About 3 years back I had participated in a half marathon event. I was eager to show the world that an overweight and completely out of shape guy with an almost broken back (ills of debilitating disc degeneration) can run the entire stretch without any practice. I know what you folks are thinking right now! "Here's a wacko on the threshold of full blown madness". Maybe! But I was determined.

It started well. I ran the initial 3 Kms humming the "Chariots of Fire" signature tune, smiling and egging people on like a true HR practitioner. But soon afterwards I was left alone, except for a very old man who was behind me by a few 100 metres. When I touched 7th kilometer, the old man overtook me. While passing he looked at me and gave a wry smile. I was almost on the verge of strangling him with my bandana. From then on it was a road to perdition. I didn't know whether I was walking or running. I became delirious and delusional for a moment thought I saw "Salma Hayek" near the water station (where they supply water for the runners). But she was no "Hayek" and told me to take a hike. Past 12 Kms I was walking like a drunkard. It appeared as if my wriggly wobbly legs had brains of its own!

Then it happened! An ambulance (plying for runners safety) stopped near me like a god send messiah. I got into it and collapsed. I was dropped at the finishing point and the robotic crampy walk from there to my car seemed like eternity.

On the way I saw the old man happily devouring his breakfast with the race completion medal bedecked on his neck. For a moment I thought of diverting his attention and stealing his "ladoo" (an Indian bonne bouche) as a consolation prize. But I could only smile at him and give him the salute.

The lessons learned? It is always better to have short term goals! Know your limitations! If you try to ape others you obviously become one!


When I reached home my wife quizzed me about the medallion (she somehow knew about this!). I told her the organizers had run out of it by the time I finished the race. She then started to laugh uncontrollably.... obviously my story got busted!. That was the second time I had strong thoughts about putting my bandana to good use!

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