BNP Endurathon 2016: a photo blog of a volunteer
Photos courtesy: BNP GR Friends and pexels.com
“ Nothing succeeds like success”
Endurathon 2016 has turned out to be the most successful event and without any mishap or unfortunate happening.
It’s turned out to be a genuine boutique event for serious runners.
We can easily claim as one of the toughest but most beautiful events India can offer to any serious runner.
What is this blog about: It’s a report from a volunteer. It is in no way a comprehensive coverage of Endurathon 2016. Also, it indulges in some background.
Limitations: It’s personal account so certain bias may get reflected. It’s a subjective call.
Why have I written this?
: Primarily this is a kind of self-test. I would like to read this after a few years and would like to review. The whole story deals with an event involving friends who all have one common passion “ running “.
When friends meet and carry out certain event, there are bound to be differences, ego clashes and even some mismanagement (which may be happening in the background ).
Photo by Gratisography on Pexels.com
Advance apologies: If you are reading this and you happen to be one of the friends who were there during the event or even during one of the past events and find my observations, not to your likings, I am sorry!
To have an adverse reaction is quite natural, but take it from me, if you ever read this after a couple of years and review retrospectively you will find it funny and even true and wish things could have been handled differently. ( Don’t we all want to relive those past moments in different ways??? )
Endurathon 2016 : 3 rd edition
There is an unusual calm. Unlike endurathon 2014 when Shashiji tried to launch it with a lot of noise, this time it’s almost like “gag order” passed by the core committee.
Many of runner friends are already unhappy.
The core committee has not bothered to inform “ us “ about the event launch. The janta comes to know only via a Facebook post.
The unusual calm has its own reason. The core committee is jittery.
Endurathon 2014 had all the noise and formation of so many subcommittees and series of meetings. Shashiji had tried to oversell. Though 2014 was a grand success and in single launch endurathon created the niche within the running community it was an utter failure from the point of view of interpersonal relationships and the whole concept of camaraderie and friendship.
Running is a common passion which brought many like-minded friends together to form “Borivli National Park Green Runners Group”
Kaushik Panchal, Mahesh Nagwekar, Sunil Shetty, Anant Sir, Punit Chandiwala, Sunil Agarwal , Sanjay Padmanabhan, Shashank Parkar ,Rupal Shah along with Nitin Kale , Pramod Pai, Shashidhar came together and formed the club.
They even decided for a legal entity with proper registration as well as getting an approval of charity commissioner to make and run it as Non-Government Organisation.
To sheer bad luck of everyone ( including myself ) I happened to attend one meeting ( by the time the like-minded friends had enough meetings and were ready to announce who will hold which post i.e basically everything was well settled within the group members. No elections were required, things had been pre-decided )
My stupidity was at it’s best as I ended up saying
“ why do we need structure( legal entity), if our aim to share the joy of running with anyone and every one? “
“why have a legal entity which will come with a lot of compliances, responsibilities and you all be answerable to every small thing? “
And most audacious fax pass: “ Are we matured enough to handle our individual giant egos to make running “fun for the maximum? “
Obviously, every one realised that I was invited there by mistake and
the stupidity to have Shailesh in the group now cannot be “undone”
Anant sir smartly handled my stupid questions and observations and soon everyone went ahead with the usual business.
What followed is part of known history.
First Kaushikbhai ( the very founder of the group and the very reason for me being a runner ) branched out and turned his passion into business at the end of Endurathon 2014.
Obviously, there were confusion and many runners drifted here and there.
Sheila was confused. She was part of 0( couch ) to 5 km batch when Kaushikbhai was the Chief Coach for the BNPGr initiative. ( he was a founder member )
Kaushikbhai was a great coach. He took pains in making the programme for newcomers. He could equally cover theory and practical with ease to satisfy questioning minds as well as those wanting more variations.
Now he was independent and had started paid classes. For Sheila, it was natural to think of joining Kaushikbhai’s Runners Academy.
BNPgr group was internally shaken. Even though the overall confidence of the group was low we decided: Let’s stick to the original group. Soon within Borivali National Park, there were so many running clubs.
The first and original BNPGreen runners club, Kaushikbhai’s paid Runners academy and Dan and Melvyn sir’s Road Burners( the highest paid academy within BNP ) all three started operating in the same geography.
And there was the fourth one which was of Striders Club
BNPGR and Runners academy had a common target: To get newcomers and make non runners into runners.
Once runners reach some advance stage they become the ready client for Road Burners as it offers more professional help at much higher costs.
Post-Endurathon 2014 vertical split, wherein more than half core committee members resigned, Endurathon 2015 had its vulnerable phases but Maheshbhai and Punit stood behind Shashiji like the rock of Gibraltar. Endurathon 2015 smashed many records and it turned out to be one of the most fabulous events under the ablest leadership of Shashi sir.
Unfortunately nobody knew ( even initially Shashiji himself may not be very clear or sure about his future planning )that Shashiji was using Endurathon 2014 and Endurathon 2015 as start-up module ( business experience at someone else cost ) so that he gains enough experience, forms required networking, find out whom to rope in when time comes to launch his own business of managing running events ( apart from other corporate events ).
During Endurathon 2015 , his idea was to push the event to maximum permissible limits. Unlike Endurathon 2014 , ( please read the separate blog for endurathon 2014 (…….)2015 had two running categories. 25 km and 12.5 km. The event became much bigger as more than 1000 runners came for the event. Please read the separate blog for endurathon 2015 (……..)
Once endurathon 2015 was over, Shashiji left BNPGr totally to concentrate on his business of events. He even used Endurathon word for his commissioned running event at Silvassa( on behalf of Dadra Nagar haveli administration and not owned by him ) which again rubbed his dear friends ( who stood behind him during the crisis) on a wrong way.
All along Shashiji always believed Endurathon is his baby. The problem was also with the name “ Endurathon “ . Endurathon name was selected through an open contest where in maximum BNP Gr members participated and came up with different names and Endurathon 25 was selected after due diligence .
Endurathon 2016 :
With this kind of background core committee is jittery or not very enthusiastic about making it open and public. Even some core committee members have fulfilled their desires. The have valid self question/s :”Oh now we have done two grand events , proven our worth within greater running community ,we are now known across India , why bother with this annual , time-consuming event ??”
As usual Maheshbhai and Punit are taking care of liaisons with BNP administration .
Anant sir along with Sanjay Padmanabhan and Sunil Agarwal are managing the sponsors and public relations.
My role as usual is limited and I am given the task of taking care of medical team.
Suvendu is my partner and we are told to coordinate with Dr Narendra for all the requirements. Initially we are under some impression that Punit may give us some contacts based on the experience of earlier two events , soon we realise we have to totally rely on Dr Narendra’s contacts.
We meet Dr Narendra at his clinic after taking the appointment .
He is a busy man but he welcomes us with a lot of enthusiasm and soon makes our job easy as he is able to use his networking for the good cause of Endurathon 2106. Ambulances and Physios are lined up and we are given guidance to coordinate henceforth.
I have some specific ideas. The idea is to add something different to Endurathon 2016 which has not been tried earlier.
I discuss various ideas with Maheshbhai .
The first one was suggested by Dr Heath Matthew during endurathon 2015 ( please read the blog )
a)To have one exclusive zone for Post run cool down exercises : the runners completing the run should naturally pass through a zone where interesting visuals /standees are put up of BNPGR star runners in interesting stretching poses. Couple of physios will be dedicated for post run stretching : they will add personal touch as they will move around and help runners with correct stretching.
- b) Ice slabs / Tubs with Ice cold water : Post run , the runner can sleep/relax on big ice slab or runners can just go into ice cold water tub.
Maheshbhai is too preoccupied. His hands are full. Who will do it ? How it will be done ? and yes Where is the budget ?? are all the positive and encouraging question he puts forth.
There are other minor issues. During the earlier editions thermocole (ESP )ice boxes and ready made ice cubes were arranged.
The boxes could not be preserved as there was no space to keep them and option of ready-made ice cubes looks expensive to me.
I do not like idea of buying the thermocole boxes .
I call Mr Rohit Mittal of Radhika Packaging . He is my client who has installed an energy-saving cooling tower for his thermocole unit at Boiser/tarapur.
Usually I do not take any favours from any of my clients. Since the requirements were for BNPGR and not for personal use I am bold enough to put forward the request : Free supply of thermocole boxes.
He is very helpful. “ You can take any quantity for this kind of case and event, but how will you manage ? “
Thermocol boxes are light weight but have huge volumes. Even if I take 12 boxes ,we will need medium size tempo.
Hiring a tempo is ruled out.
“Oh we will have to buy the boxes from Mumbai market.”
Ice cubes are costly. Ice slabs are quite economical and can be used for dual purpose.
Break some part of the slab or use one full slab to make polythene bags for individual runners , put them in thrmocole boxes and send them to individual water station . Remaining big Ice slabs can be kept near medical tent for post run ice massage to all the willing runners.
“How do we get the Ice slabs very early in the morning??’
I remain confused as I do not get cost-effective solutions. I do not want to ask any money from Endurathon budget ( which in any case is already stretched )
For Ambulances we are coordinating with Apex hospital for normal ambulances and with Dr Priya ( who is providing Air ambulances for who is who in Mumbai )for Cardio equipped ambulances. The main coordinator at Apex Hospital is on leave so it takes little more time and little more anxiety to work out the ambulance details till last moment . Once we are able to coordinate with the ambulance drivers we are little assured of timely coordination.
I have one more problem .There is Southern India Sugar technologists conference in south india and I will be attending the same.
I will be reaching Mumbai only close to midnight.( on the eve of the endurathon )
I want to stay within BNP as part of rituals since 2014..
I must coordinator things in my absence.
Suvendu comes to my rescue as he decides to take care of last couple of days physical coordination .
Before Suvendu’s last couple of days help I do have the : “ De ja Vu” moment when Punit informs me that Suvendu will be shifted from medical duty. During previous Endurathon edition similar thing had happened as the partner ( with whom I had coordinated ) given to me was taken off at the last moment.
As I and Suvendu are coming to terms with the last-minute changes , Maheshbhai calls us individually and informs that “ No, you both will stay together as medical is quite important to the event and you both will be required . We will manage internally without calling Suvendu.
Seeing my tour just before the event I decide to put few more my personal contacts.
Devesh is my building friend who has his factory in tarapur. I request him to help me with thermocol consignment.
He goes out of way to help me by coordinating his factory tempo’s trip to wada for one of the regular delivery . He brings the tempo all the way to borivli to hand over the thermocol boxes which he first picks up from Boiser MIDC.
I deliver the themocol boxes to the shop/godown arranged by Punit ( again typical to die hard BNPgr one : he has arranged one of his friend’s shop/godown free for our event using his personal contacts )
For Ice slab , we shortlist one ice factory at Kashimira. The owner is ready to give delivery at 4.00 am in the morning. He reduces his rates as I keep on requesting to reduce the cost as our cause is holier than anything. ( I do not know how much he must have believed me or out of sheer annoyance of my chattering he must have given that discount )
I rope in the services as Rupesh ( our office assistant ).
His task is to reach Kashimira by 3.30 am on the day of event ..Get the Ice slabs by 5.00 am when BNP gate is opened. Bring the Ice slabs to the medical tent . Position few . break few .help us in making polythene bags.
The night before:
During the day I am in touch with Suvendu .
I have checked more than required with Rupesh for his assigned duty.
There is usual delay in travelling and by the time I reach home from airport it is beyond midnight. I have to drop my planning to stay within BNP .
It’s dark . It is raining also.
By the time I reach medical tent , Rupesh is already there. He had called me before as he could reach the main gate much before and he wanted some help in getting through .
Rupesh has brought the whole jingbang of his friends and his brother.
There are four of them . He has used tempo services of one of his known source ( only known friend will give service at odd hours and for this kind of odd job: going to ice factory, waiting , bringing the ice slabs, helping in unloading , shifting the heavy slabs)
Soon we arrange the slabs ( after various permutations ).
Dr Sushmita Patel joins us with her friends.Soon we have four Physio doctors with us.
Suvendu and myself arrange the medical kits given to us .
Dr Narendra and Dr Priya join us.
We all know that initially we may not have the work load , but once runners start coming back we will have great work load.
The race starts ……..
Soon we have steady flow of runners coming back. I try to follow the advice of Dr heath ( please read the blog of endurathon 2015 ).
We greet the incoming runner , guide him or her with various facilities, including the food menu.
At medical tent we have physio supports.
Runner can opt for massage by trinayani , can enjoy ice slab cooling by sitting on it , sleeping on it or roll over. Dr Narendra adds his personal touch as he comes up with comprehensive cool down muscles programme which he monitors personally.
Endurathon is one of the event where in you can find volunteers ( who are runners first ) adding their personal touch, trying their best to keep the runner happy. Yes there may be few unnecessary demanding runners but sheer positivity of volunteers group is enough to set the atmosphere.Each participating runner gets overwhelmed by so much pampering . The ratio of runners to volunteers is also phenomenally very high which adds the mood.
Some visit to medical tent
A known name in running community.She comes to our medical tent with pain. She is quite emotional about her cramps and obviously not happy.” How can this happen to me ?” is an obvious question.
“You may be a great runner, but your performance will also depend on the overall preparedness you have on the day of your race. “ it is often said within running community.
“ The day has to be yours !!”
Suvendu decides to take a round of the route.
We have more and more runners and we all remain quite occupied.
With Dr Narendra’s consent I take two Dr physios in the car and we have our own round on the race route. The concept is to give real time help to someone who has some pain.
We serve couple of runners and they are delighted to have this kind of service.
The ice slabs also become handy till the very end as we are able to break the slab and make polyethylene bags and send to different water station till the very end of the race.
I have my last round on motor cycle to assess the last runner of the race as few of the Dr physios have other commitments and some of them want to leave.
We request one Dr physio to extend her stay little more so that last runner completes his run.
Once the last runner completes the race our work at medical tent becomes simpler and we have some time to meet friends for other zones.
Post award functions we have group photo sessions .