Shyam Sunder shares his MRR – Bandra to NCPA experience………
Three years ago, when Swami of IRIS introduced me to MRR and Bandra-NCPA run, I didn’t realise that it was going to be an integral part of my training schedule. Initially, I did only a couple of these runs every year, but over the period I have found that there is some kind of magic that attracts runners like me from Navi Mumbai to come all the way to Bandra for these training runs. In fact, I am happy to say that I have not missed any single Bandra NCPA monthly run this year so far. What makes this training run click? First of all, it is a training run, that tries to simulate the conditions of a HM race. At the same time, you run at your pace without the pressure of racing. Secondly, the route is a familiar terrain for all those who have done SCMM. On a Sunday, when the traffic is less, you can have a peaceful run along this well-known and enjoyable route that also includes running along the Worli and Chowpatty sea face. More than these, what strikes any newcomer to this run is the sincerity of the organisers (like Ram, Giles, and many others) and the dedication of volunteers, who help out at the water stations and photographers, who make every one of these runs memorable. You pay just 50 or 100 rupees and get this kind of service- and even sumptuous breakfast sometimes- whenever the run is powered by a sponsor. It is all the more remarkable, when we think of other running events, where the organisers fleece the participants to the tune of Rs.800 to Rs.1000 without providing any reasonable services. So, it makes even economic sense to ditch expensive outstation trips for marathons and choose Bandra NCPA runs instead. That is precisely, what I have been doing these days. I am impressed by the fact that this training run always starts on time- exactly at 5.30 am, whether there is sufficient quorum or not. Another important offshoot of coming to Bandra-NCPA runs is that we get to know the who’s who of Mumbai runners. Personally, I have had the good fortune to rub shoulders with some of the finest runners in this town and enjoy there comraderie. MRR tries to make this run a fun run. At the end of the run, there are always some surprises. May be it is a lottery to win an MRR tee or it is to honour some interesting running personality. I will always remember the day, when MRR surprised me and Amit Yadav (of Navi Mumbai) by offering us flower bouquets for our podium performance in the Thane Hiranandani HM. These are some of the interesting aspects of Bandra-NCPA organised by MRR that makes me canvass for it among runners in Navi Mumbai. This is precisely the reason, so many runners from distant places come all the way to be a part of this what I may call MRR – “Mumbai Runners( monthly) Ritual”. –