The lesser spoken experiences of Tata Mumbai Marathon

marathon-medalIt’s 10 days since the biggest day for runners! 21st Jan 2018 – the Tata Mumbai Marathon… My first Mumbai Marathon! What an experience it was! Like most of the other runners have already mentioned in their posts, I too thought that it was a brilliantly organized event. Mumbaikars spread throughout the way cheering for us was what made the run even more fun and memorable. In this post, however, I wish to point out something that I have observed in many runs in the past too, and have wanted to write about, but somehow didn’t get down to doing it. However, this time, I just had to!

I wish to write about the runners! So, we did witness some wonderful runners who cheered those who slowed down, helped them get over their cramps and so on. But there was a whole bunch (and quite a huge number; I don’t know whether it would be right to use the word ‘majority’, because I wouldn’t have my numbers in place to prove that) of runners who didn’t really exhibit one of the core attitudes that one would expect in a runner – EMPATHY! It was so disheartening to see runners mindlessly toss about water bottles merely after having a sip, not just on the road throughout the race, but also straight into the sea, while running on the sealink… What was worse is a bed of banana peels for quite a distance, wherever bananas were distributed by considerate residents of a locality.

Being a counselling psychologist by profession, I’d like to highlight the meaning of the word ‘Empathy’, to start with. Empathy means understanding another person’s situation, and knowing what exactly he or she is going through. The other person could be just about anybody – in the event context, a runner, a volunteer, a member of the organizing committee or anyone cheering the runners.  When tossing a bottle about, what one is thinking about is their PB, their convenience, and what one is absolutely not bothered about is the plight of a fellow runner who may trip and have an injury bad enough to make this their last ever run!

It is easy to blame the organizers for not having enough dustbins, but what is difficult is to take responsibility for the event as a participant. Isn’t it the same attitude that we have towards the government – more specifically towards the Swaccha Bharat Abhiyan?!

For someone like me who ran at the lowest possible speed, it seemed like the garbage by all runners is waiting to welcome me at every kilometre. And you know the best part… the dustbins were pretty empty! I would like to clarify that this blog is not written in a fit of anger. However, this definitely is a point that requires attention. Let us all be more mindful as runners and as citizens of the country, striving to imbibe the attitude of empathy, and make the world a better place! 😊

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