Mumbai: Mumbaikars ran Boston marathon on Marine Drive virtually

Updated: 17 September, 2020 08:40 IST | Hemal Ashar | Mumbai

A Mumbaikar on how he competed in one of the biggest events on the COVID-hit running calendar

Running the Boston virtual marathon
Running the Boston virtual marathon

In African wildlife safari lingo, the Big Five animals are the rhinoceros, lion, elephant, leopard and cape buffalo, all of them awe inspiring sights for tourists. In the marathon world, we have the Big Six of world marathons, the New York, Boston, Chicago, London, Berlin and Tokyo Marathons. Some Mumbaikars ran the prestigious Boston Marathon virtually on Saturday.

The virtual marathon could be held any day from September 7 to 14. Virtual running means you run the full marathon course of 42.2km, wearing a satellite watch. The distance and timing is recorded via the satellite watch, connected to the race organising centre. The timing is emailed to organisers. Once satisfied with the fair completion of the race, the runners are mailed their certificates.

Yash Muthiyan scorches the distance running at Marine Drive
Yash Muthiyan scorches the distance running at Marine Drive

Jeers to cheers

Mumbai's Yash Muthiyan finished the Boston Marathon in a stupendous 2 hrs, 57 minutes and 58 seconds. His certificate has been mailed to him.

This is a stellar performance from the 27-year-old Pedder Road resident, who has clocked his Personal Best (PB). Especially as Muthiyan said himself with a laugh, "Some years ago as a teenager, PB meant pav bhaji to me, rather than personal bests."

Yash Muthiyan when he was an overweight teenager
Yash Muthiyan when he was an overweight teenager

Muthiyan was the fat boy who could never compete in sport at school. He said, "At 95 kg when I was 15, and the high point of my life being stuffed full of cake and cookies, it was unthinkable that I could or would run long distance one day. Yet, when I went to HR college at 16, I decided my life had to turn around. I wore my father's running shoes and went for a run, 100m took the wind out of me. Yet, I was hooked." Years later, jeers have turned to cheers.

Marine Drive

Muthiyan said, "We were a small group of runners, who had qualified for the Boston race. Unlike many other premier marathons, one needs to qualify for Boston. The organisers cancelled the event because of the pandemic but offered a virtual window." He is now based in Bangalore, working for a private equity fund, and has been home in Mumbai during the outbreak. He said, "It was a good time to catch up with family, and I was training through the months."

The run

Running the Boston marathon virtually for Muthiyan meant, "Charting out the course beforehand. Some of us runners decided it must be Marine Drive as it is a fast, flat course. I reached the venue at 4 am, wearing my satellite watch. I did loops from NCPA to Wilson College which is 4.5 km one way. That makes it 9 km both ways. I ran four loops which is 36 km and a little more than half the loop to finish the distance. There was so much support and cheering from the close-knit running community, who knew some runners are doing the Boston Virtual that day."

Virtual vs real

Said Dr Ashish Contractor, another marathoner, "To have the prestigious Boston Marathon run virtually, is reflective of the way the pandemic has put brakes on different facets of our life. Though it is an option, I hope real or actual runs are back and virtual running is the temporary abnormal, rather than the new normal."

Capt. Pramod Salvi, another marathoner added, "We were part of the cheering party at Marine Drive. My wife, Kranti, and I will be running the London Marathon virtually in Mumbai on October 4, this year."

Sign off

Boston done and dusted with, Muthiyan hopes to enjoy his running now, "Simply revel in the joy of the sport, with a small break from the pressures of timings and competition. Fitness is a great way to stay physically and mentally fit and motivated. Running has the power to bring us together in these trying times."

When the first Boston marathon was held

The standard marathon distance

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First Published: 17 September, 2020 05:43 IST

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