biker, a photographer, my former colleague Santosh. He is the one who has been to places on his CBR 250, celebrates his marriage anniversary biking in Ladakh away from his home in Bangalore. Anyways, his proper introduction may need another post altogether. He was there with his wife Roopa as she was participating in the run with her colleagues. We clicked some pics, had a chat about our common friends and my former organization and then back to the Pink environment. In the mean time I saw Thomas Bobby Philip sir passing by and to my surprise he stopped by to exchange greetings. He wished Neha for her run and went ahead as he was quite busy being the Pinkathon Ambassador. We heard a voice on mic, a girl is about to finish her Half Marathon leading the pack, we rushed to the finish line and saw the eventual podium finishers in HM to complete their run and get clicked with Ironman Milind Soman.
It was time for especially abled participants being accompanied by volunteers for 5k run. The moment I saw them in yellow jersey, I went speechless. We just encouraged them with full throttle voice and claps. Now time for simply abled participants for 5k run which they had planned to do in groups due to huge numbers. Neha was part of first group. Couple of groups later Roopa joined with her colleagues and they all set off for their 5k run. I remember one line said for the participants by EMCEE: please don’t pinch, punch, knock or push while runningJ. I and Santosh decided to move towards Cubbon park entrance where 5k diversion was planned for finish line. On the way Santosh clicked few especially abled runners with their volunteers. It was moment to cherish, how excited they were when their volunteers told them that they overtook other runner. We were cheering for the runners at the route diversion of 10K and 5k and noticed a funny incident. Saw many abled runners registered for 10K, with 10K bibs on, taking the 5K route and when Pinkathon volunteers asked them to complete 10K, they said, “I am done and can’t manage 10K, will run 5K only”. In the mean time it was more than 30 minutes since the 5KM flag off but still I was unable to find Neha anywhere. Once the stop watch crossed 40 minutes, I checked my phone and saw a missed call from Neha. Only two scenes were possible, either she completed her run or a DNF. For a moment even i was scared. I spoke to her and she was collecting her medal and i felt better. I told Santosh, will catch him at finish line and rushed back to meet Neha. She was in a bit of pain but happy to have overcome this pain and made a strong finish. While we were discussing about the run and runners we witnessed something unique. Everyone was being charged for a selfie with Milind Soman. They were asked to do 10 pushups each and whenever he sensed a huge gathering, he would escape from that point. We were enjoying this. We met Thomas Bobby Philip sir and he asked how the run was for Neha. In the mean time I got a call from Santosh and we all met at finish line with Roopa and her colleagues. The Pink Sisters (Neha, Roopa and her colleagues) posed for Santosh the photographer. And we left with a thought to keep in mind while running, shared by Thomas Bobby Philip, ‘we run for fun & to enjoy, timing should not be a priority’. I am witnessing the effect on Santosh and Roopa as they completed another 5k run couple of weeks back.