The idea of running came to me when I saw my father completing his first half-marathon in 2016. I used to think that it was an impossible task and seemed way out of my league.
One day, a thought struck me. If my dad, who is much older than I am could run long distances with such ease, then why couldn’t I? With this thought and the motivation from my dad I started running in 2017 December and ran my first 10k that month itself. I ran with the Unirunners Running group (Kolkata) in our community who also inspired me to run. I ran my second 10k in Manipal marathon 2018, after which I stopped running till November 2018. In the first week of January 2019 I thought that it was time I should run my first half-marathon. So I had started preparing myself by doing short runs in the weekdays followed by long runs on Sundays.
The marathon was scheduled to be on 17th February and I had my training plan for preparing for the marathon but due to ankle pain and sessionals in the race week, I couldn’t practice much. Anyway, I was prepared mentally and was totally determined that 17th February was my day and I could finish the half-marathon.
The previous day I slept early and set as many as alarms as possible as I was afraid of missing out on the big day. So I woke up at 4:45 AM, I rose out of bed, changed into my race outfit, looked in the mirror and said to myself that I can do it.
I reached KMC greens on my cycle.The atmosphere was great with the runners ready for the event and I could see the ‘josh’ everywhere. The pre-race event was well-organized and the sound system was excellent. Before the run I had taken two bananas and hydrated myself well the before day. As the flag-off time neared my nervousness grew. But in my heart I knew I was ready for it.
The flag-off was at 6:02 AM. I had no idea about the route, it was all new and I had started running with a normal pace. The run was going well as at the starting there was a downhill and it felt nice running the first few kilometres in the dark. I continued running till the 15th kilometre and didn’t feel much pain. I had my first water sip at the 16th kilometre as my throat went dry eventually. That’s where the sun came up and made a huge impact on my run. I could feel the burning sensation in my thighs and every minute a thought of giving up came to mind but I kept telling myself that I could do it. After coming this far one simply cannot give up. I was motivating myself throughout the way and when I reached the 19th kilometre mark I knew that it was going to be very tough as there was sudden elevation. I experienced a lot of pain in my legs which was was torturous. With great courage I sprinted all my way to the finish line with unwavering determination. As I crossed the line, I slowed down and finally stopped. I finished it in 2 hours and 39 minutes, I felt an immense relief and had mixed feelings of happiness and pain and that’s what is the best feeling one gets after finishing a marathon. I’ve never felt so ecstatic or proud of doing something in my life. Training for a marathon seems hard but when you finish you will feel stronger and more confident than you’ve felt in your life.
Most runners do not compete for the first place. They are competing against themselves, either for a personal best or simply to finish the race. Life too is similar. While it may look like a race against others, the only real competition is yourself. Rather than looking over your shoulder to see how everybody else is doing, focus on your inner self to see how you can evolve.
Secondly, the volunteers were very helpful and were cheering for all the participants throughout the run. Water stations were very helpful as they were sufficient throughout the route. Thanks to Manipal Runners’ Club for organising such a great event and making it a huge success. I had joined the Manipal Runners’ club a few weeks ago, so I hope to run more with them. A big thanks to Manipal blog for clicking such amazing pictures of the participants throughout the race.-
Finally, I want to thank my parents for motivating me through this journey and Unirunners(Kolkata) for inspiring me.
This article was written by Thanmai Chochipatla.