Your running thought of the day

Delhi is disgustingly polluted, with toxic air.
Even sitting indoors, at my desk, I can feel my eyes stinging and I’m coughing.
It is truly awful.  And we all have a half marathon to run in a week and a half.

I had an indifferent intervals work-out today.

So I definitely need some motivation.

And this one does the trick!

Love it 🙂

Running & training in Delhi’s dangerous smog

Today, just a few days away from the flagship Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, we all woke up to this.

Filthy, dirty, toxic air.

Navi shared this scary reading on our Whatsapp group, as we all cyber-greeted each other in the early hours of the morning.

I have to admit, getting up in the dark, knowing how polluted it was out there, did give me pause for thought.

The temptation to say “No, I’ll run later in the day when the air is less disgusting” was strong, but I knew it wouldn’t happen.

Just as well, really, since I checked the reading just now for the area of south Delhi where I live.

This is beyond ridiculous.

So, paradoxically, I trained in “better” air at 6 am than mid-day.


Anyway, before this turns into a rant on our air quality & the seeming lack of any form of political concern whatsoever, let me get back to our foggy training.

So, yes, we all met in foggy, smoggy weather, that didn’t lift one iota during our intervals training.

We stretched and started our warm-up laps in the dark.

Like so.

Chilly enough to need jackets, initially:

BUT…once I was there, running with my mates, I was so glad that I did go.

Literally, hanging out with my tribe was the only thing to lift the pall of physical foul-tasting gloom.

We drilled, we ran intervals (though mine were completely pathetic), we encouraged one another, we calmed down those of us suffering from injuries and aches, and all of this blanketed in thick fog.

There was one section of the track when we were running our interval laps, as we rounded it to run past Coach Vijay, where the visibility was down to probably less than 10 metres.  You’re running along in greyness and suddenly figures emerged from the gloom.

Would’ve been funny, if it weren’t so toxic.

But you see, if we hadn’t all braved the weather and pollution to meet up, we wouldn’t have had a brilliant slo-mo filming session, courtesy of Vaibhav and Mohinder.

Just look at Sonali running in the fog:

[jwplayer mediaid=”28512″]

And here we all are, drilling away.

I have to say, I think slo-mo is THE best for running 🙂

[jwplayer mediaid=”28508″]

So yes, here we are, just a few days to go, and everyone fretting about the weather, and some people with aches and pains, some more serious than others.

But still we smile away:

By the way, I used my Vogmask for a very short while this morning.  Might need to persist, if this filthy, mucky air doesn’t clear up, but the weather forecast isn’t encouraging.

But the truth of the matter is, I’ll almost certainly NOT wear the mask on race day, since the combo of glasses + mask straps + headphones is a recipe for disaster…


Well, this is a turn up for the books.

This went up on the Times of India website not even half an hour ago, so that’s pretty much breaking news in my book.

Basically Airtel, the title sponsors, have thrown down the gauntlet to the Delhi authorities to clean up their act and our toxic air.


Please read the full story – this is the link  but here is an extract:

“Airtel, which has been sponsoring the race for the past nine years, said it may have to rethink whether to continue supporting the event if the issue of pollution is not addressed urgently.

“Air pollution poses serious health risks and it is important that these concerns are addressed urgently and appropriately by the authorities for Airtel to continue associating with the event next year and beyond,” the telecom major said in a statement.

“Airtel is proud to have made this event an integral part of the city. However, as a responsible brand, Airtel is always conscious of any event/media property association. We have received a lot of feedback from our customers and citizens at large expressing concern on holding the marathon in view of the prevailing air pollution in the city,” it added.”

As I said before, wow.

Now let’s see how important this race actually is for the city.

Because the threat of losing this race is perhaps the only thing that will get the powers that be to pull their finger out and do something.

The health of millions of citizens clearly doesn’t bother them, so let’s see if this will work.

What’s on your running playlist? Eminem’s “Till I collapse”

Not the biggest Eminem fan, I have to confess.

And then yesterday, Tania Kumar suggested an Eminem song, “Till I collapse” to me, which she aptly describes as a power song for the last mile.

And guess what?

I LOVE it!

The lyrics were clearly written for every one of us who staggers, exhaustedly, across that finish line:

‘Cause sometimes you just feel tired, feel weak
And when you feel weak, you feel like you wanna just give up
But you gotta search within you
And gotta find that inner strength
And just pull that shit out of you
And get that motivation to not give up
And not be a quitter, no matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face, and collapse

And as for that thumping chorus, which is the bit I love the best:

Till the roof comes off, till the lights go out
Till my legs give out, can’t shut my mouth

I could listen to that chorus on a repeat loop, it’s so great.

Here’s the song.

Oh yes, and Hugh Jackman too, which is, of course, an added bonus 😛

171 bpm, in case you were wondering.

And here’s the link to download the song.

In case you were wondering Mark II

You are very welcome 🙂

So, about cancelling our Delhi half marathon…

Judging from social media PLUS my running group buddies this morning, the verdict is loud and clear.

Runners want the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon to go ahead (Help!  It’s 2 weeks today – yikes!).

Every single one of us is keenly aware of the shocking air quality we are condemned to breathe, just by virtue of living in Delhi, but we all seem to agree that we must just deal with it.  Canceling one race isn’t going to solve anything.

Everyone is – rightly – indignant that we must go through this toxic-pollution-scenario year after year.

The current kerfuffle is about one event, lasting some 3-4 hours, tops.

But the filthy air stays with us for months.

There have been so many comments and suggestions and rebuttals on social media, but I am sharing with you here the measured blog post of one of the NCR’s most charming runners and bloggers, the lovely Tanya Agarwal.

In her blog post today Tanya shares her thoughts, as well as the research she did on how other countries deal with polluted conditions.

Tanya will run.

I shall run.

I think most of the people I know will run.

The hashtag #willrunADHM is gaining traction 🙂

And yes, you noticed, Tanya was kind enough to put a link to the blog post I wrote on the very same subject.

I just wish the powers that be would DO something about this serious health hazard we all have to put up with, year after year.


The photo, by the way, was India Gate. Today.

What did you see on your run today? #323 comes from sunny England

Today’s stunning photos come from England.

In November.

Gosh 😛

Kathakholi Dasgupta, who used to be in my first-ever running group here in Delhi, before marrying Dave, a fellow runner & moving to England, sent these photos.

And with it the great news that after being sidelined by an injury for months, she is back and running.

In her own words:

“The running photos come from Willingham, a small village in Cambridgeshire where Dave’s best friend lives.  The rows of houses here struck me as soon as we drove into the village on Friday evening.

Did only a 5k, but today was my fastest (and finally under 30 mins) since I got back to running a few weeks ago.”

Katha, that is SUCH good news 🙂

She points out that the house (below) has a tin roof.  Looks super quaint.

AND there’s a thatched cottage:

And about the photo below, Katha says “Reminded me of Lego houses with an old petrol pump to boot!”

Looks like such a pretty little place, and as for that weather…

What did you see on your run today? #322 comes from London

While all of us here in Delhi battled filthy air this Saturday morning, and everyone was up in arms about proposals to postpone the upcoming half marathon, some luckier folk were running here.

This is the tow path of the Grand Union Canal in London, and my friend Romit Basu, who has contributed many photos to this blog, ran 6 miles here with 2 friends.

Clearly it was a little chilly, since they are wearing beanies, but not that cold, ‘cos they’re in T-shirts.

How lovely this looks, Romit…how unpolluted…

Thanks, as ever, my friend and #keeprunning #keepinspiring

Should the Delhi half marathon be cancelled?

I am running a half marathon in Delhi, in exactly 2 weeks, DESPITE the terrible air quality in the city.

I am running the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon because I choose to do so.

I am aware of the disgusting quality of the air that we are condemned to breathe, just by virtue of living in Delhi, but not running for one day is not going to change a thing, in my humble (and totally unscientific) opinion.

Fellow runners, correct me if I’m wrong, but haven’t we been down this route before?

Shocking pollution, then a plea, just before the race, from people who want it to be cancelled?

Didn’t we have the same scenario last year?

This whole “cancel the Ariel Delhi Half marathon” thing baffles me.  Please do read this link if you wish to get up to speed on this discussion.

But here’s just one extract from the statement issued by the Indian Medical Association for you to consider:

“Hence, we demand that the event be cancelled immediately and postponed to a later date, when air pollution levels are better. IMA will be writing to Hon’ble Delhi Chief Minister, Chief Justice Delhi High Court and the Chairperson, National Green Tribunal in this regard”, added the statement.”

“We demand.”



What does cancelling one race do, pray?

Are we runners the polluters?

I think not.

We are all (by and large) adults and are all (by and large) sensible people, so we are perfectly capable of deciding if we are going to run.  It’s a choice, after all.  Not an obligation.  A choice.

Our choice.

We can all make our own decisions as to when and where and how much to run.

Don’t tell us not to.

Well, don’t tell us not to, unless, of course, you also demanded that the organisers of last Tuesday’s government-organised “Run for Unity” race cancel it.

Did you?

Did you?

Did you tell the government and our Hon’ble PM who flagged off the event of the shocking air quality?

Did you?

And have you demanded that the organisers of tomorrow’s cycle race cancel it?

Have you?

Did you petition the government to close down these two events?

And before issuing a statement demanding that ADHM be cancelled, did you petition the government to stop all cars from driving because of pollution? And halt all construction work because of the dust pollution?

If you did all this, then fine, I’m with you.

If you have indeed tried to close down everything that pollutes us all on a terrifyingly daily basis, then good on you, and yes, go ahead, and petition the organisers of ADHM.

If, on the other hand, this is the only event you are targeting, the question is why?


Is there some reason you are dead set on this event being cancelled, whereas Tuesday’s event, flagged off by none other than our Prime Minister & starring thousands of schoolchildren, was allowed to go ahead unchallenged?

Let’s end with a statement issued by Procam, who are the organisers of the event.

Here’s the link to their full, comprehensive statement.

And here’s the salient bit for you:

“As enshrined by the observations of the Supreme Court, who was seized of this matter last year, stated – “We will not stop or ban any marathon from taking place – as People have a fundamental right to Run.”

The Airtel Delhi Half Marathon is inherently a panacea for the pollution issue plaguing Delhi. The Race Day keeps cars off the designated 21kms of the city, and salt mixed with effluent treated water that is used to wash the course, ensures that the dust pollution is negated making the Race Day a far more conducive environment for running.

It has been scientifically established that runners and people with active lifestyles are better suited to be able to deal with the ill effects of a polluted environment and are known to have better immunity.”


What’s on your running playlist? “Can’t stop this thing we started”

Thanks, yet again, to my fitness-guru girlfriend Preeti Sethi Chima for this track.

Preeti shazamed this song on Facebook (in the context of her wedding anniversary, I suspect!) but I also think it’s appropriate to the running journey we’ve all started

“…can’t stop this thing we started
You gotta know it’s right
Can’t stop this course we’ve plotted, yeah…”


Right, what else can I tell you?

Oh yes, 115bpm.

What else you wanna know?

Where to download it?

Right here, is the answer!

1 2 3 4 87