Navrun-A unique concept by the Mumbai road runners which introduced a novel way of celebrating Navratri. 9 days, 9 colours and running 9 km every one of those 9 days was our runners way of basking in the festivities. 2015 was my first tryst with this novel concept and it was lots of fun, adorning those resplendent colours and sharing your updates on social media. Befriended quite a number of people in the process. Reminiscing the entire journey as I gear up for Navrun 3.0 this year. Thank you Bijay Nair. 
81 km in 9 days?? That sounded like running an ultra-marathon only difference being that this distance was spread over a generous 9 days. What was I thinking when I accepted this challenge by my runners group? Mumbai Road runners (MRR) the group with whom I run 21 km every 1st Sunday of the month, came up with this fun initiative called ‘Navrun’ during Navratri.
While several people fasted and did their religious rituals-the only religion we runners know and follow is running. So why not run 9 km for those 9 days wearing 9 different colour t shirts akin to Navratri? An interesting concept albeit a challenging one undoubtedly.
Being mostly a half marathoner, with only 1 full marathon to my credit, I was wondering how to go about this daunting task. But my mind was made up as I clicked on the ‘going’ button of the event page feeling determined to test my endurance levels.
My first step was to assemble the 9 different coloured T shirts prescribed for those 9 days. The second was to set up a running app and record the distance and time as a proof of the run. I also set up the photo grid app as each of the participant had to post their photo along with the distance everyday on the event page. The eve of Navratri had arrived. I could barely sleep just thinking about the excitement that was awaiting me for the next 9 days.
The first day dawned nice and bright pertaining to the colour of the day-red. This bright shade exuded energy and positivity which was displayed in my running form as I cracked 10 km in an hours’ time. Not a bad start at all. Day 1 of ‘Navran’ was completed successfully. Being someone who isn’t comfortable with selfies, the hardest part of this entire challenge was finding someone to take your picture post the run. But the humble request accompanied with a sweet smile worked wonders as people willingly obliged. I instantly uploaded the photo with my distance and time on the event page. It received a tremendous response which was completely unexpected and that’s probably what made it overwhelming.
Day 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 went by successfully and I had run 54 km so far. Each of these colours reflected the particular state of mind which influenced that particular day’s energy levels with regards to my run. Ink blue made me feel royal as I conquered the road feeling like a queen. Yellow made me feel as though I possessed the sun’s rays and my body felt like a grid harnessing solar power as my energy levels were spiked for some reason that particular day as I clocked 9 km in 53 mins. Green made me feel like one amidst nature basking in the glory of the environment and surroundings. Grey was a colour that reflected my mood to that of a sober one allowing that little imp of a self-doubt to creep into my brain for a short while only to be banished as I sported an orange T shirt the next day.
Everyday my posts would be received with encouragement and cheer from my friends. It was amazing how everyone shared your journey in their own special way, and encouraged you to complete this challenge with gusto. The last 3 days of Navran were left. By now energy levels for some reason were still high and the positive comments and feedback seemed to spike them up even more, giving some stiff competition to Gatorade and Enerzal.
The colour white on day 7 awakened my inner peace and incidentally its a colour I identify with as my name ‘Sweth’ indicates the same. Day 8 saw me in the ‘pink’ of health literally as I adorned a pink shirt during my strides. Day 9 depicted a lot of clarity in thought just like the clear skies on a spring money.  Clad in a blue t shirt, I finished the last stretch of Navrun successfully with a huge smile on my face.
Was it relief, joy, elation or a sense of accomplishment?? I couldn’t tell. Maybe a cocktail of all these emotions as I actually felt the runner’s high to an extent that could probably put 9 glasses of beer to shame.
Now the fun part of this entire journey was getting to see fellow runner participants post their photos, cheering and encouraging them to get through these 9 days. Most of them were veterans and seniors yet their enthusiasm levels were as contagious as that of a child’s. Deriving inspiration from such fun loving beings was one of the factors that kept me going during this festive season. Did I ever feel like giving up? Not once. I realized that once you set your goal, you sort of found your purpose even if it was for a short term, which makes you feel alive as you welcome each day with a new found zest. The runner in me continued to feel alive, despite the humidity levels and despite the fact that my work as a journalist doubled up with the number of personalities I had to interview that month. Each day was a challenge by itself but something in the air kept that positive spirit and the never say die attitude in me.
I realized that every stride was accompanied with the feeling of elation and these 9 days enabled me to discover why I enjoyed running so much. The free spirit in me thrived on this limitless bountiful journey that Navrun capitalised on, allowing me to actually embrace this beautiful gift called life. Do I feel drained? Far from it. In fact I now know what it is like to be on cloud 9!! And the journey continues….