I run a mile daily inside my house for exercise, and so when I read that Cochin would hold its first ever international half marathon on December 29, I decided to join. I signed up for the 7 km fun run for amateurs, leaving the 21 km half marathon proper to the real long-distance runners. The starting point was the Maharaja’s Stadium on M.G. Road, and a few days before the event, I went to collect my running bib.
The route is shown below. The 7 km runners would loop back at the Venduruthi bridge, while the 21 km runners would proceed all the way to Mattancherry before turning back.
The reporting time was early in the morning, 6 am. The sun had not yet risen when I walked down to the stadium. On the way, I took this picture of a house lit up for the holiday season.
The instruction sheet for the runners had one injunction that had mystified me: runners were not allowed to run with babies in their arms. On my way to the stadium entrance, I spotted this runner with a babe in arms. The rules are there for a reason. 🙂
After some confusion at the gate, we were in! I quickly ate some biscuits and gulped down a badam milk before we were called to the starting point.
For the first time ever, my feet were pounding M.G. Road like pistons. It was a heady feeling. I had to stop running after 2.5 km, and returned to the stadium with a combination of walking and running. I’m glad I carried a camera. Here are some pictures of the event.
Kenyan runners took the first three places in the international section. The picture below probably shows one of the winners.
Some organizations took the opportunity to publicize their cause.
And back at the stadium …
After sitting down for a few minutes to catch my breath, I climbed up the stadium steps and became a spectator.
The runners kept streaming in from the left.
Many clubs and organizations took part as groups. Soles of Cochin is a running club.
The compere takes a breather on the podium.
A navy band livened up the occasion.
This small boy struts his stuff.
The next three pics show the actress Manju Warrier, making a comeback to the screen after 15 years (I think), shooting for a movie in which she plays the role of a marathon runner. The grimace in the second pic, I think, shows that she is finishing the race in the movie.
This must be the 116-year-old runner I read about in the newspaper. He doesn’t have a birth certificate to prove his age, but nevertheless, a mind-boggling feat whatever his statistical age.
The glittering prizes.
This was a memorable experience for me, and I was happy to be among the thousands who took part in this first-ever half marathon in our city. Next year, the run will be held again, and I hope to run all 7 km — though I’ll be a full year older by then. 🙂