mid day editorial: The marathon is no run-of-the-mill race
These months have become the new season for running in the city
The Mumbai monsoon has given birth to a running boom. These months have become the new season for running in the city. The Mumbai marathon now has hundreds of imitators and the running bug has bitten citizens. A great many races are being held across the country and the city, especially as the monsoon season sees lower temperatures and is generally conducive to running.
It is all power to the running boom. If this motivates fitness at all levels then it has to be encouraged. It also helps that runners have something else to aim for besides the Mumbai marathon. All these runs can be precursors to the main run or can simply be a way of testing oneself through the year, rather than just once a year.
One only has to beware of the label 'marathon' being used to promote and market these runs. A distance shorter than 42.195 km is not a marathon. A 10-km run is not a marathon. Nor is a 5-km run. Only a person who finishes the 42-odd km is a marathoner. It is a punishing, soul-searing distance, which can take a lot out of you.
Those who have done the full course will attest to the physical and mental strength it needs to cross the finish line. Let us not use the term marathon loosely. Otherwise it will lose meaning and, inadvertently but undeniably, we will diminish this endurance event. It is a little like the labels we use so loosely these days. An artiste who has one movie is an actor, he acts in five movies and he is a star. A count of 15-20 movies and he is described as a legend. That's how quick and unthinking we are about labels these days.
The running boom is a great movement for this city, but let us desist from calling short runs marathons and those who complete them (doff of the hat to them too) as marathoners.
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