Born To Run

(Published in the Oculus Times 2004, the Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow Newsletter)

“Not to touch the earth
Not to see the sun
Nothing left to do, but
Run, run, run
Let's run
Let's run

House upon the hill
Moon is lying still
Shadows of the trees
Witnessing the wild breeze
C'mon baby run with me”

                                                - The Doors

 "There are clubs you can't belong to; neighbourhoods you can't live in; schools you can't get into, but the roads are always open."

Exactly seventy years after Jesse Owens tied his first world record, the roads opened up at IIM, Lucknow this Sunday as the Student Council organized its first Health Run (much like Forrest Gump, one fine day, for no particular reason). At 5 ‘o’ clock, half an hour before the run, a disgruntled Jayaram and Shiv looked up at the gathering clouds which threatened to wash out the event, even as the sound system blared unrecognizable cacophonies and enthusiastic volunteers cycled figure eights with bottles of Frooti for the prospective runners. 17:29.59 saw the heavens open, Aerosmith on the speakers and sixty students at the starting line, while the rest of the junta followed Will Rogers’ maxim “We can't all be heroes because someone has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by."

Spider Man RunThe first leg of the run (pun not intended), saw the usual suspects surge ahead with their bicycle escorts and bike cameras following. Halfway through the first lap, the runners had clustered into clearly distinguishable segments much like H11 and H12 – the tops, mids and bots, followed by the remaining multitude of hangers on at the rear.

The single-lap girls’ run made for a movie finish with prospective favourite Tuhina waking from her afternoon siesta after the run had started, sprinting off from the starting line in solitude and finishing with a good TGV to Rajdhani lead ahead of the troupe, followed by Neha Grover and Deepali Agarwal. The second lap saw the fly-by-day winners Anshul Bhatia, S.S. Ravishankar & Mahesh speed far ahead of the ‘run-of-the-mills’ who panted their grumbles of “life is short... running makes it seem longer”.

The mini-marathoners who made it to the finish line were greeted by cheers from the participative audience on the hostel roofs and at the finish line, wickedly egging them on for “one last third lap”. The first few finishers joined the crowds in breaking alliances by urging running partners Atul & Alok and Girish & Shravan to a mad last 100-metre RG dash, recorded by a disinterested Veernala at the finish line. The last rays of the setting sun raced a determined Shirish Shimpi to the finish line even as the smokers made their appeal for a handicap lead in the next run.Pink Panther Run

“We are different, in essence, from other men. If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon.” - Emil Zatopek