The Conscious Marathon

I was introduced to the concept of a Marathon by my sister ten years back. She had registered me in a city Marathon to give her company. It was funny as I remember wondering, what am I running for, It said some Charity, but I still wondered, Why would I run for Charity? Anyways, I gave up and followed my sister. My sister’s friend Kabir was supposed to have our number tag, but as we were couple minutes late, we learnt that, Kabir had run ahead with our number tags. So it was early morning, there were thousands of people running, which reminded me of a gentler version of the European bull fighting festivals. We stood watch the hordes run and Kabir ran with our tags.

My sister was upset, that she couldn’t run. I felt sorry too. But I realized that a part of me was very happy that I didn’t have to run, I didn’t need the tag to run. My sister found her Marathon later that year and she ran. Seven years post that incident, I ran two back to back Marathons, and felt a sense of achievement, almost felt like I had become part of a new community, a community of runners. It was so cool to have run a Marathon.

Running a Marathon almost gives you a feeling of a community that runs together for a cause, similar to a Tribe that dances together. The only difference is that there are too many Marathons happening and no community dances happening at least not at the scale of an marathon. Also Marathon posters carry sponsorships and charity causes, I wonder, what does that signify?
Could it be, because people don’t run without a cause. they are either running for something, running away from something, or running towards something? What are you running for?

If not sure, a Marathon could actually be a Morothon- a Marathon for morons, I have been there so I know. How could I have run better, faster, in lesser time? Are we present to our body and running with mindfulness? or a mass energy is making us run?  Are we listening to our body or just want to punish ourselves? or looking for acceptance and belonging? “I will accept my body only, when it has run forty two kilometers”. “I will feel good about myself only, when I have completed this run in so much time”. So much harshness in self-acceptance and dissonance with self-love.

This insight is not created by me, but by events and circumstances that I was a witness to. There is an extreme competitive spirit that a Marathon evokes, it creates an energy to prove self-worth. The language of a Marathon is generally involves, focus, benchmarking, target, threshold, keep going, don’t stop, conquering the body.

Two years back I went for a marathon with my neighbors, who parted to go ahead and focus on their run. I ran at my own leisurely pace, with my husband running besides me and chatting with me about various things. He was not participating, but thought it was a great idea to just run besides me, I love him for these little things he does. I ran a ten kilometer Marathon and after I finished, I met a school friend also a Marathon participant and stood chatting with her. She told me she was waiting for her boss who was doing a twenty one kilometers marathon, she asked me if I would wait too. I decided I would wait with her and catch up on old times. We waited for about half an hour and when her boss didn’t arrive, we went our ways. Almost fifteen minutes after I reached home, my friend called me to inform that her Boss had collapsed and died on the spot. He was well trained, young and a sports person. He had no previous records of any ailment. It was his birthday. He had finished a twenty one kilometers Marathon. It took me sometime to recover from the shock. The reason that I share this story is to remind myself that life is beautiful and don’t just run by it.

Sight of several thousand people running evokes the sight of an corporate rat race, sponsored by corporates and most of the runners are unaware of why they are there?

I enjoy running my marathons; they remind me of my childhood days. High energy spurts almost make me giggle as I run. I watch the colorful display of pants and jackets running in front of me. I feel sad for the guy panting and running adjacent to me almost looking depressed, as if he is losing something, if he can’t make it till the end.  I enjoy listening to conversing college girls as they slow run. Then there is that man who stops every one kilometer to pick a banana. One really fat aunty with a really fat uncle who ran and stop, ran and stop and smiled at all those who ran past them. I love to see familiar faces meeting and crossing lanes to hug and give a high five.

I love Marathons which evoke self-love and create a human community full of compassion and consciousness.

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