SCMM – The Big Day is nearly here…
SCMM (Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon), the baap of marathons, carries an undeniable aura within the running community across India.
In the runners’ parallel universe anyone who doesn’t run the SCMM is, if not a pariah, a lesser or unfortunate mortal. This writer has been a regular SCMMer since the 2010 edition.
Months before Race Day, Runners go through a unique experience and that’s what this blog is all about.
Veteran marathoner and celebrity runner Giles Drego from Mumbai says “each year the chronology of events unfolds in a predictable pattern. In all my years of running, mentoring and coaching I have seen none of the recreational runners escape this sequence”
In May, running related social media groups are busy speculating and rumoring the SCMM registration opening date. No one knows exactly but what’s the harm in guessing away, eh?
In June, there is a mad frenzy to get a qualification. Which past events certificates are recognized, which ones aren’t – Delhi? Satara? Some obscure run in my suburb? No? Oof!
The been-there-done-that-got-the-tshirt brigade have no hiccups. Their past SCMM certificates almost guarantees entry confirmation. The less fortunate ones without the qualifying certificates sulk and retreat promising to come back the following year armed with the necessary credentials.
July is when registrations actually open leading to an immediate online stampede. More often than not, the website nearly falls over and crashes. Half marathon registrations are filled up in no time. Full marathon is still a distant dream for many so the traffic there is endurable. Registration done so no holding back now. Teer kamaan se nikal chuka hain!
“This is when runners start googling around for training plans and seeking out coaches. Not serious, just curious”, says Giles.
Low Key Training
August is a relatively quiet running month with the monsoon at its peak and a few holidays thrown in for good measure. Some of us amuse ourselves with monsoon specific events but that’s it. Nothing too serious.
Come September and the monsoon clouds begin their retreat and SCMM training starts in a drip. A few short runs a week and a slightly longer one over the weekend.
Ganesh Utsav goes by and so does Dussehra. Now is when most runners talk of their grand targets and training plans but that’s mostly gas and we know it.
Diwali festivities are the turning point. We celebrate wildly, gorge on the fine sweets and take a good long break from running. Only to return to the mirror and weigh scale to a rather unflattering sight. Ouch!
C’mon, ab serious ho jao
The post-Diwali guilt syndrome jolts us into action and the theoretical training plan transforms into a tangible action oriented movement.
Diet is now under control, the weekday runs are done regularly, the long runs are really l.o.o.o.o.n.g.
Consequently, family life, social life and productivity at work is at its yearly worst. Sleep suffers too. This is the real deal!
This is also the mass matchmaking phase when tiny sub-groups are formed as each runner tries to identify precisely compatible partners – pace wise, strategy wise.
All this culminates into the climactic longest run in the last week of December. We run like crazy while the world is intoxicated in revelry welcoming a new year.
Longest run out of the way, dice has been rolled. Hard work is now behind us. Time to enjoy the fruits of our labor.
Mera kya hoga Kaaliya!
January arrives and taper time begins. An uneasy emptiness sets into our lives. We find ourselves itching for action but having to hold back. The science of running has ordained that over-training during taper is disastrous. Each morning sees an effort to reign ourselves in.
Expo day releases the butterflies in the stomach. Before you know it the butterflies have metamorphosed into crabs and snakes and are wandering freely through the entire digestive system.
All our efforts of the last few months will bear fruit (or maybe not, Oh no!) in this week.
“Some nervous runners yakking away, others quiet as a tombstone, most with sweaty palms on a chilly winter morning, nearly everybody glancing at their fancy GPS watches waiting for the flag-off….the scene at the SCMM starting line is always one to behold” signs off Giles, laughingly.
I get nervous when I don’t get nervous. If I’m nervous I know I’m going to have a good show – Beyonce Knowles
Can’t wait to see what 17th Jan 2016 has in store for us. SCMM 2016, BRING IT ON!
Race Day performance no guarantee but a post-event blog sure is.
Sudhindra Haribhat is a regular marathon runner and one of the founder members of PUNE RUNNING. He can be reached at email@example.com