Runners from Mumbai’s first Marathon will be unable to recognise the race today. The first year was actually amateurish in comparison to today as I find that each year the race gets bigger and better. Apart from the one year where I was annoyed by the house arrest imposed by the Marathon, I love playing my part in this race as an enthusiastic cheerleader. This year’s cheerleaders at Kemp’s Corner surpassed all their previous performances. For one, there were balloons in shades of blue lined up along the wall. The residents of closeby buildings were ready with whistles and cameras ready to click pictures of their near and dear ones, friends, aquaintances and even the occasional celebrity running down this stretch .
Actually, this year, I had no intention to really see the marathon and had deliberately driven down to Pune on Friday evening to avoid being in Mumbai. However, the really chilly weather in Pune ( almost 6 degrees Celcius) made it impossible for us to chat without our teeth chattering and when three blankets were not enough to ensure a warm cozy sleep we decided to head back home. So we drove back yesterday which left me with no option but to go down to see the Marathon today especially since the noise downstairs was both deafening and intriguing.
Though most of the organisers were around since 6 am, by the time I made it an hour and a half later, the crowd was just getting into the swing of things. With a Dj providing heart pumping music, hot coffee and tea on the tap, samosas and jalebis to provide energy, the young girls from Sophia College provided the necessary enthusiasm to dance and cheer the runners on their last leg of the race.
A marathon is a marathon task, even the run for fun part so all the more those brave hearts who do the half and full marathon definitely need all the support they can get. As I spotted some known faces stoically running down the road, I felt guilty that apart from cheering from the side lines, there was nothing remotely athletic or spirited about my participation in the race. But then not every one can run and if every one is driving a Mercedes, who will watch them go by?
I’d rather watch on the sidelines and cheer lustily, my parched throat quenched by hot coffee and my tired knees resting on a comfortable chair.
However, full marks to all those who ran : after all if there are no runners there will be no marathon. That said, I wonder what next year’s cheerleading will bring? Trapeze artistes? Who knows.