BNP Endurathon 25.0 promo run with Mumbai road runners 5th april 2015

That Feeling : It’s salty air. I try to close my eyes for couple of seconds and try to breath the air and the surroundings.

Put put put put…the thumping sound………….

The rhythm is not set to my heart beats , but to the trademark firing sound of Enfield bullet.

I am riding Anand’s (Mayekar) Enfield and having one extra fun round on Worli sea face (from INS Trata to Mela Restaurant) and for this particular patch I am not looking at the runners.

The air after brushing my face is trying to caress my hair and I want to ride this Enfield without my helmet.

Some other time……….

The call :

I am off social network . Actually I am trying to take a break for the time being (whenever possible) from Newspapers, TV ,whatsapp and other E world related forums(any way I am not there on Facebook).

Trying to de clutter the mind which loves to indulge on various platforms.

This year Vipasana meditation ( best practical way to de clutter your mind and not necessarily to find the moksha or being with the supreme ) is not possible, so these kind feebleattempts.

Maheshbhai calls up in the evening and confirms about tomorrow. “aa rehe ho na ? “

Post survey( related to promo run ) and saying yes on a written survey I remained confused. Since I was off whatsapp , did not know what is latest. Since there was no email or message even by Saturday evening I assumed it may be ok if I do some other Sunday planning .

5 th April : Morning

3.30 am and I am up. Everyone from my family is on trip to Shirdi except me so I was extra careful to sleep by 10 pm. When you are alone there are times when you somehow delay your actual sleeping time .My off TV fitoor helped.

It’s 4:30 am and I am standing at the start point of the Sai dham flyover near Carnival cinema ( old kulraj broadway ) on western express highway:kandivli-borivli division point. The extra vigilant dog affiliated to Carnival Cinema is barking at me. It’s our old continuity. Every time Some BNP car picks me at this odd hour, the dog barks from distance.

The drive to Otter’s club Bandra is smooth and fast. Sanjay’s ( Rout )son is sitting next to Maheshbhai . Maheshbhai introduces us by special suffix “ Uncle “ . Ye shashi uncle hai , ye shailesh uncle hai. Shashiji sweetly protests “Are yaar uncle to mar lagao “

The start Point :

We reach well within time . The runners have just started coming. Some have reached there not by vehicle but “ by running. “ Mr Pillai has run all the way from sion to this start point so that he can actually start his run !! It’s almost like “ oh why take train….it takes time to use that mode” ( to do all the jugglery to reach station ,buy ticks, get down and climb the stairs etc ). Mr Mansoor is Dubai based runner. Even though this is supposed to be an off season for running there is a great crowd . Ram sir is happy to see so many runners .Soon there is discussion on impact of regular runners on so called “ off season “. May be today’s runner group can be called “ perennial runners who do not dry down /vanish in “off season” Mumbai summer.

Andrea Stadler wants to give contribution for today’s run . Samuel Chettiar once again informs everyone about today’s sponsored support by BNP Endurathon 2015. Shashiji adds little friendly motivation “ there is a small breakfast is also arranged at the end at NCPA. “

Team BNP is present .

Some of us are running along with regular MRR runners. Many of us are on different duties of volunteering.

Couple of cars stop by to inquire about “ where are the registrations?? “ It seems there is one more event of a very short running distance in bandra. there is also a group of cyclists who are gathering on carter road to start their regular Sunday group trip.

Maheshbhai has promised to arrange the bike ride for me (rather than car travel from bandra to NCPA). I am supposed to observe and if possible attempt “writing” something on today’s special event of Promo run organized by MRR and supported ( sponsored ) by BNP Endurathon 2015 ( so that already bored janta has one more avenue to get further bored ) . I am neither running or volunteering in the typical sense. Observing while running is much more easier and intense.

Vaibhav has got his special Enfield Bullet (Desert Storm) and he is going to give me royal ride on royal enfield . My stars are more blessed ! Anand has come all the way from Kalyan on his recently delivered ( according to him purchased long back but actual delivery after nine months! )Enfield Bullet ( rather than car ). He is an officer on special duty . His job is extremely important . He has to capture all the magic moments as he is the specially called photographer from all the way kalyan .

He has decided to sit behind Vaibhav so he is more free to click. He easily gives keys of his two month old baby to me and says “ bike chala lete hona !! ye bhi chala loge “

I have done some pleasure rides on my cousins enfields, beyond that my biking is reduced over the years. It’s more on field trips with my engineers I get my chances to ride bikes.

Samuel Chettiar , ever smiling …. is coordinating today’s event . He requests everyone for a group photo.

The Run : everyone is running on carter road ( now known in BMC records as sangeet samrat Naushad Ali road ) . I have some memories of seeing Naushad sahab going for walks on this very road. The run on carter road is not till CCD / the union park turning but at railway colony everyone takes U turn and soon we all are on turner road.

I ride ahead and stop on one side. Soon all the runners, run past as I try to gauge the time lag between first group of runners to the last. Purnendu and his group are first to pass by. Most of the runners are within some kind of loose groups and it may be interesting to see how do they get placed in later kilometers.BNP runners have their own sub groups….Punit is leading one group and Deepa, Prabhuji , Hitesh Sagar, Varun and initially they are running together. Nitin and Vinod are the fast runners. Amit-Amogh are twin runners.Kaushal, Avani are running at a faster pace.

I avoid taking left turn from Mahim Church rather go with the car traffic. At Barista signal at Shivaji Park BNP Gr’s first water station is arranged. I park the enfield and join the group.

The first water station :

The team :Sree, Suvendu,Revathi and Sanjay Raut ( with family ) Lalitaji and his son Akhilesh are also on BNP duty. Maheshbhai and Shashiji have already joined . We rearranged one standee of BNP from side of the road to the centre divider.

Soon the runners start approaching. There are two trays , one for enerzal offered by revathi and one with water is with Sree. Sanjay, Suvendu , Maheshbhai are doing the other logistics. Ideal quantity of paper cups/glasses becomes the topic of discussion. Like every project management which has two types of planning guys….(the first one of conservatives types who believe in resource optimization and second types want to always have extra buffers) here also the earlier drawn lines are visible . I have timed my stop watch to see overall time from one group of runners till the last one. We are a bunch of enthusiasts. We are more concerned about catering to the runner so that we can serve better rather than the genuine needs of the runner. Extra requests are liberally used to motivate the runners to use the service of the first water station. Some are convinced to go for refill ( even if their bottle is yet to get over ). Pranav Mehta comes and greets everyone and we immediately offer him our services. He smiles and says “ areey yaar …no need , we are just starting our run’”

Lalitaji and Akhilesh start their run from this point .

Kaushikbhai ( in Endurathon t shirt) is running in group along with Bindu. Post water break and greetings they move on. Maheshbhai and Shashiji decide to go ahead but soon stop the moving innova as they realize the standee is still standing at the old designated road divider pole. We remove the standee and they take it with them so as same can be used ahead.

At times when we have a good flow of runners , the combined group occupy half the road. During our brief halt once a Police patrol car passes by slowly, observing our activities and once convinced accelerates and goes ahead.

We have decided to offer the services to all the runners. Soon we are serving the regular Sunday runners, MIG runners. After half an hour ( by this time everyone at this water station is sure that all the bandra-NCPA runners have moved ahead ) the first water station is closed down. I move ahead enjoying my ride. I take right turn from Bengal chemical signal and take inside route of Worli .

By the time I come to the Tee junction of Old passport office to worli sea face Lalitaji and Akhilesh are crossing by …..she reconfirms the road and route which I nod in affirmative as I continue my ride.

Worli Sea Face:

This turns out to be today’s most interesting ride stretch for me. Less traffic , Sea on my right , salty low breeze and lot’s of people busy doing some physical activity on Sunday morning….all this adds up . Most of the runners are going towards Mela side . Few are running opposite. Morning walkers have great presence. At couple of places there are open gym kind of equipments which are being used effectively.

Common man ( statue of the creation of R.K. Lakshman ) is standing and is doing better job of observation than me.

Our runners are now fairly separated. Some are still running in group ( but thinned down group ) , some are running in pairs and some are now solo runner ( may not be very far from their earlier group partners )

At Mela signal I take a U turn and decide to take one more round till INS trata and back ( “ look you are supposed to observe….so one more round is required “ : is the way in which I convince myself to burn more fuel ( than required ) . Zoom and I have the zoom –zoom round. More indulgence and less work.

Second water station

: the team :Sridhar ( mani ) , Arjun, Savio, Ramanathan are the assigned volunteers. The volunteers of 1st water station have also joined here ( after closing down ) . More bananas go as compared to first one.

Savio helps me with standee as we dismantle the same so that same can be used further .

I loan Savio from the group to help me with standee’s transportation to next point.

Soon we are on our best “ together” run stretch.

Mela till Haji ali stretch has been always part of group running where in Savio and myself have run together numerous times . He has been my special motivator who helps to cross this stretch. Haji Ali can be a killer curve if the sun is out and hitting you.

The early part of peddar road is in bad shape . It needs some kind of asphalt resurfacing.

The vehicular traffic is slowly increasing.

We are now at babulnath but on the opposite side of road.

BNP’s third water station is at Babulnath entry point on main road.

The team :Sanjay Padmanabhan with his son Advik, Ninad,Geeta , Nishant with his cousin brother

There is already one standee and road is narrow. We decide to move on with our standee.

One more time I am on the road which is caressing the sea.

The queen’s necklace completes my today’s interesting ride

Carter road, worli sea face and now marine lines……what else one can ask on Sunday morning for a pleasure ride on Enfield ??

May be a bit of Walkeshwar downhill , little stretch of bands stand ( land’s end )to hill road and the complete palm beach road in navi mumbai………(all these are sea/water linked roads.) invite rider in me !

We are at NCPA and park the bullet. There is one BNP banner which is tied with a tree and a pole.

The standee is immediately erected and put on display. The water station is arranged. Healthy breakfast carefully chosen/selected is in box packing. ( brown bread sandwich, sprouts, cookie with instant sugar item of strawberry pulpy fruit chews with mango juice ). The first batch of runners have already come and soon few of us get busy.

BNP Gr have made postcard size flyers and Shashiji gives few to me which I carry with me and get busy meeting friends and all the gupshup and chitchatting. Soon Shashiji realises : his chosen chela going “ off the track” and reminds me “ there, please contact them “ as he indicates to some potential runners for Endurathon.

One “so called :cold call “ triggers my early years of well implanted training module.

When I had completed my 10th ( SSC exams )My training had started under guidance of my Uncle . He became my mentor for “ in house” training . Being part of Maheshwari family Sunday cricket was not encouraged and I was sent across all industrial areas in and around Pune to market welding machines.For next few years Sundays and vacation time was devoted to explore different industrial areas in western and southern India for different industrial products which were not were important from our product portfolio.

Cold calling has been my first training.

I have around 25 cards and I am looking for some obvious signs. Incoming runner( even though a clear choice ) can not be stopped so I am looking for

a. Some one with good shoes

b. Some one with dry fit kind of clothes

As I move ahead and try to meet different kinds of people, Some are taken aback as they get worried.

They have their own assumptions : may be this guy is approaching me/us with some kind of promo scheme/NGO type of donation scheme/ some kind investment scheme./some type of salesman trying to ruin lovely Sunday.

During this phase I meet families ( even with stroller), foreigners on short trip, different group of

Youngsters ( one of the girl exclaims “ oh national park ! it’s very far . I have come once ! lovely place !”

{ true to it’s image for many sobo youngsters even in year 2015 Borivli is more nearer to Ahmedabad than to South Mumbai ).

A group is exercising and I approach every one individually . The instructor ( with T of Dumbelled) is initially reluctant to stop the group exercise but some how gives in . It’s my first group flyer distribution on bigger scale.

In between I try my weird ( and may be stupid : but then why so serious !! ) humour on Anant sir, Punit and Varun when they are about to finish their run . I pretend to run along with them trying to promote the Endurathon 2015.

My most interesting interaction is with a girl who may be from North east ( or may be from south east countries )

She has arranged her Smart Phone on the parapet with some exercise video cued. She is following the exercises shown in the video. It’s a small screen and she has all the attention on it.

Even though I am impressed by her dedication and devotion to such a small size screen I do interrupt her politely and start my small promo talk/repeat tape.

“Heaven on earth ! “

“ we all run regularly in BNP , but at least once in a year we want the whole world to come and discover the jannat “

“ monsoon of BNP…..it’s different !!”

When I approach one muslim all male group busy in some serious discussion, initially they do not understand what I am talking .One of them comments : “ morning 5:30 ??”

His friend asks him : kyoon ?? thik naheen ?? you want one hour early or what ???

Soon they understand what is this all about and one of them says :” we are all morning walkers….we may think of walking but yes there is time ,few of can practice !”

Seeing my efforts the attendant at the public washroom allows me to have a loo break without insisting of chhuta paisa ( which in any case I do not have ).

Once my cards get exhausted I return back to base.

Shashiji grants me a breakfast break.

Sangitaji and Sunilji have come . Sunilji is most of the time surrounded by people. Once free I meet him . He tells me to take it easy during my injury recovery period and advises me to have active rest ( meaning keep walking ) I have started liking this term “ active rest”.

Sunilji introduces me to Mr kutty who is 73 years of age and has completed the last SCMM full .

Indrayani even with neck support is busy clicking photos. She is always there capturing beautiful moments!

We insist Indy the photographer must also get photographed and she joins friends for photos.

Once again there are group photo sessions .

The whole group, only females, only with MMR Tee shirts and last one: all BNP walas.

Interestingly here at 40 km away from BNP( Borivli National Park ) couple of monkeys are visible .

It looks like some kind of continuity. The madari with monkey requests for breakfast box which is willingly given ( call it a monkey effect )

By 8 : 40 when we wind up, it is “125 breakfast

boxes “ given kind of statistics .

Estimates of 80 runner ends up with figure of 110 to 120 makes today’s efforts interesting.

In two cars we reach stadium hotel( near Churchgate station) and friends have brun maska, omelette and keema ( actually we could have gone to Kayani or any other Irani hotel . Stadium hotel is more convenient when one has to travel back by local train.)

On way back in Maheshbhai’s Innnova ,we all discuss the 2016 group trip for running to a foreign locale.

It has to be sasta –majboot-tikau as well as exotic.

One of the Big 6 marathons is suggested by Nitin but we all feel it may not fit in our basic aim of maximum participation.

We discuss about south east as well as central asian nations.

The idea to start monthly collection so as to to create a fund in advance is also discussed which can help in many .

the end………..

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