The strange case of Mexico’s chocolate runners

My resolutely non-running hubby sent me a link to an article in The Economist.

It makes fascinating but quite bizarre reading.

Apparently there is an extraordinarily high percentage of cheating in the Mexico City marathon.

So much so, that there is a delightful expression for the fake runners of this race – “corredores de chocolate”.

Literally “chocolate runners”.

I’m not sure why chocolate, but the fact remains that in the 2018 Mexico City marathon, 5000 of the 28000 race finishers were disqualified, and hundreds more were kicked out mid race.

That is taking cheating to a whole new level.

As a marathoner (YES! How I love saying that!) so, yes, as a marathoner, I really, really do not see the point of cheating.

At our level, despite what we think of ourselves, the brutal reality is that we are all rank amateurs. We are therefore running for ourselves.

For ourselves, I repeat.

To be fit.

To have fun.

Ah, but wait.

I forgot the power of social media.

How silly of me.

“Social media can warp behaviour . Those who broadcast their preparation for the race grow desperate to post a triumphant selfie after it.”

How delusional do you have to be, to think that a selfie justifies cheating? Or, actually, that a selfie is of any importance whatsoever.

How ever many likes you get at the time, in a few minutes the (Insta) news cycle has moved on, and you are already history.

Do people seriously cheat for bragging rights?

If you tell a fellow runner your marathon time, she/he can interpret it and react accordingly. (In my case, being The Slowest Runner on Planet Earth, reactions are always of pity 😛 😛 )

However, from hilarious experience, non-runners by and large do not have a CLUE about a marathon. Neither its distance nor what constitutes an appropriate finish time.

No-one in my husband’s family runs (I live in India, which is why I’m only referencing my Indian husband’s family. In case you wondered.).

At a family dinner last year, a cousin asked me how long a marathon is. When I replied 42.195km, she looked suitably impressed and then asked me how many days it would take me to finish it.

Faced with that level of (in)expertise, why would you feel the need to cheat and fudge your times?!

There is speculation that some runners cheat in order to get a better qualifying time for the super prestigious races like the Boston marathon. But, seriously, why would you do that to yourself? Why set yourself up for further “failure”? If you can’t run fast enough in Mexico, what makes you think you could do a Boston?

I read another article about marathon cheating – not specifically about Mexico – in which one explanation offered by runners who were found to have cheated was that they didn’t want to disappoint their sponsors, especially if they were charity fund-raising. Cheating is still cheating, but this last excuse at least has a modicum of dignity about it.

Back to Mexico. Here are a couple of photos I found online.

First up, a bloke called Maria:

Next, a group of cheerful chappies on the subway. Masks to hide their faces, but some of their bib numbers are still visible, so that’s a bit dumb, isn’t it?

There’s a theory about the medals for the MexicoCity marathon being partly to blame for so much cheating. They have just finished a series in which each year was one of the letters that make up the word “Mexico”, and so people wanted to get the whole series, by hook or by crook, even if that involved cheating.

From 2019, every year the marathon medal will be a different section of the city, and they will eventually all form a map.

Hola, Méjico! I have a suggestion.

Why don’t you stop with the fancy medals (although they do sound great, don’t they?!) and give less desirable ones?

That might make some of the chocolate runners stop taking the subway.

How is the ASICS Lite-Show long sleeved T?

Pre-review disclosure.

I am an ASICS running influencer in India (where I live) and as such get to try out and wear their products.

BUT – and this really is very important – ASICS has never once even so much as suggested I review their products.

Not once.

I am under no pressure whatsoever to write any review nor blog about the company.

But when I genuinely love a product, I review it here.

Which leads me straight away to the light-as-air Lite-Show long sleeved T (below):

I’m going to share with you a rather silly secret. I really, really love tops that have thumb holes, like this T.

Dunno why, but I do.

So the Lite-Show T already had a definite plus in its favour before I even wore it.

Wearing it is a delight, since the top is incredibly lightweight, making it great, even in Delhi’s brutal summer heat (where the long sleeves protect against sun damage).

I also wore it as part of my layering, while trekking in the snowy Himalayas. This time, it was the top’s lightness that was a big plus, when every gram counts in your rucksack.

Now let me give you a few technical details:

“Mixed fabrication construction for feminine look and breathability. Cotton handfeel at front for comfort. Mesh at back for ventilation. 360° body-mapped reflectivity for visibility

The fabric is Knit 1. 74% Polyester, 19% Tencel, 7% Spandex”

These details courtesy www.asics.com

Can you see D1 on the back?
Read on

“The Asics Lite-Show Running Top is constructed with D1 technical fabric which utilises moisture management and quick drying properties. When sweat is produced, the fabric pushes it to the outer layer where it is then evaporated, keeping you feeling cool and dry during a workout. Designed with a loose fit and a soft touch, it will keep comfort at a maximum. Thumbholes are used to provides extra coverage across the hands and also prevents the sleeves from riding up and causing discomfort. Reflective elements feature on the front, back and arms on the top which enhances visibility in low lighting conditions for maximum safety while out on the streets.”

Thank you, www.sportsshoes.com

As mentioned above, the reference D1 is part of ASICS’ own classification system, indicating that the garment is “moisture wicking” and made from “quick drying fabric”.

If I have one grumble about this top, it is that it is only available in one colour…

So I have 2 of ’em, since I love them so much!

Personally tried, tested & recommended.

Check www.asics.com to buy online or visit one of their stores.

Yoga for runners 101

Yoga.

One of those quintessential Indian “things” which I’ve never really “got”. Is that too many quotation marks for one short sentence?

Maybe.

I tried yoga a few years ago, in an effort to make hubby dearest do some kind of exercise. The teacher came highly recommended by hubby’s sister-in-law, if memory serves me right, but he wasn’t at all what I imagined a yoga teacher to be.

For one thing, he sat on a chair throughout the class, drinking tea.

And for another thing, we did the same exercises over and over and over again. No variation, no progress. Just lots of cups of tea.

So I stopped going to his classes, and would head out to run instead.

Anyway, he soon retired back to Bihar and that was that.

Cue my running group, where very often we do yoga-esque stretches after our sessions.

Every single person in the group knows all the poses, knows their technical names, and they are all terrifyingly bendy and flexible.

And they all run w-a-y faster than me, so there must be something in it, right? Yoga for runners clearly works.

So hubby and I have restarted yoga, and this time I’m determined to stick with it, hoping it will help my running.

This teacher seems better, doesn’t drink tea, and alters the sequence of the exercises, adding new “asanas”, so already in a month there is a feeling of progress.

Cue the other day.

I saw a photo on social media of my terrifyingly lithe & fit running friend Reeti Sahai, who was doing a reverse namaste pose..

I showed the photo to my husband and made some comment like “God, I wish I were so flexible. I’ll never be able to do that pose.”

AND LEFT IT AT THAT.

DIDN’T TRY THE POSE.

JUST EXPRESSED SELF DOUBT.

This morning, out of the blue, my husband asked our teacher about this pose.

He said he’d never heard of it (should I be worried about the extent of his knowledge?)

Himmat said, “Oh, it’s like doing a namaste behind your back” & I started to demonstrate to the teacher.

AND DID ONE.

First time.

People, I was SO chuffed, I can’t tell you!

Begone self doubt!

I realise that it is far from perfect, but what the heck. I did it.

I decided to read up a little about this pose (I’m nerdy like that) and here is the result.

REVERSE PRAYER POSE

Depending on the style of yoga, tadasana paschima namaskar may also be called paschima namaskarasana (westward prayer pose) or viparita namaskarasana (inverted prayer pose) in Sanskrit.

Thanks yogapedia.com.

Tadasana paschima namaskar is a simple yet advanced shoulder and chest stretch practiced from a standing position. The name comes from the Sanskrit, tadasana, or mountain pose; paschima, meaning “west” and referring to the back of the body; and namaskar, which is a greeting and term of respect.”

“As the name suggests, tadasana paschima namaskar is a variation of the foundational tadasana, but with the palms touching at the center of the back in an upward prayer position.

In English, tadasana paschima namaskar is most commonly known as reverse prayer pose.”

Yogapedia.com again.

For strengthening the upper back, it say, on the illustration above.

So I re-consulted yogapedia:

In addition to its physical benefits, tadasana paschima namaskar:

Calms the mind

Reduces stress

Boosts confidence

Relieves anxiety and mild depression

The pose is also believed to open the anahata (heart) chakra, which is associated with compassion, forgiveness, emotional stability, love and acceptance of oneself and others. Anahata is where the true Self resides; so, Self-realization is only possible when this chakra is balanced.

Wow.

I can’t honestly say that doing this asana calmed my mind or reduced my stress levels, but it sure boosted my confidence.

Hey, I’m sharing photos of me doing it, aren’t I?!

Imperfectly, but I’m doing it nonetheless.

The photo above shows attempt #2.

My palms are a little bit closer together, I think.

But my head isn’t straight, so I’ll have to work on that next time.

Now what about the physical benefits of the reverse prayer pose?

As per the photo below, it’s good for a frozen shoulder.

According to doyogawithme.com

“The Reverse Prayer Pose is a great pose for those with tight wrists and forearms. It stretches the flexors of the wrist.”

The Art of Living adds further benefits:

Opens the abdomen, thus allowing deeper breaths.

Stretches the upper back.

Stretches the shoulder joints and pectoral muscles.

Summarising all the benefits of this pose, what do we have?

1)Strengthening the upper back.

2)Dealing with frozen shoulder

3)Stretches the worst flexors

4)Stretching the shoulder joints and pectoral muscles

5)Opening the abdomen

That’s a whole lot of benefits from one asana.

Given that today was a fluke, it seemed a good idea to check the proper sequence.

Of all the explanations (& oh my God such l-o-n-g, rambling, self-indulgent 14 minute Youtube tutorials from American yoga teachers), I decided that the Art of Living gave the most succinct instructions of how to do this asana:

Begin in Tadasana pose.

Relax the shoulders and bend your knees a little.

Bring your arms behind your back and join the palms with fingertips facing downward.

As you inhale, turn the fingertips inwards towards the spine and bring them to face upwards.

Ensure that the knees are still slightly bent and the palms are pressed firmly against each other.

Stay in the position for a couple of breaths.

As you exhale, slowly turn the fingertips downward.

Bring the arms to the side of the body and slowly come back into Tadasana

I had no idea about the breathing involved, so will have to work on that.

My knees weren’t bent & I look ramrod stiff on the photo, to be honest.

So there are 2 things to correct immediately.

Plus the head tilting to the right.

Conclusion?

Definitely a pose to be worked on and repeated, and it’s probably something one can do in isolation, just like that, as a stretch, & not always in the context of a yoga class.

Final thought

While checking with yet another website I was fascinated to read that this pose is also known as the penguin pose.

Did the ancient yogis, high in the Himalayas, really know about penguins?

Really?

What a fascinating thought.

I definitely need more info on this, please.

Swimming for runners

I’ve been swimming a lot, these last few days, as I holiday in Bangkok, mainly because the building has a pool, so there is no effort required at all. No crazy Delhi traffic to drive through to get to a pool, which is my standard excuse for not swimming regularly in Delhi (where I live).

I realised that I have been sharing swimming updates on my running Instagram feed as cross-training, and decided to check if this is indeed true, or was I simply showing off a little?

Is swimming indeed good for runners?

Does it “count” as cross-training?

After just a couple of seconds online, I think the answer is an unequivocal YES.

“In fact, runners looking to boost strength and lung capacity will find swimming is an excellent form of cross training.”

Great news from mapmyrun.com

Swimming is officially great for runners,

Whew!

Of course, like anything one researches, there are a zillion different suggestions as to which stroke is the best/most efficient/most useful – and sadly none of them appears to be breaststroke, which is my go-to stroke.

I even read a few scary comments suggesting that the leg kick of breastroke was actively bad for my knees, so I need to re-think that a little.

But what is undisputed is that swimming is good for we runners.

I posit that it is actually great for every single person, but for runners especially, swimming works its magic in so many ways.

So what benefits exactly does swimming offer us?

Back to mapmyrun.com:

“Runners benefit from swimming because it is an effective cardiovascular exercise that is not weight bearing,” explains Dr. Leesa Galatz, orthopedic surgeon and system chair of the Department of Orthopedics in the Mount Sinai Health System. “Runners are constantly loading lower extremity joints and spine, and swimming offers the ability to maintain fitness level in a setting where joints are relatively unloaded, allowing joints to rest.”

According to Natasha van der Merwe, a professional triathlete and coach, there are 4 main benefits that athletes will get from swimming:

1)Improved cardiovascular fitness with minimal stress on the body – which ties in exactly with Dr. Galatz’s assessment (above).

2) Swimming helps the body recover from runs since the movement and cold water facilitate blood flow & recovery. (Good to know, since the water temperatures here in Bangkok are downright chilly )

3) Swimming can increase oxygen and lung capacity

4) Swimming works and strengthens different muscle groups that are not used in running

So far, so good.

So far, very good in fact.

Except for the little question of which stroke is the most beneficial.

Back to Dr. Galatz, and I quote:


“Depending on the stroke, swimming engages upper & lower extremities. Most swimmers perform freestyle or crawl, which engages deltoid, latissimus doors, pectorals major and rotator cuff.

And my go-to stroke, breaststroke?

It appears that it’s not quite as efficient as front crawl, for example, especially as far as leg movements are concerned.

I double checked the forum which scarily mentioned potential knee damage due to breast stroke, and since the discussion ended in rather childish name-calling (what is wrong with people’s online manners?!) I decided to write off the knee comments as silliness too.

Leaving aside the technicalities of which stroke is the most beneficial, the undisputed truth is that swimming is relaxing, and for those of us who love being around water, there is nothing quite like it.

A minimal-stress, relaxing form of cross-training – sounds pretty darn perfect to me!

How lovely

My running friend, the lovely young Shikha Dadwal has just celebrated an anniversary.

No, not her wedding anniversary, but her running anniversary.

She has written a wonderful tribute to running, a vital part of our lives, and yet one that sometimes we love to hate 😛

“August is special.

It was August in 2014 that one fortunate morning, I decided to go out and run.

Been 5 years, as surprising it may seem, it hasn’t got any easier.

Fighting the demons never gets easy, specially when they live inside your own head. They tell you to sleep some more, to laze around all day or to even put the alarm on a snoozing spree!

But each morning in those 5 years that I could shut the demons, step out & run, has been a happy & fulfilling one.

And this anniversary is worth celebrating, and to remind myself that I must never hang up my running shoes. 👟👟

#5YearsAndRunning

P.S.: Super lucky to have my partner in life & on the run Ashish. (who I really had to pester to click this photo 😛)

And of course my other running buddies  🙂 “

Well done, my dear, and #keeprunning #keepinspiring

Sometimes numbers DO matter!

You know how people tell you not to worry about the numbers when you run?

All those exhortations to “just run, ignore the time, ignore the distance, just run for the love of it”…you know the kind of thing.

All very admirable.

But then you have a number like this, that just HAS to be celebrated.

Will ya just take a look at this?!

10101km.

This is my friend Harminder’s unbelievable running total.

The man is a machine.

We both ran the very first #100daysofrunning challenge together in 2015, and after that Harminder HAS NOT STOPPED!!

He has run day in day out, even the day he became a father, and just look at this resulting, magnificent statistic.

Shabash x 10101 times my dear friend.

Can’t wait for your next sexy statistic – 11111km, for example?!

Seriously, Harminder, fab stuff & #keeprunning #keepinspiring

What did you see on your run today? #395 comes from Toronto

One of my ASICS Running Club friends, Narpat Singh, who has already done a running Q&A for us, is currently in Toronto, and shared some great pictures from his run downtown today.

Or was it yesterday?

Possibly even my tomorrow, given the time difference!

I’ve never been to Toronto, so can’t really judge, but from Narpat’s description, it seems as though he pretty much covered most of the downtown city on his run.

“Areas covered: the Rogers centre, home of the leading baseball team, the Blue Jays; CN tower (that I HAVE heard of!), the Steam Whistle Brewery, Spadina Street, China Town, Little Italy, University of Toronto, Town Halls, both old & new, ICICI Bank branch ( 😛 ), Union Station & Scotia area, the home of the other baseball team, the Raptors.

Noteworthy is the contrast in the architecture throughout the town. Old & contemporary coexist seamlessly.

Lots of street art is another feature of the town.”

As an ex-army man, I guess it’s natural that Narpat stopped at the war memorials:

The old vs new contrast

Wonder if this is Clinton as in THOSE Clintons?

Thanks my friend.

Looking forward to more updates from you, as you explore more of Toronto.

#keeprunning #keepinspiring

ASICS Tanren sports bra

Pre-review disclosure.

I am an ASICS running influencer in India (where I live) and as such get to try out and wear their products.

BUT – and this really is very important – ASICS has never once even so much as suggested I review their products.

Not once.

I am under no pressure whatsoever to write any review nor blog about the company

But since I honestly do like their sports bra, why not?

I have worn and tried sports bras of many companies in the (almost) 6 years that I have been running and the ASICS Tanren bra really is top of the range.

What I particularly like about the Tanren is that it has a conventional hook & eye fastening system at the back, meaning you avoid some of the terrible contortions otherwise involved.

The fabric is, naturally, tight, so you do have to stretch your arms a bit through the arm holes, but nothing as panic inducing as one bra I have (I won’t mention names) – God knows how supple that company thinks the average woman is, contorting and twisting your way into their bra.

Another plus about this bra is the adjustable straps. Not all sports bras have ‘em.

Trust me.

Quick aside. You know what I like about the photo above? That the model ever-so-slightly bulges over the back of the bra.

As most of us do.

Makes me feel a whole lot less stressed.

I have 3 of these bras – one black & 2 yellow.

They’re not cheap, at Rs3599 a piece, but they are top quality.

Mine get worn, in rotation, nearly every day (though I admit to favouring the fab yellow ones more than the conventional black one 😛 ) and there is no sign of wear and tear at all.

Ah yes, before I go.

What does that D1 mean on the back of the bra?

Good question.

ASICS has a system of letters and numbers indicating the functions of the apparel, and each garment will have one.

The DI on the Tanren bra means that it is made from a moisture-wicking and quick-drying fabric that stays dry.

And it does. I can vouch for that.

I’ve run in these bras in extreme killer humidity in Delhi, in Mumbai (running the marathon) and in Bangkok, and they do wick away the moisture.

Personally tried, tested and recommended.

The world needs more runners like this

Runners are strange people, I tell ya’ 😛

Firstly, they get up at dawn and run.

And then, as if that in itself isn’t strange enough, they also decide to run for a cause.

And then they do it day after day after day.

And they do it in the worst of weather.

As I said, strange folk, runners!

Since I count myself as a runner, I accept that I am, by default, also strange too!

I freely admit to being part of the getting up at dawn to run part, but what my lovely running friend Mihika Gupta and Gaurav Pant are doing is in a whole new league altogether. (By the way, I’m sure Gaurav is lovely, too, but you know what I mean!)

These 2 amazing people are running a half marathon every day for 30 days, in an effort to raise awareness about the need to make Gurgaon, where they live, a safer place.

For those of you who don’t know this part of India, Gurgaon is a satellite town next to Delhi, and the two are almost one now, closely linked by road and metro.

But just like Delhi, Gurgaon has safety issues, especially for women, and so these two crazy I mean lovely people decided that enough is enough. They decided to put their money where their mouth is, and go out there and draw attention to their mission to make their city a better place.

I have nothing but the hugest admiration for these two runners, who coolly run a half marathon every day, and then just as coolly, go off to work. I collapse in a dramatic heap after running a half marathon, expecting praise and admiration from the world – and these two are churning out the miles, day after day after day.

The world needs more crazy gosh, did I say crazy runners like you, Gaurav and Mihika 😛

I asked Mihika to tell us more about their venture, so without any further ado, let me hand the blog over to this sassy, fearless runner.

“We were already doing the 100 days of running challenge and then thought of going the extra mile by running a half marathon in the last 30 days of the 100 days running challenge.

Here I would like to thank Dr. Ramit Wadhwa for instigating us to take up this challenge. He has played a vital role in motivating us and putting our thoughts into reality.


So while we decided to run a half marathon daily for 30 consecutive days, we thought of doing something  for our city and run for a cause, which needed to be addressed, and what could have been more apt than running for a “safer Gurgaon”. Since our run was spread over 30 days which is a good enough period to make significant observations, and while running we thought we could do that which generally is not possible when we are in a high speed vehicle.

While running we have been talking to people about issues like ‘lane driving’, ‘no wrong side driving’, ‘compulsory helmets for 2 wheelers’, ‘no jumping at traffic lights’ – basically, have been educating people to take ownership of their own safety and follow safety rules. At the same time we have observed a few lapses from the Gurgaon administration too.

To highlight a few:

Since we start running at 4 AM, we observed there weren’t enough street lights in the lanes. The only option we were left with was to run on Golf Course Road, one of the most lit roads in Gurgaon. We faced a few drunk people approaching us while running, and found minimal police patrolling.

Therefore we would like to highlight *Women Safety* as one of the biggest safety issues of Gurgaon.

During the rains, the roads were clogged, and there were many potholes. Pedestrians and  cyclists were stranded.

There is a lot of dog menace throughout the route which would scare pedestrians and cyclists when the dogs ran after them.

So all these issues need to be addressed.


We hope to create an awareness while running. We don’t expect  things to change overnight, but someone needs to voice the issues and that’s what we have tried to do in these 30 days.

Mainly we want the administration and residents to come together and work towards a safer Gurgaon.

One has to stop the blame-game and do their own bit. Administration has to take effective safety measures and residents have to take ownership of their own actions and follow safety rules.

We generally run the same route daily which is Golf Course Road and the areas around it, since that’s the only road that is well lit in the dark and has minimal potholes.

On week days we start our run at 4 am since it’s a working day and we have to get home in time to take care of the household chores and routine.

On weekends, we start at 5 am and lots of other runners from the running fraternity come and join us to support the cause. Our start time for both weekdays and weekends has never changed be it rain or sun. Our run is never dependent on the weather we have been out running on the roads come what may.

I was so impressed by these 2, & this amazing physical challenge, that I asked Mihika a really silly question: Aren’t you tired?”

Pretty silly question, right?

But Mihika just politely replied:

“Yes, we are tired but as the day goes by, we recover and are up and running again the next morning.”

We are taking care of our recovery very well, which includes a good amount of •stretching

•good nutrition, which includes good intake of protein and carbs

•hydration

•consumption of fast and up BCAA during running & fast and up recover post our runs

•proper rest and sleep 

As I said in the title of this blog, the world really does need more runners like you 2.

Instead of grumbling, the way many of us do, you 2 are going out there & making your voice heard.

A couple of things Mihika said particularly resonated. I like her observation that while running your can observe things and interact in a way that’s impossible when you’re in a car – as so many of us are. So true, Mihika.

I also appreciate the way she says that we citizens have to take ownership of our actions.

100% spot on.

We all love to blame someone else – and in all fairness our civic fathers are often at fault. But we can’t blame someone else all the time. There comes a point when we need to stand up and be counted, and that is EXACTLY what you two are doing.

Super impressed.

I got a lovely follow up message from Mihika, adding a few words thanking her children for their support.

Mihika, I have a sneaky feeling that you don’t actually need to thank them. I bet they are very proud of you already.

Also, since we know that kids learn by example, I feel we have some super dedicated future citizens in the making here.

But here is your message to your children 🙂

I also want to thank my kids for there immense support. When I started with this challenge there schools had just opened after summer break and I have not seen them off to school even one single day. They have supported me very well and have never missed their school or school bus either. Have got ready on time without any pressure on me.

Looks like your challenge has made your children step up, too.

Total win win!

FANTASTIC job, you two wonderful, crazy, dedicated, caring runners.

Shabash! You’ve both got dedication, grit, the whole 9 yards, and are using it to better our world.

Let’s talk trash! And taking responsibility for it

As anyone who knows me/runs with me will be aware, I HATE the litter that is omni-present all over India.

For decades now, I’ve picked up the litter wherever I am, on the basis that why walk past litter if you can pick it up & dispose of it properly?

I have been praised for such actions, which is nice, but I’d much rather people followed by example.

I have also been roundly abused for it in the process, mainly here in India, sad to say.

Apparently a quote unquote f***ing foreigner picking up Indian trash is offensive. Go figure.

One day, about 18 month ago, Ripu Daman, a running mate, & I decided we’d try and galvanise people into taking some responsibility for the garbage problem in India in whatever way we could. After each training session, we started picking up the trash in the park here in New Delhi where we trained together.

Momentum gradually built up, and we started a Facebook page and Instagram handle @ploggersofindia.

By the way – in the next few days, Ripu is embarking on a huge project, a nation-wide plog, which I’ll be reporting on here in the blog.

Stay tuned for that!

But back to talking trash…

Can’t deny it, there are moments of total despair in the quest to clean up the country and sensitise people into not littering in the first place.

And then there are moments of total WOW, like this morning, when I read the Twitter posts of a young man called Srini Swaminathan who, in a series of tweets and photos, shared his experience of a race he took part in yesterday in Mumbai.

I contacted Srini, and with his permission, am sharing his story with you all.

It is a great story – one of putting the public need over the private.

It is a great story – one of taking initiative, instead of blaming the powers that be.

Arre, why am I explaining his words, when they can speak for themselves so much better than I can!

So, here you are.

In his own words, here is the story of Srini’s 12km run:

“I ran my worst ever 12km run at the BNPEndurathon today inside Borivli National Park. It was also my best ever 12 km run.

Here is why: One by one, I picked up nearly 35+ kgs of plastic trash (left by tourists/locals/runners from previous years and this year) over 3.5 hours

Since the only run category at the BNPendurathon is 25kms, and I did only one loop (12.5 kms), I decided not to get a medal (obviously!)

But I am immensely happy and fulfilled that I left the 12 km trail inside Borivli National Park much better – for the animals and people.

If I had not done plogging (picking plastic trash while running) I could have finished the run in time and gotten a medal but then that became secondary priority when I saw so much convenience trash – chips packets, plastic water/soft drink bottles, single use plastic spoons.

I am aware of many debates around trash “it’s not my job”, & “why isn’t the Govt doing it?” etc., but I’m purely driven by two things:

1) lot of love & gratitude for the Borivli park & Mumbai

2) “What will I do about it?”

I’ve got no time for debates. I picked up trash because of gratitude.

Here’s the break up of plastic trash I picked up today inside Borivli park during the BNPendurathon run:

200+ chips namkeen packets

100+ single use plastic spoons

200+ PET water/soft drink bottles

100+ plastic carry bags

30+ alcohol bottles

100+ gutka and biscuit packets

During the run, I carried my own cup for water/tea at finish line and during travel I don’t buy water bottles but carry water+ use a kettle to boil water. I carried food in leaf & paper etc. That’s my commitment to not generating non bio-degradable waste. I try to walk the talk.

I really hope these dustbins inside Borivli National Park are cleared regularly and the trash is taken away, because I couldn’t carry all that plastic trash outside the park. In total, I cleared 6 bags worth today. But there is a lot more out there by the side of other roads

Srini, first of all, well done, thank you & let’s hope you have inspired other people to follow your example.

None of you needs me to interpret Srini’s words & actions – they speak eloquently for themselves – but one thing I especially liked is his reaction to people saying “it’s not my job.”

Oh, but it is.

It is EVERYONE’S job.

We are the ones who litter in the first place.

So we must damn well pick it up And stop littering.

There are no 2 ways about it.

We cannot sit around blaming other people. The garbage problem is w-a-y too big for that.

If you see trash, pick it up.

End of story.

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