ELATED SOUL and SWOLLEN ANKLES - My CTC Marathon experience (BIB Bala)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

[Write-up by Bala]
(more on Bala in our Oct newsletter)

After completing my 10x 10 (to the uninitiated 10 x 10 is running 10 kms for 10 continuous days) and a 25 kms long run on a Sunday, I was confident that I am well prepared for the CTC marathon.
So, I took a holiday break at Coimbatore and returned to Chennai on Saturday night (6th October) to participate in the CTC marathon on 7th October 2012.


A famous quote is :

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. “
I dedicate my CTC run to all those dedicated, cheerful, happy, sparkling, unselfish, hardworking, bright, smiling, stylish, spirited and selfless volunteers.
It’s easy to run, but extremely difficult to be an unselfish person helping others to achieve their goals.

A few instances of exemplary volunteering were :

• The volunteers in the early morning rains at TIDEL PARK, at Palikaranai Junction,
Sholinganallur junction were MARVELLOUS.

• There was a solitary volunteer at the end of the Muthukaddu Bridge religiously ticking off
the bibs of the full marathoners. I can feel the loneliness he went through due to many
of the late comers (including me).

• The volunteers at ALL the aid-stations were waiting for the late runners to finish their 44
kms journey.

• The last 2 runners were welcomed by the volunteers with a FLAG SALUTE. Where else
you will see such a selfless act. There was no sign of irritation, tiredness or a “WHY
YOU MADE US WAIT” attitude from any of these volunteers.

• The aid stations were adequately refilled with cut bananas, water bottles, glucose.
• There were many volunteers on the cycles, motor bikes, zip-zapping the entire route to

• The most heartening scene was when a group of volunteers were loading the “Mobile
loos” to a truck after the run. I wish I had the strength after running my full marathon to
give a helping hand.

The true heroes are THESE VOLUNTEERS who have touched a raw nerve in me due to their noble action.

As a saying goes :

Volunteers are the only human beings on the face of the earth who reflect this nation's
compassion, unselfish caring, patience, and just plain loving one another. ~Erma Bombeck


How can I describe the energy RAM (Founder Chennai Runners) showed during the entire run? He was galloping without
any sign of fatigue and I was following him all along till the 30th kms after which I had to lag behind him.
He has made so many runners hit the road, motivated them to stay fit and has given a wonderful phase in everyone’s life through their running habits.
This is the first time I ran with him in an event and my respect to his stamina and endurance has gone up millions of miles ahead.

Ram is ABNORMAL because he fits perfectly to this quote :

If you feel bad at 10 miles, you're in trouble. If you feel bad at 20 miles, you're normal. If you don't feel bad at 26 miles, you're abnormal.

He is my another hero of the day and the magnitude of his achievement can be appreciated
only by another runner who ran the same distance, in the same conditions. I am privileged to
be one of those runners who know what he is made up of ☺


A quote again :
Nine-tenths of our sickness can be prevented by right thinking plus right hygiene - nine-tenths of it!

How can we be a disease free society with the worst of the civic senses?

• How do you punish a builder who does not provide a decent toilet to his workers,
• How do you punish a family head who cannot provide a toilet to his family,
• How do you punish the civic authorities who dump all sorts of garbage in the banks of a
beautiful canal and make it a breeding ground for buffaloes, cows, pigs and all kinds of rodents ?
• How do you punish the shop owners who have the least concern for the beauty of the surroundings.

The irony of an Indian life was reflective in the route – Hiranandani Gardens on the other side of
the bank wherein a toilet would have costed a few lakhs (the price per square feet in those high
rise buildings is about Rs 9K per square feet) and on the other side of the bank are these open
public toilets.

It was thoroughly disgusting, made me vomit, made my head go down in shame when I saw
these fellows using the open space as toilet.

The hilarious moment was when a person was SEEING HIS MOBILE MESSAGES at the time
of his “toileting” activity. This again reflects the Indian growth (Inverted pyramid) with mobile
phones for everyone, BUT NO TOILETS.

Late runners like me were very unfortunate. After the stroke of 7:00 the traffic of these
“criminals” was high on both sides of the banks without giving any chance for us to recover our
breath from the foul smell.

I was almost going to fall on a “$%&* mountain” when the massive SUV of one of the volunteers
was going past me in the mud tracks.

I hang my head in shame and cannot believe that we are so helpless against these criminals
who have vandalized a beautiful canal.


A quote again :

I've always believed that there are funny people everywhere, but they're just not
comedians. In fact, some of my best comedic inspirations were not professional
entertainers. – Steve Martin

The announcements made by the volunteers evoked laughter, fun and a lot of leg pulling. I
missed all the action. BUT my children were laughing at these jokes even on Monday morning
before going to school.

I am sure with these people at their workplace and at treks, it’s always laughter and fun. Why
go to a laughing club and act yourself crazy. We can just be in the midst of these huge
personalities with a large presence of mind to have heart filled laughter.
Thank you once again for evoking laughter which is getting very scarce now-a-days.


The joy of the marathon is seeing every participant run their distances happily. To each of
them the distance was their longest, fastest and an achievement. I have equal respect for the
kids who ran their first run and to the veterans, the fastest like Bosco and Sundar & the
FINISHERS irrespective of the time they took

Every runner was an epitome of the famous quote “I have met my hero, and he is me."


I ran the first 10 kms happily till a big time injury started showing it’s face on both of my ankles.
I decided to ignore it and started to do a relay run with Ram and Sachin.
I managed to hold on to the pain till the 30th km.

During my first lap in the canal route, I met many runners who are familiar and are motivational
spirits to me. So, I took the excuse of socializing to slow down, take rest and completed the run
in 5 hours and 5 minutes.

For me it was a naked run. No Watch, No music, No mile markers along the route. So I was just
running- -O-running till I knew from others that I have run for more than 5 hours a distance of 44

The heat and the sweat made me go for a striptease and I ran bare-chested for half an hour.
So if there was ONLY ONE BAREFOOT RUNNER in the event, I was the ONLY BARECHESTED

I attracted attention with my gimmicks rather than my running skills.
I am nursing a nice swollen ankle in both the legs and have taken a break from running for this
week. I hope to be back on the roads in another week’s time.


“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way”

I have heard a lot about Peter, read a lot about him in the CTC websites and have always
thought, how come this man is loving Chennai and is doing so much.

Here is a man who fits in perfectly to the quote I picked up from google.

Spot decisions, to pacify the crying children with medals, neat emails on the events, being there
all the time (at the start of full marathon and till the end of it), motivating all his friends with his
presence. He is a true PIED PIPER of many enthusiastic trekkers.


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