I was one of 11-thousand people running the half marathon – 21 kilometers from Bandra on the city’s north shore to Victoria Station in the south.
This is my second Mumbai half marathon. You may recall that last year I ran it on my 45th birthday. This year I returned to run it on the last day of the same year.
There’s lots to celebrate about this race: It offers a scenic route through the city at sunrise, with views of the Arabian sea and Mumbai’s maximum skyline. Thousands of Mumbaikars line the streets, handing out cookies and bananas – and my favorite, shots of muscle spray to the knees.
And a few surprises along the way: I nearly ran over three people sleeping on the course. They were wrapped in blankets, head to toe, not an inch of flesh exposed – like human sausage rolls. And by the grace of God and a quick side-step I avoided pummeling a stray toddler along Marine Drive.
Also, the not-so-surprising: These days it’s cliche to mention the lack of bathrooms in the same sentence with India, but I must admonish the organizers for having only FOUR port-o-potties for 11-thousand runners near the holding gate at the start of the race.
And delightfully, the serendipitous encounter: Do you remember that last year while running, I tried to pass a young man and he wouldn’t let me? We settled on running side-by-side, pacing each other up a very long hill, sharing water, crossing the finish line together.
This year we bumped into each other near the 16th kilometer – first recognition, then smiles – and once again, a shared pace. We crossed the finish together a second year in a row.
Jim shot this photo of us at the 19th kilometer:
I was working hard here. My times have improved in both in Delhi and Mumbai this year, but it doesn’t feel as easy as it did when I started running three years ago. My left knee is arthritic – full of junk, a cyst, worn cartilage. I will have a small procedure to lube the area, a bit of physio, and a good rest from running hard.
Next race: San Francisco, July 29th.
Some of you already know that Jim and I will be in the States mid February to promote his book. He will travel for readings and press events in New York, Seattle, SF, LA, Houston, DC and a few other, yet-unconfirmed cities. I will join part of the tour. The release is February 14th. Here’s a peak at the cover: (by the way, you can pre-order on Amazon…)
Me, after gorging on a Pomfret and Prawn and Squid and Crab – at my fave seafood restaurant in Mumbai:
Sunday afternoon kite-flying on Mumbai’s Chowpatty Beach:
A neighborhood synagogue that dates back to 1861:
Eddie and his friend, Kiran at a soccer game – India vs. FC Bayern Munich:
Finally, a photo of my Georgie smiling: