Cinderella did not lose her shoe though runners in Mumbai’s first ever ultra marathon, a 12-hr run, wished they could get a new pair of feet. Text: Hemal Ashar Pictures: Emmanual Karbhari
By 8 am, most runners had finished 21 km (which is the traditional half-marathon distance) and started refining their strategy to help them get through the day. Various combinations like running 4 mins and walking 6 mins were touted but it was all about getting through the searing afternoon and then the early evening when energy reserves would be low. C’mon Kiranbhai, go, yeah, chalte raho... were some shouts of encouragement.
The participants were weighed at the beginning and finish of every loop (from Shivaji park to Seaface, turn around at old Mela restaurant) and come running back to Shivaji Park and go around again. The baggage area, bib collection and food counters were all set up next to the Mayor's Bungalow at Shivaji Park and there was a real buzz in the air. The weighing in was done to ascertain how much fluid was lost.
A crowd of photographers at Shivaji Park as runners finish loop after loop of a searing, numbing and extremely challenging distance. The weather Gods seemed to be smiling for Mumbai was just that little bit cooler than it has been recently. Traffic cones had marked out one single lane for the runners. Several runners were from running clubs across the city, attest to the boom that has gripped Mumbai, pulling out everything from their reserves to try and complete the event.
Doctors take the blood pressure of participants after each loop. Said Dr Pritam Pathare, medical director of the event, “We had one gentleman who we had to pull out from the event because of high blood pressure. He was taken to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Right now it is early morning and cool. We have to be careful of runners getting dehydrated or even over hydrating then.”