Vasai Fort Run: Yaar ke Mohalle Mein Run (Run in friend’s area/neighbourhood). Sunday, 16th September 2018

Photos Courtesy: Fit India Movement: Vasai runners and BNPGR friends

Vasai Fort Run: Yaar Ke Mohalle mein run

(Niraj Patil and friends: Fit India Movement: Vasai Runners)

Why? What? And again Why?

Why do runner friends to go to extremes to make other runners happy?

What is it which voluntarily and affectionately compels a lot many runners to devote their time, energy and even money (if not in the main event still a lot in commuting and communications)so that 4 am onwards on the given Sunday morning they are on their toes till the guest runners go back?

Why do runners love fellow runners and try to give their best when the call for little help is given?

I would like to believe that it is some internal chemical, we can call it “ runners love “which brings fellow runners on the same wavelength as they keep running long distance.

All it needs a trigger. Our trigger is Yaar Ke Mohalle mein run ( Let’s run in friend’s neighbourhood !! ).


Place: Outside Silka MayTower Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Occasion: Malaysia zone friends are returning back to India and Singapore zone friends are travelling to Singapore by road.

Date and time: 11th May 2018 Morning, post early breakfast

Group Promise: The well-gelled group (after Borneo Marathon and 7 nights of dhamaal and masti) will try to organise two Yaar Ke Mohalle mein runs (Run organised in the friend’s area/neighbourhood)

One in Vasai where Niraj, Arpita, Preet and Asmi reside.

One in Pune as Rewa and Bhagyashree have strong Pune bonding.

( During our Borneo marathon tour we have been running in mornings as part of runners’ vacation which has an inbuilt programme of discovering the city as you run. We have already run in the Botanical garden and in and around twin towers.

During the runs, the topic of running in India beyond Borivali National Park is also covered. )


Once back in India, we all get into a regular groove. The topic of Yaar Ke Mohalle mein run now remains a general topic between me and Sanjay when we meet.

Sanjay remains busy till endurathon 2018 and he does not have much time and energy to even seriously think of Vasai or Pune run.

Post-Endurathon we meet to discuss various projects.

A general discussion to cover timeline and various probable projects over next 6 to 8 months is casually discussed a couple of times, including much sought after BNPGR’s weight loss challenge season II project.

Yaar Ke Mohalle men run keeps coming in our talks but when and how to remain the tricky issues.

Niraj normally runs in Vasai, so meeting him on a regular interval is not possible. Over the phone he is always positive with the same enthusiasm: Chalo karte hai ! ( Let’s do it !)

The fact remains that Niraj and his family started knowing us only when BNPGR’s international marathon trip was organised. Prior to that none of the old members of BNPGR were close to him or his runner friends from Vasai. Yes, we all came quite close during the lovely Borneo International Malaysia trip. As families were travelling together bonding was more genuine. Logically that is not enough for Niraj or for that matter anyone to go out of the way to call upon the whole BNPGR jingbang to come to his neighbourhood for Yaar ke Mohalle mein run initiative.


August 2018

I am with Niraj at his residence. I am in Vasai for some work and need his guidance.

Post our work-related discussions and visit to Glamour ( fabulous boutique run by Arpita and her sister Shweta Chaudhari)It is time for me to leave as I have work in Vasai East. We call Sanjay and try to work out tentative date for Vasai Fort run.

Prior to this over the phone, we have discussed various run routes and somehow always concluded to run in and around Vasai fort as it remains the most scenic route.

Sanjay is fast with decisions. We decide the tentative date and request Niraj to work out various logistics.


Getting the perfect Sunday date for any common 5km/10 km group run beyond Borivali National Park is now very tricky.

September onwards time period is for serious training for various races which are lined up. IDBI Mumbai half marathon, Navy Half marathon, Vasai Virar Marathon till Tata Mumbai marathon are the races wherein maximum BNPGR members participate.

Each runner member has her/his own programme to follow. BNPGR has also worked out detailed week wise programme for 21km and 42 km runners.

Sunday is usually for planned LR ( long run )

So for a serious runner to Run for Fun: As life happens so you enjoy the most is a kind of disturbance. Yes, she/he may like similar social media post which invites her/him to drop the planned schedule and join the fun moment but when it comes to the targets and programmes no one deviates. We will enjoy it later is the inbuilt programme for people chasing targets and who are result oriented.

Post Gokul Ashtami it is also a nonstop festive season till Diwali.

16 the September is the only convenient date and it falls within Ganesh Festival and Paryushan.


Something which is little more than a friendly run in a friend’s area with his little help becomes very big.

Niraj is part of a strong Vasai runners group. They themselves have started organising annual Vasai Heritage run. Their group is really charged up. Once we three start our regular coordination ( Sanjay, I and Niraj ) Niraj keeps giving us pleasant shocks with his wholehearted involvement, meticulous planning and involvement of 20 plus runners who will be runner-volunteers on the date of our run.

Few of Niraj miracles :

*Arranging a bus at 5.30 am at Vasai station

* detailed planning of 2.5 km run, 5 km run and 10 km

* Even when ours is self-supported run: water at key points.

* Runner-volunteer with each group

* Bike/cycle volunteer along with the group, especially to track and motivate the slow runners.

* On the go commentary on major landmarks of Vasai

* Requesting and presenting Dr Shri Dutt Raut :

the passionate historian ( who tries to re-live the experience of chimaji appa and army in modern times by replicating what Marathas did in the 17th century)

* Using the Ganapati visarjan pandal at jetty point

* arranging and using the mike and portable speaker ( which also plays zingaat when the time comes )

* complete breakfast arrangements.


Even though we had planned to do a small joint run or rechecking of the route once before the actual run day, we drop the idea , seeing the preparation done by Niraj.


I am not well. My Wednesday visit to Ahmedabad has worsened my health. Thursday remains hectic as we have to visit a number of Ganesh darshan at friends’ places. Friday I take leave from office and go to Doctor and compulsory take rest.

We all four will be going to Vasai. I just cannot afford to miss this particular Yaar ke Moahlle mein run after seeing what Niraj and team have put in. Modern Medicine helps me( which usually I try to avoid if I have a good weekend to recover ).

I may run 5 km or do very slow 10 km is my explanation to myself.


Riva and Tvisha are excited.

Yes, they know they will not be able to meet the whole jingbang of Borneo team or extended BNPGR second generation ultra young brigade, but they are going to meet Preet and Asmi.

We are up by 3.15 and reach Borivali Station before 4.50 am.

Soon maximum janta arrives and we take the second coach from Vasai side in the local which starts from Borivali at 5.06 am

Some passengers who were already sitting on the side chosen by us voluntarily decide to move on seeing BNPGR’s Running matters!

bold message on our T-shirts. Who would like to sit with a crazy bunch of guys who have nothing else to do on Sunday early morning. Give them space is their message and we thank them.

As we get out from Vasai station I still have that stupid fear of project management guy .

“What if there is no BUS?”

“ What if the driver of our pre-scheduled bus delays to make it the normal 5.55 am bus? ( 5.30 am is a bit earlier than the normal schedule: it is almost an exclusive service for our group : thanks to Niraj and friends magical work )

“ And if there is no bus whom to contact at this hour. ( Yesterday Niraj did share the number of in charge, but no one picked up the phone when I tried to call a couple of times)

As we reach the scheduled start point I see a couple of runners from Fit India Movement Vasai runners group. Rajesh Marathe and Vijay Kunder ( CA) are waiting for us. Rajesh has just arrived from Benguluru at 2 .00 am . Love for running and runners has brought him at 5.30 am for important bus coordination duty.

As I greet them with a simultaneous introduction, they confirm “ Yes we are here only for you. It is our job as the volunteer at these early hours so that the bus comes on time, you board the bus so we can go back to the start point on our bikes”

I thank Niraj once again ( in my mind ) as we all board the bus.

Soon we are Chimaji Appa smarak.

As we get down Niraj, Arpita, Preet, Asmi greets us. The whole gang of Fit India Movement: Vasai Runners are there to help us. Fit India runners group Vasai has 150 plus members.

It is still dark. We all wait at the Chimaji Appa smarak . We try to look a closer look at the statue of Chimaji appa on the horse ( in action). It is a kind of déjà-vu moment of visiting Millennium Monument of Kuala Lumpur. ( moving in circles as you go up with almost the same group of friends)

Soon we are at Durbar Hall. I recall my Tour De Vasai cycling event.

This was the chosen midpoint for break cum light breakfast.

Deepak Patil ( Ex Major: Indian Defence forces) and Niraj Patil on behalf of Fit India Movement once again welcome us. Deepak Patil has brought in a portable battery operated mic + speaker system.

We have our group warm-up exercises. Mr Praveen Fougeri conducts the session. The warm-up exercises are quite different from what we have been doing in BNPGR.

The place and setting are quite surreal. The whole majestic area is only for us. It is drizzling now and it adds to the atmosphere.

Usually, we do warm up at a narrow road near zero point water station in Borivali National Park. The place has no specific character Compared to that this is the grand ruined monument.

Once we are through the warm up, we are guided towards Jetty.

Our initial 1.8 km run distance is common for all. This is the most scenic, beautiful, mesmerising section of the run. You run towards the jetty in green surroundings and then take a right turn and get inside the fort city through darwaza….

Once you are inside the Vasai fort city, you are in a different world. You cross Hanuman mandir ( temple )

and run inside the fort territory . As you keep running you cross many historic monuments ( in broken condition ) . Each section/ each broken structure is there to tell you interesting stories but as always we do not have time to indulge in history so we look at them , feel immensely happy and move on.

It is almost like a trail run. With rains, one has to be careful.

Soon we are at the junction where 2.5 km will be taking the right turn so that they go back to Jetty to complete 2.5 km. Mo 5 km and 10 km runners will be taking left and moving toward bazaar peth till Gujarati school.

As we move beyond the fort vicinity and reach the bazaar peth we realise that now we are running on the road which is normally part of Vasai Virar marathon route Every December.

Zenda bazaar, bazaar peth and 5 km turning point water station is reached. Sheila decides to go back as one of us has to be with our daughters.

I have been running with Vishwas and Ruchika T is almost with us. She is running after a long gap and she is taking it easy.

Vishwas and I soon start talking about our topics of our common interest: books and movies. He is very much part of the Movie world.

Even though Vishwas appears to be taciturn in a large group, he opens up in one to one conversation. Once he starts rolling, it is a nonstop delight. He has a tremendous sense of humour and timing.




We decided to reduce our pace as Ruchika takes her time. She is almost running solo and periodically we asked her about her comfort level. She is running after a gap so she remains behind us but remains within our eyesight distance. At any given time runner volunteer from Fit India movement is also keeping track of the last 10 km batch. We three are the last of 10 km batch and we wave at our other 10 km friends who are returning from halfway mark and running on the opposite side of the road.









We keep running beyond Par naka bus stand and take a U-turn to return at the bus stand.

Once we take left turn it takes the simpler route all the way till jetty.

Soon Niraj comes back and informs that once we reach Jetty we would have completed 8km distance . From there we can have two choices, either take internal vasai fort route or come back on this straight road for 1 km loop.

We decide to first complete 8km run and see the timeline. In case we are not able to complete the required 10 km we will just end our run so that second part of our programme can be carried out as per the original planning.

Jetty is kind of good photo shoot point.


Once everyone has her/his quota of photos we all assembled inside the fort wall. We are lucky to have Dr Shridutt Raut amongst us.(Niraj has requested his runner friend, Rajesh modgekar to contact him for our request )

{When I had asked Niraj to request some historian to come in morning hours, he remained cool. I know quite a few experienced runners friends who would have immediately ridiculed this kind of idea. “ You want a historian at the end of run to brief the runners about the history of the location? Are you made ??” would have been a natural reaction. Niraj just said : Ho jayega ! ( It will be done ). He never questioned my rationale. }

Dr Shridutt Raut is passionate about Vasai fort and its conservation. He is a living encyclopaedia on Vasai Fort and its history. He has in real-time tried to relive the moments lived by Maratha armies during the days of Chimaji Appa and his conquests over European masters.






Chimaji appa was the architect of Maratha naval supremacy.

Dr Raut has a lot to say. He usually takes 7 hours tour along with swords and other paraphernalia and narrates the history as it happened. Today, unfortunately, he is with a group which is hard pressed with time.

Many people have joined today’s run as we have promised them that we will wind up our programme by 9.00am and will start our return journey.

Vishwas reminds me of the timeline when Dr Raut casually mentions that he usually takes seven hours and on the subject of Vasai fort, he can talk for the whole day.

20 minutes is too short a duration for any passionate guy to share his passion. If it was not a group commitment I would have cancelled all my Sunday programme and would have spent max time with him, (if I was alone or with the group which was small and flexible.)

We wind up and come to the stage area ( prepared for ganesh visarjan )

We conduct our graduation award ceremony with 5 km and 10 Km batches.








The whole setting of stage/ climbing up/ receiving medal adds to some kind of serious nature to usually casual ceremony within BNP.

Soon the hosts start serving sumptuous breakfast. Sheera, Poha , Idli and chutney.

Sheera, Poha and chutney are super hit and we have little issue with items getting exhausted as everyone finds breakfast quite tasty.

Tea and coffee are served. The whole arrangement is quite efficient.

Niraj and team invites everyone to join their 2nd Vasai heritage run: A times race scheduled on 21st oct 2018

Now is the time for zingaat….and soon runners are utilising their legs and body muscles in musical symphony.i

Mumbai se aya mere dost adds to today’s theme as next number is played on.

We all try to thank Niraj and friends: Fit India movement, Vasai runners; but it is obvious our words will fall short as their arrangement has been fantaboulous . There has not been a single shortcoming in their planning and mehman navaazi.

We take a group bow and salute them.

We meet our time line as at 9.05 we move towards the chimaji appa smarak to board the return bus to vasai station.

Some event just unfolds beautifully. This kind of event is possible only because “ Runners’ love for running and the inherent comradeship it carries.

It may be difficult to recreate this kind of event!

………………………………………………………………………….The End…..

7 thoughts on “Vasai Fort Run: Yaar ke Mohalle Mein Run (Run in friend’s area/neighbourhood). Sunday, 16th September 2018

  1. Dear Shailesh,
    We (runners of Fit India Movement Vasai), really thank you & your team of enthusiast runners for believing in Niraj & his team during your visit to our historic city of Vasai. However your predetermined rules & code of conduct limited us in extending our hospitality to you & your team.
    It was really a pleasure to serve you all with a strong bond of Runners Integration during your visit. Looking forward to host you all occasionally.
    Team Fit India Movement Vasai


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