Sunday, December 06, 2009

Run of the mill will

"He's already done it once. Why does he want to do it again?" my Dad emailed.

"I don't know." I said. I really did not.

Viv and I have been discussing this for a while now. While his plan was to run one full- and one half-marathon every year, I suggested running only the half. Though I am fully supportive of all the sports he participates in, I was also a little worried.

"You're a wicket-keeper. That's already hard on the knees. If you train all year for two marathons and then run them, your knees will be in very bad shape." I said.

"But I can do it." He said.

"You're just addicted."

It's true. He was. And this morning, I understood why he was.

So here are the highlights from today's Singapore Standard Chartered Marathon.

First of all, congratulations to S2 on their first full Marathon! I am super proud of you, guys!!

Last night, as it poured, Viv and I were walking around inspecting a part of the track under an umbrella, and hoping for the rain to stop. Like he says, collective consciousness was what kept today a dry, and yet cool day. Rain would have marred the run for many, and the sun would have caused collective unconsciousness perhaps!

The runners had been given a blank label on which to write words of encouragement and motivation for themselves and/or fellow runners and stick at the back of their running vests. Viv and I brainstormed yesterday on what to write on his.

"How about 'I've got a serious case of the runs'!?" I asked.

Ahem, I could tell from his face that he didn't like it too much.

After going through all phrases with the word 'run' in it, I finally suggested something he liked.

"If it rains, you can write, 'This is not a dry run.'? Good, eh?"

"Yeah, I like it. Let's make it, 'This is not a dry run. Keep going.' so the pun is clearer." He said.

We had pretty much finalised when both of us thought of the same thing at once. If we wrote this, we'd have to wish for it to rain! Noooooooooooooo!

"Okay, forget that. How about we write 'Run of the mill' and then cross out the 'mill' and write 'will' on top?" I suggested.

"Yeah! Or we could write 'Run of the mill' and draw a guy on a treadmill, followed by 'Run of the will' and show a guy crossing the finish line of the marathon!" He said. I loved the idea.

Unfortunately, the label was too small for us to write and draw all of it, so we finally went with 'Run of the will. Keep going.'

Many people had got their kids to write on the labels so we saw many instances of 'Go, daddy, go!' Viv said he was quite confused when he read on a woman's back 'You're stranger than you think!', and only when he got closer did he realise that he had read 'stronger' as 'stranger'. I also saw a girl who had 'Chase me lah!' on her label. Some guy had 'virgin marathoner' written on his, while another had the learners' 'L', which I thought was hilarious!

The race marshalls were holding up placards with words of encouragement for the runners. In addition, there were people standing/sitting along the track, applauding and cheering the runners. There was even a woman who along with her two kids, was handing out bananas from a bag to the runners. Very very touching.

Speaking of touching sights, there was a one-armed man and a one-legged guy running with such utter determination, it was humbling just to stand and watch them. There were also people in their 70s merrily running and leaving youngsters behind.

Some supporters also came with a sense of humour. Viv said that when his legs started cramping around the 35-km mark and he started walking instead, a guy called out to him and pointed at the sign he was holding. The sign said, 'This is a no-walking zone!' Viv resumed running, and the guy grinned and shouted a 'Thank you!' after him.

Viv and S2 had their phones on them and they kept me updated every now and then of their status. When your friends are running such a long distance, there's not much you can do other than stationing yourself at key points in the route and finally at the finish line. You can, of course, send them random messages to cheer them up and keep them going. When Shub was near the 37-km mark, I sent her a few messages, "The end is nearing! Bhaag Dhanno bhaag!" and "You're in your late 30s! Go go go!" I almost fell off laughing when she replied with a "I'll never be more thankful to enter my early 40s!"

I read that a total of 50,000 people ran today in the 10-km, 21-km and 42-km categories. Plus, there was a kids' dash too! It was awesome to see the kids in their cute little running vests.

This is only the second full marathon I have witnessed, but I have come to realise one very important thing. When we hear about someone running the marathon, regular people like you and me tend to react the same way, "That's just insane." But only when you're part of the atmosphere, only when you witness the training and discipline it takes, only when you see the grit and determination on each runner's face as he/she runs past you, only when you see the pain the runners go through when muscle cramps set in, only when you see the kind of support they garner, only when you see the thrill on the faces of the runners when they cross the finish line, do you truly understand why people like Viv get addicted.

Viv finished in under 5 hours once again and I was very very proud of him. And finally, I began to see his point. I guess he saw mine too. And that's why we have negotiated it down to only one full-marathon every year. Only when he can't run the full anymore, he will go for the half.

And when he can't do that either, we will still go. We will stand by the track and hand out bananas to the runners.


starbreez said...

Congratulations, Viv, and definitely Sayesha for making it through with him again :)

I love the 'L' sign too ... and the bananas. Makes me miss home.

Iddy Albatross said...

That was a very touching post, and I know what passion for something like this can be like. I've seen friends leave everything, from cracked knees to bad backs, to do the one thing they want to do...

The L sign was hilarious! I wanted to take part in the Delhi Marathon this year, but somehow it didn't happen. Maybe that passion for something like that is missing... but all I hope is that I have a bit of passion for something at least...

Great post... Cheers :)

manasi.mulye said...

Very nice post!

Taurus Girl said...

Great post... :)
Well done Viv...
and can I claim GOLD?...

reena said...

Cool post... :-)
Well done Viv ans Sayesha(well more to Viv ;-) )

oxymoron said...

you can view his fotos at:

oxymoron said...

And congrats to Viv for a great timing!

mintdesai said...

Have you ever considered writing short stories or novels? If a crap guy like chetan bhagat can make lakhs and lakhs, you are in for crore aarama se.

soleil said...

My sisters saw the dude with the "This is a no-walking zone!" sign too! :D That really deserves mention. Such a nice surprise bumping into you two :) Photo please? Really wished Clueless was around.

Sudipta Chatterjee said...


My heartiest congratulations to both Viv, you and Shub (you and Viv count as one) for accomplishing this!


Thousif Raza said...

just as inspirig as last time when you wrote it, loved it even more :)

congrats to viv again for the superb attempt :), cheers

take care and keep writing.........

Menagerie said...

Thats awesome! Here I am struggling to maintain pace for a 10K, I cannot even imagine running a 42k. Maybe someday! Big cheers to Viv and his fellow runners!

Sayesha said...

Thank you! :D

#Iddy Albatross,
Thanks! Maybe you could go for the Delhi marathon next year!

Thanks. :)

#Taurus Girl,
Thanks. Yes, gold is all yours! :P

Thanks! :D

Hey! We saw you just before the finish line!! :D Thanks for the link! :)

Hehehe... I used to write short stories a few years ago, but only for the reading pleasure of family and close friends. :P

Yeah, we were so surprised to see you too! :D I've emailed you the photo. :)

Thanks! :D

Thanks! :D

You're telling me? I'll collapse after 5K I think! :/

All the best training for the big one! :)

Prady said...

I have thought of running so many times, but never got the courage/training to do it. My BIG congrats to Viv!

Also, I liked the writing style on this too much. It almost felt like I was there to witness the race.

Sayesha said...

Thanks! :) Hope you run next year!! :)

N said...

Bravo!!! A big congratulations to Viv..hope he is able to run for many more years to these full marathons...

And cudos to you Sayesha, for supporting him for this...half of the people do not even take part because of lack of support...