IDBI Federal Life Insurance Mumbai Heritage Half Marathon 21st August 2016

IDBI federal life insurance Mumbai Half Marathon

21 st August 2016


Background :


I kept on delaying my own decision to ‘Actually run’ the IDBI half marathon till end.

It almost matched the “delayed declaration” of actual route of the marathon by the organisers.

  1. This becomes my first marathon where in the route is not even clearly decided/declared before time.

The whole promotion campaign was a phenomenon. Looking at the mega success and arrangements it seems a huge amount of time and money must have been spent.

There are fair chances of “behind the scene games as this marathon has come as a serious contender to the old established player.”

Anyone who is part of either of marathon team must have had a great experience.


Sonal’s timely help and Sree’s garmin influence my decision to make the event a “ go event “


On the wrong track :

  1. Absolutely no plan to prepare for the half marathon preparation ( did I really learn any lesson post plantar fasciitis recovery : absolute NO)
  2. 4 to 10 days before the race :
  3. No proper water/enerzal intake
  4. No proper food/nutrition planning
  5. The night before attended friend’s 50 th birthday bash and even agreed to “Co-Host” the event.
  6. Slept late and got up at 3.00 am
  7. Couldn’t join Sheila in share –a-cab as my own late decision making.
  8. Reached very late when race was about to start.
  9. NO warm up ! No pre run exercises.
  10. No planning for walk breaks.


and strangely,  I consider myself as an experienced runner!


Event Tracking :

Unlike many of my runners friends I don’t bother much about details related to organised marathons.

Many friends are constantly checking updates, advice floating on various Facebook forums , get direct opinion about the event.

This goes on till actual race visualisation sessions.


I consider all of them as the most lucky runners.

They are the chosen ones and are blessed souls.

Inhe running mein hi rab mil gaya hai (they have found nirvana in running ).


Yes I love running (and now cycling along with the first love : swimming ).

I have been writing blogs and poetry on the very subject of running .


Will running be my way to salvation ?? very difficult.

I am not the “blessed” soul.


When I am told that people have discussed a lot on the IDBI marathon vis a vis probable PBs( personal best) , A lot of inputs are freely floating on social media, I just smile.

  • Too many internal loops and U turns.
  • The breeze velocity and your own posture on marine lines stretch.
  • Humidity levels . Within humidity there in one level which is prevailing at inner roads and one which will be at Gate way of India and marine lines.
  • Visualisation : difficult to visualise first 10 or 11 km



Race Day :


We are up by 3.00 am \. Last night’s party has already disturbed the sleep pattern.

I drop Sheila at SGBNP main gate (convenient and safe place in early morning hours ) and proceed to borivli railway station.


It’s really funny way to start your day . You and your better half travel differently to reach the common destination. Good starting point for typical Indian gossip.


The BNP janata is in relaxed more. There is hardly anyone who has the typical pangs of first /second time  marathon runners.



Any one who is new to marathon is more worried about her/his preparation, leaving in time , reaching well in time so that she/he is within limits of reporting time.


My group of half marathoners are relax lot so we are traveling aaramse and now are with 10 km guys whose reporting time is later than half marathoners..

Most of 10 km are wearing the T shirt given .

Experienced runners usually do not change anything which can put her/him ‘off the bearings.’

Shoes, Tees, Garmin or smart phone in particular hand , water bottle/s holding belt; everything has to be matching to  their normal routine. Any last minute change can make her /him loose focus.


Soon the entire train coach is full of runners.

At Mumbai central station a cyclist walks in with his giant  cycle in our coach .



Charni road onwards we have strong rains, but only for some time.

Continuous rains are always welcome, but this sudden strong showers followed by no rain is only a humidity builder.


Churchgate at this hour gives different hues.



Normally filled with office goers, today we have runners descending in good numbers.

Everyone finishes the ritual of answering the nature calls as we move towards the start line near oval maidan.


It is obvious that we all are late and will not be able to reach in time i.e by 5.45 am,the official flag off time. It is also obvious that many of my runners friends whom I am following are great runners and they will soon zoom pass most of the early runners.


In any case it is the net time which matters and not the gun time.


Collateral damage :


I  end up running today’s race without any warm up , without any pre run exercise.

It is really ironically that even during practice run of even 8 km , we all have trained ourselves to have some discipline of pre run exercises and post run stretching, but today it is just get up from your bed and run kind of feeling.


How  stupid one can be ?

I am running an organised event without any preparation even though I have sufficient experience including confidence shattering injury ,still here I am running a marathon with all the negatives !


Why AM I here??


I keep asking myself this question as I move towards the start line.

“ this is a marathon which will allow me to run on all the (otherwise busy ) roads/routes with heritage buildings . Someone has worked very hard to make this happen , get permissions from multiple agencies; least I can do is to take this opportunity to run and may be leave a photoblog as an event memory trail in a very minuscule way.


The first photo opportunity is of brand ambassador Mr Tendulkar himself as he is there smiling in his characteristic style with flag in his hand.



But police security want to play their role in typical Indian way.


Before couple of runners wait and lose their seconds to click Sachin, it is usual “Chala – Chala”

( move on )


In our lovely country , security assigned to gods and demigods behave in similar fashion.

In any hyped Hindu temple your so called actual “darshan” time of god’s idol( which might be covered with “n” number of layers of clothes, gold, garlands ) is always of few seconds.

Before you can have a reasonable view of God’s and her/his surroundings (at many places you have a lot many idols around the main one ) there is always that “ chalo chalo aage badho “ ( keep moving ) .


Yes if you have money or influence or both, Hindu gods have ample time for you . Same is followed in case of demigods.


We are running towards Metro /dhobi talav.



On our left are closed shops of fashion street.


Road is wet but there is no rain .


Just before Metro signal ,{ which can become a great landmark for runners from heritage run point of view( but big headache for traffic police to close this kind of multi road junction  )} we take the U turn.


“early in the morning , so many runners “ is the conversation of policemen on duty as I take the U turn.


Mumbai police is on special stretched duty !!

In any case if you part of Mumbai police you are always ” duty warti ahe ” mode. { on duty}

In early morning at these odd hours many of them are doing a different kind of duty of securing  a marathon .

which is different from their normal law and order or cultural or religious festival related or any social or political event related duties which they have been doing.

securing a marathon can involve  multiple duties. little bit of law and order, traffic management, keeping an eye on suspicious characters, VVIP duty ,  duty to seniors who may be running, in case of mishap all the panchnama related procedures.


One policeman is video shooting the run ( one more procedural duty which is becoming a must )

I want to click him video shooting us !!




Suddenly I am confused.

“ can I keep clicking photos for my photoblogs throughout my run??”


“ can I click any subject including police ?? “


“ most of today’s route involves security sensitive landmarks “


“can a  runner whose primary role is to run and complete the marathon , stop every now and then and keep clicking photos of so called security sensitive areas? “


Multiple questions flow through my mind.

In today’s highly insecure world  only thriving things are two :

  • Rising insecurity within society due to ever rising destructive tendency of human race.
  • Security agencies and their ever increasing “ distrust , expenses, power” as every bad event raises the stakes many fold.

I start thinking my last month’s visit to Somnath temple near veraval.

I was amused to see no cell phones, no belts ,thorough personal  frisking , so as to go inside the temple premises to have darshan of lord Shiva who himself never believed in any kind of structure or order ( and worshiped as the much required force of destruction in the trinity which defines the world )


During the run I have clicked many photos, but I have had the doubt that one of the police men on duty may stop me saying “not here or no photos please “

We and the modern world !!

As I run from 1km to 2 km  mark I see that runners have already started making the road dirty .

Throughout the run I see a lot of runners throwing water bottles, enerzal (!? ) tetra packs anywhere and everywhere.


The police team ( constantly watching the runners ), residents ( not bothered but at some places stopped so that runners can run ) people who may not have high opinion on “ subject of running “ can easily form negative attitude towards runners and their need to take over roads for few hours and then leaving a lot of garbage.

All this is happening in South Mumbai which usually is cleanest part of Mumbai as compared to suburbs as it is power center of greater Mumbai.

2km mark is half fallen due to high winds and remains in that position.


We all take turn at Hutatma chowk ( British/Bomabay: flora fountain ) and run towards CST ( chhatrapati shivaji terminus ) ( British/Bombay : VT : Victoria terminus )


This is Bank street of South Mumbai. Before Bandra Kurla Complex’s Bank cluster this was and still is an area where one can see maximum banks in heritage buildings.

Dadabhai Navrojee is able to see one more running event in the same year apart from Standard chartered Mumbai Marathon.


As we move ahead I try to see an interesting juxtaposing.

In single frame IDBI runners, running in front of Standard Chartered Bank building.


The natural light is still low and it does not help the picture.

We are running towards CST and just before CST we take the U turn ( in turn to keep CST signal free for traffic ).

On left side of road morning activities of newspapers distribution are going on.

For a BNP runner early morning newspaper distribution (especially on Sunday ) is a familiar sight.

The Area below the flyover , in front of BNP main gate one can see typical Sunday morning newspaper distribution activities.

Midnight traveling with newspaper jeeps are quite interesting. In past I have traveled to Pune with newspaper jeeps . To have an early morning tea as you roam around  the newspaper redistributors at Appa Balvant Chowk in Pune after the midnight ride is a different experience.


All the activities is generating a lot of garbage ( which I believe must be getting cleaned later ). One of the runner finds some use of the waste. He comes and asks for some plastic/polythene sheet to cover his mobile phone.

One of the vendor willingly gives him a sheet and he wraps the phone . I try to click the photo of his jugaad


and I get one more photo of one runner in raincoat . The raincoat is given by the organiser along with the goodie bag . It is made of a thin polythene plastic “for once use and discard type “).


“ someone  actually using the given stuff “

I do not know how soon the raincoat gets discarded but for sure I do not see any rain for rest of the run.

We are in Kala ghoda area



“ the art district/ zone of Mumbai “

( actually south Mumbai but for many Mumbai means only  south Mumbai )

Jahangir Art gallery to Chhatripati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sanghrahalaya ( British/Bombay  : Prince of  Wales Museum to Regal cinema multi road junction.


If one has to describe the race from the point of view of any  runner or more specifically from the fast pace  runner,  the  description  can be more of

“15 seconds in bank street , 08 seconds in art district , 06 seconds at Gate way of India , 08 seconds in colaba causeway  “……this is how my heritage marathon was done.


Gate way of India is on my left and Taj Mahal Palace hotels are on my right.


On any holiday the road to Gate way of India is elbow to elbow and  choc-a-bloc. This is mainly due to security required for Taj Hotels, so right side of road is barricaded and complete periphery of Taj hotels is kind of cordoned off. All the janta who are not in shining cars but on feet have to move on left side trying to reach Gate way of India ( many of them confused as why and how they are in the mess.) for some selfie moments.

Any one can create typical “ great aspiration Mumbai moments “

Standing near Gate way of India , eating moong fali ( ground nuts ) for some kind of effect , first looking at sea and then looking at any of the Taj Hotels with dreams in the eyes  any one can  play Bollywood movie  buff

“ One day …………..” complete the dialogue so as to announce your “I have arrived / I have conquered “. Your final connect to  the maximum city  in real power sense.


The sky above sea is multi coloured and we run along the sea to take turn to reach colaba causeway.



On cause way we are running on one side of road . The other side is for traffic but the road is blocked. The vehicles are stopped so that runners can cross over . The long wait is from regal cinema till the cross over point.



The wait for general public is getting longer and many of the drivers ( not the carwala but taxiwala , tempo wala etc )have come out of their vehicle and are trying to gauge the wait period.


It is typical scene of any highway Jam in India …people coming out of the vehicle looking ahead and trying to predict.

Many are not happy. I overhear one voice from a taxi. All occupants are working women who are sitting with some goods .” what is all this ? they should have announced well in advance . “

What does that mean??  Difficult to understand but it goes very well with our characteristic “ give opinions and advice !”


We are running in Cuffe Parade area.

The road is straight beyond  Vivanta by Taj-President Hotel and come back with 90 degree U turn .

It’s posh residential area of South Mumbai. Bungalows and mansions on left and fishermen ‘s  colony on right.

Neither the rich class not the working fishermen class is out there to help or cheer the runners.

No water, No biscuits , No oranges , No chocolates …this is not the pedder road stretch of SCMM.

Yes around badhwar park’s fishermen area people are out and watching us but there is no connection with us hence no cheering.


Throughout the run there is absolutely no involvement of locals. There are only volunteers ( paid ? !! ) who are there to cheer you apart from water stations and medical stations.

It reminds you of those isolated organised run in Bandra Kurla Complex  which are designed to keep runners away from common Mumbaikars.

Soon we pass by Mantralaya .


I want to take photo of National flag nicely but have the same hesitation as I realise that this is not our tri colour caressing the sea breeze of Bandra reclamation but tiranga on the  top of mantralaya and good number of policemen are on duty.

One man is running backwards .I am perplexed “Oh wow ! is this at regular interval ? “I ask him as if this can be his walk break kind of break.

He smiles and says “No, I am going to run all the 21 km backwards.”


We marathoners are interesting species!!

As we run towards queens necklace we pass by the offices of MLAs on left side and Mr Mahatma Gandhi trying to monitor them from right side .


NCPA u turn almost simplifies the remaining marathon . No more internal roads and loops, no more confusion . Run all the way till Wilson college , take U turn come back till churchgate turn and go and finish the race.


This is quite familiar territory for most of the runners. Sobo runners, monthly bandra –NCPA runners and even once a year runners of SCMM .

I decide to take less photos as I am running into

  1. 15 km plus zone
  2. It is too familiar stretch to click photos.

Also I am worried about my remaining stretch of running.  Until now I have been running haphazardly.

No planned breaks ,arbitrary  stops anywhere and everywhere to find some story which may appeal to my eyes and all these in few seconds of time frame.

My pace has been inconsistent . At times just to regain some mileage I have ran really fast again to drop dead to take some clicks.

I have missed a lot of good moments when my mobile camera for reasons known to it could not get started in those few seconds …..

Like multiple car drivers  resting their right cheek on right hand palm at colaba causeway traffic jam


or people looking out from broken window frames at fishermen’s colony or runners with different theme T shirts suddenly running together.


Only good thing I have done is to regularly drink water at every water station since beginning.



15 km onward, I decide to concentrate on run for a change and decide to run within the pace of 7.3 ( and not faster than  ) and 8 ( the lower one) .

I decide not to take any water break but reduce the speed to 8 at couple  of places. Sun is out but clouds do help, only hitch  they can not hide the humidity.

Vast sea reminds you of humidity in very simple way.

“ shall I increase my pace after 18 km ? “is a self question .

The answer becomes obvious at around 17 km plus distance . I am searching for road side dustbin to throw the empty bottle .

I try to run sideways as I spot one dustbin , the leg movement which was somehow set in some rhythm becomes clumsy and calf muscle of my right leg  gets little twisted. There is that typical cry “ oh I may get cramps “.

Irrespective of what distance you chase , once you are at around 85 % of the distance to be covered  ( 17 to 18. 5 km when it comes to half marathon and 35 to 38 km when it is related to full marathon ) and if you have this crampy feeling, you become very conservative , tense , careful all at once !

I postpone my fast running planning for last 500 m distance and decide to run more near 8 ka pace +- 5 % range.


In last 500 m I try to increase my pace to around 7 and less which is totally rejected by both calves.

Exactly on the last timing mat both calves gets locked and I am not able to move. I hold side barricade and review my situation.

Any movement involving the calf muscles is just not possible. I try to lift the whole leg as if it is a wooden log and somehow  limp towards medal sections .

Once I take the medal and give way to other runners, I give enough time to muscles to get unlocked.

I have completed the race in around 2.35 Hrs as per  garmin.


I check each and every medical tent for ice . there is no Ice . only spray is available.


BNP friends are everywhere . Everyone is happy.

I wait for Sheila to finish her race.

At finish line there is chaos. Runners are coming back .some eager ones are trying to click award ceremony as Mr Tendulkar is giving  medals and prizes. In the whole enthusiasm of fans the finish lines are  getting overcrowded. So all 2.45 and beyond guys have one more difficulty to cross. Find required space to pass through at the end of the race.


Over all chaos remains till end as food counter and tea/coffee counters have lines matching to lines of railway bookings during summer holidays.


Some of the runners who are convinced that they have really achieved something remarkable ,comment

“ after 21km running , they are making us wait at every point in queue . don’t they have any feelings “

We decide to skip coffee line and walk towards churchgate station.

For me post run stretching is just not possible.


We return by local train and

as always  Sheila is able to have a power nap and I complete Sunday express newspaper.


…………………………………………the end.

2 thoughts on “IDBI Federal Life Insurance Mumbai Heritage Half Marathon 21st August 2016

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