The joy, thrill and excitement of a first-time marathoner

Manasi Saraf Joshi
Monday, 23 December 2019

Sakal Times Principal Correspondent Manasi Saraf Joshi recounts her experience as a first-time participant of a marathon

I used to run during my school days and won a few prizes too. But participating in a race at the age of 40 was a challenge in itself. 

Of course, I ran only for five kilometres. It was still not an easy task as maintaining stamina and fitness were the grey areas which kept hounding me until I successfully completed the race.

I ran at the Bajaj Allianz Pune Half Marathon. I never thought I could run even for five kilometres but the encouragement by office colleagues and the motivation by family and friends boosted my confidence. This race has certainly inspired me to keep my running workout routine.  

Waking up at 5 am on the race day was a task in itself as I was busy chatting with my colleagues, who were participating too, well past midnight over WhatsApp. Our in-house photographer cum Ironman (70.3) Vaibhav Thombare's inspirational words and useful tips pumped up more energy and enthusiasm in me.

Standing at the start point, I brushed aside negative thoughts and substituted them with the affirmative ones with a ready-to-conquer mindset. 

The first 1 km was a breeze and the near-perfect weather - no sun, no humidity and a bit cloudy - made the journey enjoyable. The cheering of office colleagues and volunteers served as a much-needed inspiration for me to complete the race. I completed with a decent pace at 1 km in 11 minutes.  

I had read somewhere while preparing for the race that you have to keep your mind alive to keep going. But I did not have to do anything specific as I was chatting with one of my bosses during the race and since it was her second stint with the race, she was a good teacher. I was also observing people around how they were running. There was fun and frolic in the air as people cheered each other. Three kilometres into the race, my legs started giving up with pain in my shin and heels. I noticed an 82-year-old woman, Vasanti Dandekar, who ran faster than me initially. 

This was her second race and she was inspired by her son. At this age, she wanted to work on her fitness and stamina, she said with a smiling face. What an inspiration!

As my colleagues were racing through the finish line, it further pushed me to increase my pace and finish the job I had started. As I crossed the finish line, a plethora of emotions ran through my mind. I was tired, relieved but most importantly, I was happy. 

At the finish line, volunteers rushed to congratulate and hand over medals to those who completed the run. I was thrilled to receive mine, surely a well-deserved one. We all got together and congratulated each other, took selfies and munched on snacks provided by the organisers. But what is a celebration without a party, right? We headed straight to an Iranian cafe and gorged on delicious food finally breaking our 'healthy-food only until the marathon' promise to ourselves.

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