Why run when you can sleep? Is a question I get asked a lot every time I return from a morning run. Because it’s the best part of my day, because it gives me a high that lasts the whole day.
Now imagine the rush of running with thousands of others, all feeling the same way- the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon. It’s by far the most positively charged, happy environment I have ever been part of. I have been associated with this event from its very first year, running the 21km Half Marathon each year. And every year I run to raise awareness for the Shraddha Charitable Trust: an organisation that rehabilitates young autistic adults. 21 km is a lot, how do I do it, people ask. The first time I ran in 2004, I had no idea either. While I was a regular runner, 21km was a long way indeed. On the event day, once I started running, I just went on and on. Sure I was tired, wanted to give up and stop, however after the first 7 kms, I conquered my mind and continued. And there was no looking back after that. The thousands gathered on the road side cheered us all on, each
runner encouraging the other.
We were truly one. And when I finished, I truly understood what it felt like to be Shah Rukh Khan! I felt I could do anything and nothing was impossible. The event has grown immensely over the years. I have witnessed first hand the growing Tsunami of runners at the starting point. Almost everybody runs for a cause: either charity or something personal. And everybody feels like a winner. From those who complete 21 km in 1 hr 20 min to those
who take 3 hours.
Because it’s about the spirit, it’s about the sense of achievement and it’s about camaraderie. A befitting start to a new year indeed, one that sets a positive tone for the rest of the year.This year again I will be running for Shraddha and once again 21 km, but this time I will be running in a Gold Label Marathon, one of only 12 in the world. And this time I will run with a record 38000 other participants! Can’t wait!
Come cheer us and join the spirit!
By Gul Panag