Archive for the Category ◊ Sports ◊

• Thursday, March 01st, 2007
It may be easy to be a cricketer as you are one among 11 players in the game. You either contribute as batsmen or bowler and very rarely an all-rounder. You are only the part of the team success. Similarly, any team sport is not too difficult to be part of as every individual is just the part of the success.

Let’s take some individual sports like swimming, weight lifting, boxing or tennis. It may be little tough as you are playing in the play field alone by yourself, putting everything you have to win the competition or game. It is tough at times depending on the opponent and field you are playing. I am not under-estimating any sport so don’t go defensive on me. I know every sport has its own tough times. But speaking from my experience, out of all these sports there is one sport which takes a toll out of a person both physically and mentally.

It takes one extraordinary person to run a marathon (Triathlons are extreme) which is the one of the toughest sport in the earth today. Every marathoner has to battle blisters and blistering heat or freezing cold, extreme altitudes and draining humidity. This sport needs every bit of a person to be fully dedicated and committed in order your to accomplish success.
If you are still not convinced, let’s analyze some facts and do a comparison.

Sport – Time Played – Breaks -Effort

Cricket -3hrs -One session every 17overs(1 1/2 hrs) – Team Effort

Soccer- 45mins -one session every(45 mins) – Team Effort

Tennis- 2to3 hrs max – every 5 games(15-30mins)- Full Effort

Swimming- 10to30mins max – no break – Full Effort

200 meters Run – 4-5mins -no break – Full Effort

Marathon – 2to3hrs – no break- Full Effort

Above all Marathon stands out as the sole sport which doesn’t have any break and need your full effort for minimum 2-3 hrs if you are an average runner. If you take a break, you can’t win. You can take a break but you won’t be there on the finish line on time.

Rosalynn Carter once said, You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through.”This quotes suits well for this sport. Without your confidence throughout the run, it’s tough to run a marathon. You have to battle against your mind and heart. Mind will say "why are you running too long and hard, your legs are already hurting so just stop it". You heart will say, "You are going to achieve something good so just keep running. Only think about the finish line". It’s a constant struggle and the person has to divert the mind all the way to the finish line since you are on your own. It’s not a game to be entertained; it’s a lonely sport to be conquered.

To Run a marathon which is a distance of 26.2 miles = 34.5 km with a clean and steady phase, it needs total commitment, vigorous practice, Persistence and Perseverance. Without all to these, it’s hard to imagine running one. Because this sport needs total unprecedented amount of effort from a person, not many people seems to be interested and not very popular among ordinary people in India.

When I searched Google or any search engine for "Marathons India", I can easily count them in figures. First, it all seems to have started only few years (5-7 years) ago. Secondly it only happens in metro cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, and Kolkata & Delhi for more advertisement and sponsorships to make money. Finally, only 20% of them finish them. Let’s look at the Mumbai marathon which just completed last Jan 21st, 2007. If you look closely at Indian finishers, they are either from Indian Army or Navy or national Olympic runners.

If you search "Marathon USA", you will see every other city hosts the Marathons as per their weather conditions. Also the finishers are way more than 75% out of more than 15,000 participants. Among them a very good percentage 60-70% are ordinary individuals.

Our people are immediately ready to defend us saying that we don’t have proper coaches, no good training facilities like USA and try to cover-up the actual fact that there are no volunteers strong enough to take up the challenge offered by this tough sport.

I like to tell a naked truth. Atleast 1 out of 3 top finishers in all marathons taking place all over the world are either from Kenya or Ethiopia. These people are from real poor countries which doesn’t even have enough everyday food and shelter. I don’t think they have facilities to train and actually most of the people are under poverty line. How come they can do it? Because of their poverty level, they don’t have transportation facilities and have to run or walk at least 7-10 miles every day to go to their schools from the child age. Since they been running barefoot every day under hot sun, their body is tuned to take on tough sport. Once they get sponsorships, they train well and participate in big marathons and take away big prizes like $15,000 to their home.

It’s good that marathons are slowly getting popular in India but the fact is not many finishers and they are giving up in the middle. There are committing themselves to run full one. If there is not many finishers, then the marathon is a total failure. There are many reasons to it. The important reason being awareness among people about marathons. They just run for the sake of it. Also people have wrong perception that Marathons can’t be run easily and it’s tough to do it. That may be true but if a person train him properly either from the teen age or from 20’s it’s really possible to win. If you don’t have to run to win, you can at least complete reasonably which is a great accomplishment. It’s also doesn’t need special facilities or special equipment. It only needs you and your commitment and will power with some good pair of shoes. That all it needs.

I believe that nothing is impossible under the sun and above the earth. The word impossible itself says I’M POSSIBLE.

I am not just a critic like some newspaper Journalist who can just write about anything. I am just a optimistic and practical person. I also want to do justice to my readers. For my part I have done couple of half marathons and a marathon. I am going to talk more about how to run marathons and also revealing a most astonishing story about a 4year who ran long runs and marathons. If he can do it, you can do it too 🙂
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