Well done to Indian women marathoners

The morning paper here in sunny (read HOT) Mumbai has some interesting facts and figures about marathons the world over, and how India fits in to it all.

Here you go:

What I find super interesting is that more women take part in marathons here in India than in 3 “developed”, European countries.

And even more interesting, though it doesn’t directly concern India, is that Spain, which records the fastest average finish time, has the lowest proportion of women runners.  Now how does that work?

Also, Europe has a lower female participation than Asia.  Unexpected.

BUT, here is the $64,000 question – where are the African statistics in all this?

Why are there relatively fewer women running in Europe than in Asia?

But you know what, India?

Not bad.  Not bad at all.

Repeat after me: ”Do not panic, do not panic, do not…”

I sat down at my iPad, with the camera somehow left on, and will you just take a look at my view.


The Mumbai Marathon route in the morning paper, where obviously I left it, tossed aside in a bout of panicky “Oh my goodness me, what have I let myself in for?”

But panic will get me nowhere I fully realise, so let’s take a deep breath and see what’s changed since last year in this, India’s most iconic marathon.

Not too much for we full marathoners, it would appear.

Even the organisers describe the changes as “fag-end route” changes.

Quite frankly, for a rank amateur like yours very truly, the logistics of the last 700 metres are not my concern right now.  Covering the preceding 41.5km will be the challenge 😛

Glad there are loads of loos and water stations, and since I know that so many lovely Mumbaikers will be out in strength, cheering us on, I guess I’m as set as I’m ever going to be.

Now what I need is lots of positive vibes, from all you lovely people.


Your marathon thought of the day

This time next week, it will all be over.
The 42.2km.
The nerves.
The exhaustion.
The tears – I always cry when I cross the finish line. Makes for hideous photos 😛

And there will no doubt be moments of anguish, along with those moments of triumph…

So yes – for anyone who is losing faith, just turn out on Sunday and watch us, as we totter and stagger, or sprint with joy across that finish line…

Behind every great sports photo…

…is a talented & dedicated photographer.

We all love those trophy photos, don’t we?

Those action shots, the photos showing us in action, in triumph, even, tellingly, sometimes in pain and exhaustion.

We shoot out a breezy “thanks” on Facebook, as we happily share the photo, making it our profile or our Instagram post that day.

Guilty as charged.

But there’s a lot of talent and unseen hard work and behind-the-scenes effort that goes into capturing our running moments, and so I thought I’d chat with one of Delhi’s best-known sports photographers, the young, talented Ajit Kumar Srivastava, aka Sports Photography in India, and see how things are from the other side of the camera lens.

Oh, & before I forget, here’s a link to Ajit’s Instagram handle.

Over lunch we chatted about this, that & t’other and I came away absolutely exhausted at the long list of accomplishments this young man has – he’s a professional graphic designer, he’s a trained artist with a special fondness for charcoal work, and, of course, Ajit is a professional sports photographer.

When I asked him how he manages to fit so much into a day, he replied, quite simply, “There are 24 hours, and 7 day in a week, and I work 24/7.”

Here are some excerpts from our conversation:

I am from Hazaribagh, a very small town in Jharkand.  Coming from such a small town, buying such heavy and expensive equipment, like a camera and lenses was a real struggle for me. But today I am a sports photographer and a graphic designer.  

How long have you been a professional photographer?

More than 6 Years.

And why sports photography?

Because I like emotions and actions & I am also a sportsperson.  (Oh, yes, add playing football to the list of things this young man manages to fit into a week!)

Ajit covers several sports – running, cycling, swimming, football and wrestling, and says that swimming & football are 2 of his favourites to photograph.

When I asked him what makes a good sports photo, the answer was crisp and to the point – “action, angles, and composition.”

I hope I’ve never taken any of our devoted sports photographers for granted…I think I always thank them for the photos they take.

But now I have even more respect for their work.

Because, as Ajit explained, once our “work” is done, once our race is run, he then has hours & hours of work ahead of him, editing & watermarking & uploading all the hundreds of images taken.

Thanks, my friend, for chatting and for taking us behind the scenes.

What’s on your running playlist? “DESI GIRLS”

A week to go till the Mumbai marathon, and so obviously I’m in nervous countdown mode.
Can’t really make up for all the non-training and the non-stretching and the non-yoga, at this late stage, now can I?

So I’ll tweak my playlist.

That’s constructive, right?

And so, in this spirit, I’ve just added this great song from the Bollywood movie “Dostana”.

Can’t think why it’s taken me this long to add this peppy number to the music that is, fingers crossed, going to power me across that finish line.

Here’s the link to the iTunes store, so you can download it, too.

I’m nice like that 😛

Oh yes! Your running thought of the day

This thought of the day resonates totally with me.

How about you?

I’ve given up trying to explain why I do what I do and love it so much.

Those 5.00 starts.

The early nights.

The missed parties, because of needing that early night.

Running in Delhi’s extreme temperatures.

So it’s good to know that I’m not alone.

“You’re here to live your life, not to make everyone understand”

Thanks, as ever, to the Instagram feed MonitortheBeat

Your running thought of the day

Since I am in uber-nervous marathon countdown, this kind of image totally resonates.

Only 10 days to the Mumbai full, people.

Only 10 days.

As long as I remember to remember the “anything is possible” mantra…

Wish me luck.  Loads of it!

And thanks to the Instagram feed of Monitorthebeat

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