A few years back I had heard from people the passion and love for running. The charity which running could generate and the awareness running could create for a cause. There are causes like situations always around. At times, when it was difficult to talk about Breast Cancer and Prostate Cancer there were events where people ran and spoke and spread the message. There are small events with big causes and there are big events with no cause at all. Running can be for leisure as well (for sure). Then, why the pretense and the claims? I participated in Runaway Floods, a marathons for flood relief held in Chennai, which didn’t make tall claims and have a huge turnout but the organizers showed enough support to all the runners and their contribution towards the money raised for the flood hit places in India back in October 2014.
There was a big event, Chennai Night Marathon D2D, which supported Love Your Liver Foundation, an initiative by Neville Endeavour’s Foundation in Chennai. Runners poured in with all their dedication and love for the same a widely successful marathon. Every year Khushi Pediatric Therapy Centre organizes, Autism Cause-a-thon, in awareness for people suffering with Autism. Alongside there is Ace Runner Sayuri Dalvi who organizers a free run for the same awareness. Runners registered in large numbers blocking the spot but not all turned up because it’s a free run and they don’t lose anything by not going and running ( the event had lovely finishers medals and good arrangements with proper refreshments). The regulars were there the lot who run for passion and care. Joints and Motion have excellent runs arranged every year for various causes. This year I also participated in small events like 8th Delhi Cross Country Race (Vikaspuri runners) and Fitness Run (Radius 18), which provided finishers medals, T shirts ( on request) and refreshments as well. Pinkathon, made it possible for many women achieve their dreams of running along with Breast Cancer as the core cause I also saw free registrations for daughters along with their mother not only that domestic help and under privileged women were also provided with an platform to participate and experience the women power in full force. Well enough said about the few mentioned runs. What makes the other runs so expensive and troublesome to participate? Crowd pulling translates into crowd arm twisting with many hurdles put in front of the runners to participate each year. Then what’s the whole point? At SCDM, Dubai provides excellent goodie bag, finishers medal, t-shirt and refreshments along with making people aware about various health issues (same with Standard Chartered Bangkok Marathon) then what sets SCMM on a different level which makes it hard to digest the fact that it’s one of the most expensive run in Mumbai and provides great crowd support which again is the every Mumbaikar who decides to step out and support the runners. Which again means it is the Mumbaikar, which makes the whole experience so good not the mere mention of the organizers.I’m not in protest with SCMM but fail to understand their stand. The overhype does play an important part here. This year the road leading to the ground after the run was extremely jam packed with exhausted runners God lone knows if a runner would have had a problem what would have happened. But again it remains the pulse of every Mumbai runner to at least once in a lifetime run at this event. It’s out of this addition every year the runners with a pinch of salt register and go ahead with marathon. It’s love for running which makes the event so successful every year and on everyone’s wish list. We need to participate in small as well as big events (agreed) but some justification would be fare, when compared to the other events around the world by the same organizers on the same scale and even better. The whole year one can observe tons of qualifiers runs mushrooming, which talks only about participating in the biggest running event of the year. Okay it’s good to see people up and running but what happens when a fellow runner needs your support. No one stops as their PB (Personal Best) goes for a toss, which means when you register and say you are in it for health fitness and a particular cause, you easily ignore the fellow runner as stopping would affect your personal cause which again is the only PB. I still remember last year when I participated in Pondy Marathon (its first time ) as soon as we started and entered the dark lanes I twisted my ankle and fell flat on the street, other runners around who noticed stopped to help me regain my balance and few called out for help, then what even wrong with Mumbaikars , is the obsession for PB fatal.
One can see Ace Runners like Raj Vadgama, Milind Soman, Sunil Shetty, Sangeeta Shetty, Sayuri Dalvi, Giles Drego, Ram Venkatraman, Venkatraman Pichumani (who never leaves you unanswered when asked for advise) and Nikhil Shah to name a few, helping and motivating fellow upcoming new runners with their humble ways and a smile. Then, what happens to the over excited, over achieving and over talented runners who ignore the other runner. Asking each and every runner, what exactly are they running for? What are their running goals? What is the biggest achievement as a marathon runner? What makes them feel fit? What inspiration they leave behind as a runner? And lastly, WHY? The intention behind me writing all this is Just to appeal and tell everyone that every event is important and as happening as you make it. By being there for one another as runners we make a different human race altogether, getting more and more people out on roads to help them develop themselves and realize their goal in life. It’s important to run on the streets together but it is also important to run along. It is not only Personal Best which will give you satisfaction end of the day but the Personal Best Stories you would tell with each marathon and that will make it special not only for you but everyone associated with you.
So be a Responsible Runner not a Proud Runner.