42.2 kms, actual marathon distance but my watch shown 42.46 kms after I crossed the finish line.
Our race was expected to start at 4:00 AM and we were to reach there by 3:00 AM so that we can easily deposit our bags, go through the checking counter, stretch a little, and get ready for the run.
My alarm started ringing at 1:30 in night (Yes, this is the time when most of people were going to sleep considering a saturday night), after 2 snoozes I finally wake up at 1:50 AM
Had my mornig chores in night 😉 , ate banana & some other stuff, packed my bag, sipped black coffee and left for the stadium.
Such a crowd was there outside the stadium, I put my upper in bag, ate energy stuff, take out my gels & other required stuff from bag and stood in line to deposit the bag at counter.
After depositing, entered the stadium through checking counters and met many fellow buddies. Crowd was good, some were stretching, some were running to warm up their bodies, many are chit-chatting with other runners.
Pacers were surrounded by runners to discuss the strategy, whole area was surrounded by excitement and full of energy.
Soon, cricket star ‘Sachin Tendulkar’ (embassadar for this event) came on stage and with heavy shouts & cheers to him, all participants started gathering near the stage.
Many started clicking the pictures then most of the participants did 10 Push-ups challenge to raise money for martyrs.
Now, it was the time to start the game, runners started getting energy gels, starting GPS on their watches/devices, some gettig along with pacer to rush towards the start line.
Initially, I planned to bring down my time from 4:42 to 4:22, but Munish Jauhar encouraged me to go with 4 hrs bus as pacer will be doing positive splits. I met the pacer Abhishek & thought, it’s good to join him for atleast 32-35k, then
I’ll slow down and can easily finish under 4:22 (really, even thinking about finishing in 4hrs was not possible, especially when I just get up from medicines back 3 days).
I discussed with him and he had planned to finish first half in arounf 1:58 (not bad, though), but I preferred to first go with Mr. Munish and later get onto pacer’s bus till I can tolerate.
With shor of 10,9,8,7.. flag off happened, Sachin waving his hands to motivate all participants.. and we left the stadium with proud
For first 21k, I was with Pankaj & Manish and finished half of the marathon distance in 01:53:08 as per my watch.. after that I just thought of doing sub-4.
I know it was just a dream and hell of experience but this thought once crossed my mind and I don’t want to lose that positive thought atleast for next 2 hrs.
I ran little faster and met the ultra runner, Rakesh kahsyap. Meanwhile, 21k runners rushed in heavy & Mr. Kashyap was behind me.
I kept moving without slowing down rather with increased pace of around 5:20 . I kept moving, leaving behind many of my fellow runners.
After arioubd 27-28k, I finally decided in my mind to hit sub-4 goal today, whatever be the case. Either, I’ll got break or 4 hrs will.
No doubt, I screamed, shouted enroute but kept on increasing the time margin so that if distance is slightly more or I felt like going down, I should have enough in buffer.
For the very first time, I tried Fast&Up energy gel & their electrolyte reload tablets as well, and I believe they really helped till some extent.
Finally, after hard time, I managed to finish my race in 3:53:00 with lots of memories & pain.
P.S. I had a good sleep of more than 12 hrs that night and my legs really were in pain for next 2 days, but that pain had lots of sweetness & proud 🙂