What is there to say about such a weekend. Sitting in the back of Gagan’s Swift I wish that we are all together. All five of us. Delhi comes sooner than expected. Reaching Gurgaon is agonizingly slow. Picking up the bib of yet another monsoon half-marathon. Shopping and eating in the mall. Spending precious time with my 13-year-old daughter. Eating the obligatory pasta before the race for dinner. Missing my wife before bed time.

Sunday morning early out of bed to eat breakfast. Some digestive problems and a bit of nausea. Not a big lineup, about 60 people. Delhi runners. Four of us from Chandigarh. Have to carry a tumbler because there are too few water points and you have to fill it up.

Stephan6The trail is up and down and uneven at places. A whole herd of cows engulf it in one place and evasive action means going wide around off the track. Twice some stray dogs want a taste, but the make-as-if-you-pick-up-a-stone technique works nicely. After the first 3k or so I pass the first runner and from then till the end I am pretty much on my own. (except for my Friend) Following the markings, pacing myself, wiping away the sweat, but getting drenched yet again.

Anandi1The Gurgaon skyline is quite impressive. No time to stop and take a picture, or is there? I see my daughter at the only point where that would be possible. We wave and keep running. She ends up winning the 11k run. It is interesting that my pride of her as my daughter overshadow my own win. She did it on two weeks of running and a lot of talent. I wish I could get fit that fast.

13924969_10154342653529098_7895846661960129007_nAt the finish line she and Jagteshvar  wait for me. 1:43:08. I cannot stop drinking water. I thank God for the race, that I can still run. The organizer, Rahul, thinks we are a bit mad to do this race at this time of year. It is a confirmed fact that runners on average rate quite low on the sanity scale.

I call my wife. She can hardly believe that we both won. “What did you get?”

“Nothing, just a medal.” But I have you…

The medal is a nice one with the date and the place and the memory engraved in silver. Later I get an email about a something that will come by courier. Can’t wait.

When Gagan arrives the sun is hot and we don’t hang around too long. One of his friends is there to see him – a runner himself preparing for a marathon. Runners are one big family.

After a shower we go to the second hand book market at Daryaganj. My daughter have probably already read more novels than I have. My arms become loaded and then overloaded with books. Driving around Connaught place (Gagan had me drop them at India Gate) we find Subway and another bookshop and finally pick up my colleagues. I drive us out of the city and Gagan drive us back to Chandigarh.

Treble (or Trouble if you want), our dog, prances around excitedly as if I have been gone a month.

“Pappa!” My 6-year-old son meeting me at the door. He is on his way out to play in the park with Hanna and the other little ladies. A long hug from my wife. And one from my eldest.

The best about going away is the coming back home.

Keep running