Mumbai Revisited

Over 39-thousand runners hit the streets in the Mumbai last weekend, clocking kilometers in a series of races affiliated with the Standard Charter Marathon.

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…)  


Jim in Mumbai:

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:

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