Running virtually for London marathon rocks! At a time when most significant events of our lives have turned virtual due to Coronavirus pandemic, the organisers of mega Marathon events have also allowed participants to partake in the marathon by running the same distance in the vicinity of their homes. The latest marathon event that saw the virtual participation of enthusiasts from different countries of the world including India was the London Marathon, the Indian Express reported.
A total of 43,000 runners participated in the London marathon from as many as 109 countries including seventy runners from the Indian cities such as Bengaluru and Mumbai. While many Indians ran on the high roads of their cities, many ran to and fro around the complex of their residential societies to cover a distance of about 42 km in the marathon.
In fact, Himanshu Sareen, a Mumbaikar who participated in his second virtual marathon in less than three weeks, told IE that he had planned to run on the 1 kilometre stretch in front of his apartment complex. However, due to rains and poor drainage in the city, he could only run to and fro on a 500 metre stretch.
Sareen, who has previously participated in all the major Marathon events around the world including Berlin, London, Boston, Tokyo and Antarctica said that running a virtual marathon in Mumbai was challenging and uncomfortable but immensely satisfying. He also said that retaining the self motivation at a time when the city is grappling badly with the pandemic was the true victory.
Reminiscing the crowd of people which assembled on the roads of London to cheer up the participants, Sareen said that the presence of his wife on the 500 metre stretch compensated for the absence of the crowd during the virtual marathon. While boosting the morale of her husband, his wife Shweta also ensured that Sareen did not lack the necessary hydration for completing the marathon.
However, some of the participants did actually succeed in experiencing the real thrill of a marathon. Harish Vasishta from Bengaluru joined four of his co-participants on a track prepared by a running group called Pacemakers. Developed around the scenic lake at Hesaraghatta, the 10 kilometre loop also had ample arrangements for hydration, nutrition, pace setters along with a dedicated photographer to shoot the event and make it live on Facebook. Vasishta told IE that he finished the marathon in 3 hours and 48 minutes which he found satisfying after a training of less than a month. He also said that the marathon turned out to be a very special one for him as his wife followed him in a car while the running group arranged the finishing tape for each of the participants.
More marathons coming up?
About five virtual international marathons are coming up in the next two weeks with Chicago being the first one. Most of the athletes and marathon runners were expecting the pandemic to peter out by September and October but as the spell of lethal virus continued unabated, the virtual marathon events had to be organised. While for some of them, the virtual marathons brought them a purpose, many felt that the virtual event fared nothing in comparison to the real marathon event.