The day of the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, September 30th 2012, finally arrived; the pinnacle of lots of hard work (or not so hard) for thirteen Rainmakers. The alarm bells rang at 3:45 AM on Sunday morning. It may have crossed our minds to hit the snooze, but the excitement of the marathon was enough to drag us out of bed.
The night before the big day was tough. Most of the participants were nervous, with the fear of not completing the race on time (or at all) weighing on us. We loaded up on both sleep and hydration, downing 4-5 liters of Gatorade in the 24 hours leading up to race day. Well in advance of the starting time, participants lingered near the course with running bibs pinned to their t-shirts and timing chips fastened to their shoes. Some listened to music to relax their minds. The morning was cool and breezy. Varun and Priyankar were the first of the Rainmakers to reach the packed venue. The DJ’s music filled the morning air as people stretched their sleepy muscles and fit in last minute exercises. At last, amid many speculations, our MYSTERY RUNNER was revealed. Nobody could have guessed our mystery runner was Gaurav Chauhan, who had been following a very secret regimen of workouts and an office diet of carrots, almonds, sprouts and apricots.
We gathered at the starting point, where people of all ages had turned up for the mega event. Moving forward wasn’t easy, as thousands of people with the same idea shoved and pushed their way through. The weather gods were not generous at the race’s 6:40 AM start time. As we reached India Gate, the scorching sun made every step more difficult. But each Rainmaker’s mind was consumed by only one thought: to complete the race. From the first stride, a sense of team spirit and competitiveness drove the Rainmakers. In a moment of pure concentration captured by event cameras, Varun and Mohammad Athar ran side by side for a full minute, but didn’t notice each other until reviewing the marathon photos after the race. Along the way, Rainmakers were encouraged by each other, motivated by the sheer number of other runners, and supported by well-organized event facilities. Cooling tunnels, oranges, water points, energy drinks, mobile toilets, and cold sponges at various places aided Rainmakers toward their destination.
Sanjay Shankar, a dedicated competitor from the beginning, finished the race with an impressive 13.10 miles in 2:27:29. His impromptu victory dance at the finish line was caught on camera and acquired Facebook fame. His enthusiasm spoke for all of the competing Rainmakers, who finished the race with complete participation.
Close to 32,000 people, including athletes and celebrities, turned up for the race. The spirit of the marathon is alive and well among Rainmakers. This year thirteen of us competed in the race, and we hope to see our numbers grow next year.