The thought goes back about three years ago when I had a manager who had run the Boston marathon more than 7 or 8 times, and another colleague who trained and ran the Boston marathon that year. At that point, I had no idea about the specifics of a marathon: neither the distance, nor the qualification criteria for Boston. I wanted to give it a shot. I could run about 2 to 3 miles, which I thought was quite impressive. It was a humbling experience, being brought back to earth, after learning about the distance and qualifying criteria. A silly argument with Lahari, “my better half” on a New Year’s Eve 2009, resulted in venting my anger by running 10 miles on New Year’s Day! That was the day I made my resolution that I would run on all 5 weekdays for the whole year. Fortunately, there was a gym downstairs, and it helped. In Addition to my New Years resolution, I was able to complete a half marathon and about three 5k's that year. At the end of the year, I realized that I should be running outdoors to train for a Marathon.
In 2010, I heard from one of my friends about the AID/Asha program and we thought of giving it a try. During the initial information session, Rita was an inspiration when she spoke about her run - she used to drive from Rhode Island every weekend to train for the marathon. Along with 2 of my friends “Sadik & Ruma”, we signed up for the initial runs, but the other two had to drop out for genuine reasons. Initially, I recall speaking only with Manan during the initial runs, but as we progressed, the whole group got closer. Had the good fortune of running most of my runs with Aaditya, Priyanka and Rahul “APR”. It was fun listening to APR’s choosy ‘ghaalisor’ on the motorists and their humourous conversations for water and direction support. I’m sure I’d be in the same boat had I not been part of this group, and would have inadvertently discovered new towns enroute. Every member of the Team helped at some point of the training. SK rowed along one of the runs and also ran the whole marathon with Ketki, Amol tagged along and helped Anjali the whole season, and he did help me on one of our runs too. Nalin ran and helped Pratima. The post runs brunch sessions were pretty good where we got to try many new restaurants. A couple of the social events were helpful, where we got to know more about the organization we were training for, its activities and people. Coach Jonathan helped in advising us about diet, the importance of stretching, weekly runs and innumerable other tips. Uday's email towards the end of the season was an inspiration for us to be persistent. Biju Kalissery, the overall program coordinator helped with fund raising tips, weekly reminders, and running tips. Water Support was an integral part; I realized their importance later on when I trained alone. All the volunteers: Amritha, Aravind, Arachana, Pradeep, Abhishek, Priya, Manan, and the whole water support team helped very much. They would wait patiently for precious long hours during weekends to help with the water support. The Marine Corps Marathon was a good experience, and strangely I experienced no anxiety as the whole group was present. We had a great time on the day before the marathon, at the expo, and at the hostel. It was memorable run. Even after the training most of us have remained good friends. I have enjoyed meeting every member of the group and a few of us ventured on a road trip too. It was one of my best lifetime experiences and I enjoyed training with the team for a great cause.
The Email: On Feb 18th 2011, the entire AID Asha group received an email from Santosh about the opportunity to run the Boston Marathon ‘BM’, through another charity. For a second, I thought it was unrealistic since it was only 2 months to the 'D' day ‘Apr 18th’. I was still curious though and wrote back to Santosh to check if anyone had replied back. Only ‘Kishore’ had, but he had not committed yet. I spoke with Rahul and finally made up my mind to run and wrote to Santosh the next day. The next part was that they did not know if they had the number to run the BM.... I kept emailing back to know if they heard anything yet. On Feb 28th, they said that they will be sending me an application form and after i mail it out, i will know from the BAA if I can get a number. I received the application and mailed it out on Mar 1st, and after that waited anxiously. On Mar 8th i received an email from BAA that I have a number to run. I was worried about getting the number and finally when I got the number, I realized that i should be training for it..I didn't want to tell people about it as I was not sure, how my training would go and if I would be able to complete it.