Auroville Marathon 2012 - My first ever Full Marathon

Posted by Anantha | Posted in , | Posted on Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Garibrath Express – the unofficial carrier of marathoners and my new friends

The Garibrath Express from Yeshvanthpur was at 11:30PM on 10th Feb. As soon as I got into my designated bogie it was obviously evident that my bogie was full of marathoners. After the formal exchange of ‘Hi’s’ ‘Hello’s’, the topic of conversation turned to Auroville Marathon.

I met Romel, a passionate photographer and a marathon runner from Arunachal Pradesh working in Bangalore. We had an instant connection because Romel too had never run a Full Marathon before. He often said how he was feeling the butterflies in his stomach. Romel introduced me to his college mate and fellow photographer Arindham, who was in the same bogie with his family for marathon. Romel later gave me his website’s URL. Visit their site NOB-Photography, I must say Romel and his friends are indeed a talented bunch of photographers. Ask Romel, what does NOB mean, he jokingly says, None Of your Business? 

Taking part in these marathons is more fun because of the interesting people you get to meet. After getting down in Pondicherry station, Romel introduced me to two more of his friends Amol and Akshita who were taking part in Half Marathon and were in another bogie. Incidentally all the 3 of them had booked room in Anandham Residency, the hotel where I had booked my room. Instead of taking an extra bed in Amol and Akshita’s room, since Romel knew I was alone in my room, he asked me if I was willing to share my room. I had no problems at all.

The night before the D-Day
On the day we reached Pondicherry [11th Feb], we had to collect our BIBs from Auroville Visitor’s Centre. I left my hotel room soon after refreshing. I had plans to hire a bicycle and roam around Pondicherry. Then eventually I decided to cycle to Auroville to collect my BIB. I was little sceptical about straining my legs on the previous day of the marathon, but I decided to go anyway. Romel, Akshita and Amol took a wise decision of going to Auroville by bus/auto and collect their BIBs.

I was little tired after cycling for nearly 40 Kms to collect my BIBs. I had an early dinner and returned to room. Romel, Amol and Akshita were out for roaming around the city. 

Auroville Full Marathon would start at 5AM and Half Marathon at 6AM. The organizers had arranged for the pickup from major hotels in Pondicherry quite early. The bus would come close to our hotel at 2:45AM. So Romel and I decided to sleep early. But like the night before a major exam, both of us did not get sleep at all. We kept discussing a lot of stuff about running, running events, practice tips etc. At last we dozed off around 11:30. That means we effectively slept for 2.5 hours that night.

The official carrier of marathoners
Romel wanted to take shower before leaving. The idea of wetting my body at 2AM in the night did not enthuse me. I just brushed my teeth and got ready. Amol and Akshita too joined us though they were running half marathons and their pickup was another hour later. They accompanied us just to cheer for us before the race. That was really nice of them.

Raja Talkies signal was the exact pickup point for us. The four of us stood waiting at the signal. The very idea of standing on a stranded street in an unfamiliar city at 2:30 in the night is insane. These are the insane things we would cherish for a long time. Jitendran Nair, an ex-commander in Indian Navy too joined us at the pickup point. It was only when we got to know that he is retired from Navy, we could guess he would be around 45 years of age. Otherwise he was looking like a guy in his thirties. He was damn fit. See, what running does to the external appearance of a person.

The Swaraj Mazda arrived to our place at 2:50. It picked up lot of guys on the way to Auroville from other major hotels of the city. The atmosphere was electric. We all felt like soldiers in an army truck heading towards the warfield.
                                                                                                                             (to be contd...)

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