Comrades Marathon

A compilation of the blogs that I wrote about my experience of running the Comrades Marathon 2012.


Part 1 – Comrades – An Introduction

Either you have work or you have not. When you have to say, “Let us do something,” then begins mischief My earliest introduction to the word ‘Comrade’ was when I attended a Bank Trade Union meeting with my father. It was certainly not my introduction to ‘communism’ in any manner. I could barely follow the proceedings in the meeting and was there only for the dinner that followed it. Few minutes later, I realised thatContinue reading “Part 1 – Comrades – An Introduction”

Part 2 – The Ultra Runners

It is the most distant course that comes nearest to thyself, and that training is the most intricate which leads to the utter simplicity of a tune. Ultra marathon runners – “Fat people who just can’t run very fast; but have a high tolerance for boredom.” My personal experience of meeting Ultra marathon runners tells me that they aren’t ‘fat’ but they definitely have a high tolerance for boredom (not just in their conversation withContinue reading “Part 2 – The Ultra Runners”

Part 3 – Running Beyond a Marathon

Ultra marathon, in simple terms, is essentially running more than 42.195 Km – a definition that is inconclusive though. Some are satisfied with going past that number whereas others love to stretch to the maximum distance that they can cover or the maximum number of days they can run. My first attempt to run beyond a marathon was rather “an accident.” In November 2010, Shahid announced his plan to do a Madras-Mahabalipuram run (you neverContinue reading “Part 3 – Running Beyond a Marathon”

Part 4 – Registering for the Comrades

In the early morning thou wouldst call me from my sleep like my own comrade and lead me running from glade to glade In March 2011, Amit Sheth came to Chennai to launch his book ‘Dare to Run‘ and also participated in the 5th anniversary of Chennai Runners, the following day. He delivered an inspiring speech about his running adventures, and Comrades Marathon, for which he happens to be the Event Ambassador in India. TowardsContinue reading “Part 4 – Registering for the Comrades”

Part 5 – The Humble Lessons

It was my songs that taught me all the lessons I ever learnt; they showed me secret paths, they brought before my sight many a star on the horizon of my heart Bruce Fordyce, nine times winner and thirty times finisher of Comrades Marathon, wrote a brilliant piece on the “Arrogance in The Comrades Marathon.” In that article, he quoted Bill Rodgers, 4 time winner of Boston Marathon. After dropping out of 1977 Boston marathon,Continue reading “Part 5 – The Humble Lessons”

Part 6 – The Barefoot Experiment

I surely know the hundred petals of a lotus will not remain closed for ever and the secret recess of its honey will be bared. Running is a simple sport; But the choice of a good running shoe isn’t. The choice of appropriate running shoes is a hot topic of discussion, both on the run as well as off the run in various Internet discussion forums, blog posts, articles from running magazines, and others. ThereContinue reading “Part 6 – The Barefoot Experiment”

Part 7 – Training for the Comrades

One of the often posed question to me, before as well as after the Comrades was about my training. It is quite difficult to say why I don’t believe in training for an event – either I cannot train well or I don’t believe in it. Training specifically for an event is like pursuing education solely for the purposes of examination – you invariably lose the sight of the bigger picture. I also find thatContinue reading “Part 7 – Training for the Comrades”

Part 8 – Cutting it too Close

Not everyone who likes to be an Indian would prefer to hold an Indian passport. Apart from the hassles that one gets involved in procuring it, the real reason has been in the poor consular relations established by Ministry of External Affairs all over the world. Many countries improved their diplomatic relations to secure on-arrival tourist visas for their citizens. The Indian passport holder rarely gets such benefits in most countries. Until recently, Sri LankaContinue reading “Part 8 – Cutting it too Close”

Part 9 – The Courage to Start

One of the most often quoted words of John Bingham, a popular writer amidst runners is “The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” More than my courage, it was indeed a miracle to see myself at start. It has been a long journey to the start line. If the visa drama to reach South Africa wasn’t enough, there was another unfolding for me and Ram atContinue reading “Part 9 – The Courage to Start”

Part 10 – Endaro Mahanubhavulu Andariki Vandanamu

My running plan was pretty simple – 89K in 12 hours equals to 5 hours of running at 8 kmph and 7 hours of running at 7 kmph and never to run beyond 9 kmph. Sadly, it didn’t turn out to be that easier. Also, I had to cover up the 10 minutes missed at the start line. The first 4 hours was relatively a satisfactory one. There were obstacles like bad weather conditions andContinue reading “Part 10 – Endaro Mahanubhavulu Andariki Vandanamu”

Part 11 – The Marathon Begins

After running for 6 hours and completing 46 Km, the first board I see was “43 Km More.” The Kilometer marker boards in most marathons will show you the distance completed. Comrades is a bit cruel in this aspect – They show you the distance that is yet to be covered. It makes you feel that all the distance that you completed so far is absolutely worth nothing. I have run 46K, yes 46K, moreContinue reading “Part 11 – The Marathon Begins”

Part 12 – The Final Countdown

It was past 3:00 PM and the sun was going down on the west increasing the anxiety. Comrades happens during the winter time in South Africa and the days are short. It was one of those rarest days where I find myself starting to run before the sunrise and finish (hopefully the entire distance) after the sunset. With 18K to go, the only consolation was that the distance was less than a half-marathon – Still,Continue reading “Part 12 – The Final Countdown”

Part 13 – Yes We Ran

They guided me all the day long to the mysteries of the country of pleasure and pain, and, at last, to what palace gate have the brought me in the evening at the end of my journey Rabindranath Tagore, Gitanjali Sometime after finishing the Comrades Marathon, a friend remarked “I never thought you would finish the Comrades;” I cheekily replied “Neither did I.” Truth, to be told, finishing the Comrades has always been about one’sContinue reading “Part 13 – Yes We Ran”

Part 14 – Once More?

In the early morning thou wouldst call me from my sleep like my own comrade and lead me running from glade to glade. As I was picking up my baggage from the international tent, a little girl volunteering there asked me if I would do run the Comrades again. My answer was ‘Never’; She responded ‘They always say that… and come again and again’ It is true that Comrades marathon is some kind of anContinue reading “Part 14 – Once More?”