We have a biker and a runner in the family - the husband and the brother, respectively - which means that every weekend, there is atleast one cycling or running event that somebody is participating in. Recently, thanks to all the encouragement from the husband and a friend, I took up cycling seriously. I did my longest ride, so far, yesterday - 31k in an hour and twenty. When bro asked me if I would like to do the 5km run on Women's Day, I said why not.
Bro could not do the run as he had a bigger event to participate in, at work - Toyota Greenathon - and the wife backed out, for she fell sick. The husband and mum stepped in, to do their runs. At 5.55AM, we set out by car and reached the venue, minutes in advance of the kick-off.
The plan was that mum would walk the 5km, I would run the 5km and the husband would run the 10km. The 10km runners took off approximately 10 minutes before the 5km runners. Mum started with her walk and I broke into a slow run.
The last time I ran in the Sunfeast World 5k run, I had taken off at the beginning and tired soon enough. The 5km run had consisted of a number of fast runs, slow runs and walks interspersed as I tired and picked up intermittently. This time, the plan was to maintain a uniform pace, a slow run and keep going as much as I could. I was hoping to run atleast 3km of the 5km run.
I managed the half-way mark, running all the way, stopping only once for a sip of electral-water. It got harder towards the end but I was determined to make it. The stomach was wobbly and a wee distracting but I ignored it by helping myself to the myriad sights around me. I took a few pics but not of very good quality, some even shaken as I did not want to stop to click and break my run.
There was a father and son, in a striking similar attire. Brown shorts and white tee. The father was struggling to run, so when the son took off he went, "Don't run, don't run!". That was funny because aren't we doing the Women's Day Run?
There were a host of people, running in the T-shirt of the Sunfeast World Run. Mum, the husband and I were among the first 500 to register, so we got an Adidas event T-shirt.
Closer to the start and end points, there was a band, indicating that the destination was closer. It was like a sign of encouragement, "Keep going, you're almost there"
Finally the half-way mark, the 2.5km sign where the 5km runners had to make a U-turn. The 10km runners had gone past this and had to do three 'rounds'.
As I turned at the half-way mark, my stomach was aching unbearably. I had to slow down, so I started to walk. It was disappointing to have to walk back. I had not even done my 3km target. I was disappointed but so be it. A few minutes into the walk, approximately 1km later, I heard someone calling out my name. Mum! She had walked and how fast! Just minutes behind me! I clicked a picture as she kept walking (look for the woman in the long white tee and black tracks) and then broke into another run, the stomach ache forgotten. I had to run.
Either the walk was the rest I needed or mum, the encouragement, for I ran to the end from there, stopping once again for a sip of cold water about half a kilometer from the point where we had started. On the way, I met the husband running his last round of the 10km run - sweating profusely. I took another picture (Superman is the guy in the centre) from behind, for both of us did not want to break our speeds.
Entered the gates to a round of applause and cheering from those present there, encouraging everyone who finished the race running. Suddenly, the cheering turned crazy with people calling out "Neera, Neera". I turned around, just in time to click the first of the women's 10km runners (girl in pink).
I collected my certificate and waited for mum, as I tried to cool down before I went for the water/banana/biscuit/juice available in the various stalls setup for the runners.
Mum arrived, running the last 50m in the spirit of the run (she can't run because of a painful uterus condition). I led mom to the queue that had, by then, formed for the certificates. As we stood there, I was getting restless, for I wanted to click the husband running in. I was so proud of him! He ran the 10km, with barely any training. Before I could head back, he had finished. Ten kilometers in under one hour. Bravo!
Water, a banana & biscuit and juice (Booster Juice - an awful mix of flavour, preservative and water) later, we clicked a couple of pictures atop the stage with the background announcing the organizers, sponsors and the NGO being supported.
We waited around to watch the winners being announced, bought some groceries on the way back to the car and headed home. I bought my mum flowers to tell her how proud of her I was. A beautiful way to start a Sunday morning.