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  • Writer's pictureLt Cdr Bijay Nair (R)

Abey Yeh Wala Hill Kisss ne Rakha Yahan Par - TUM bhi Naa....

“Abey yeh wala Hill kis ne rakha yahan par “ is the feeling you will get when you are running TUM , this hill they say is the hill where many Gods have used to step to heaven , haan yeh wohi hai ….wohi hai …. It is said Donald Trump got enlightment near the foothills of this mountain thats why he was pronouncing everything in a Godly style Vivekamundum , soochiin , Viraaat Cooooolie ……Saurav Ganguly was lucky he would have pronounced him as ………………

Kaun aisa hill rkahta hai at 48thkm for 50km race and at 33rd for 35 Km race . Last year too the same thought went through , but that’s the fun of being a runner . Test yourself.

Last year when I was told this is tougher than comrades hills , I was not ready to digest , but subsequently when I was running comrades in 2019 , I did realize yes , somewhere TUM is tougher . So as a marquee run , I had to run this for a shubh mangal savdhan as the first long run for comrades 2020.

Biggest challenge is to run short on sleep. I was sleep deprived . Naughty thoughts mat laao for sleep deprivation. We were stay put at a 5 star hotel called Sahyadri Kadamb …..we had 5 star chocolate there , kyunki aur kuch nahi tha . We reached start line around just in time . After meet and greet , the time was here to go meet the hills. I started along with Reji , Bobby and 6 hrs bus of Satish sir . Last year , had great experience running many long runs in this terrain . Idea was to run at steady pace of 151 HR , to walk the inclines and to literally slow down on waisa wala incline (jo baar baar aayega) .

First steep climb was at INS Shivaji , the Tiger Point and at some stage was like endless . Once you cross Airforce station you know the path ahead is rolling and is less on your quads. I could see many known and unknown face , every one was in deep thoughts on what lies ahead .

Kudos to the volunteers , they were helping all at water stations and aid stations . Once cloud 9 went by , I could see a flashing light appearing from the opposite direction , I saw the eventual podium guys , both of them inching closer to each other . Note , that I was at some 12kms and they were almost at 24th kms. I wonder yeh kissss mithii ke banne hai . I was running steady and HR was in zone . Around amby valley turning appeared to be nearer and could see 6hr bus just ahead , greeted Satish sir with our customary oho oho call .

From the return loop, the journey was me vs me with the me in me and meme (Nityananda bhai ki waani) . I realized one mistake of mine , the shoe was not meant for a 50k mixed terrain run . I could feel it hurting somewhere . I met many folks enroute , each of us encouraging each other and trust me that’s the beauty of running.

Around 28th km I saw a figure in dark , while in INS Shivaji during our academy days , we have heard many stories of this route , a story about a young beautiful damsel , clad in white and also about a old man who is challenged by one leg . As I saw behind , I could see I was alone on this patch and there were no runners ahead and no one behind and I could see a white cloth in distance and a person looking a bit standing on one leg …..fcuk …. My worst fear was to come true . Will they take me along and will I be the third person whose story will be narrated henceforth …..all thoughts going like a flash .I promised myself if I become Ghost I will come and stand here in future and will chase any one who walks . I mustered courage to go ahead ……fauji hun….but bhooto ke aage sabki phatthi hai . As I neared , to my surprise that imaginary beautiful girl turned out to be a volunteer , he was draped with in a white bedsheet , usko thandi lag rahi thi …. I was relieved at the same time was ruing my missed chance to meet Sunaina….and uncle John …. (bhooto ke naam hai ) . Other volunteer was leaning on one leg .

With bhootiya thought in my mind at around 32nd km , I could see an array of lights – head lamps , folks from 35 kms race were around this point waiting for their U turn . Now the real race commenced, first of the steep declines commenced from here . Roads were very bad and dangerous with stones, pebbles all strewn around . Roads and trails merged to form “Troad” . Path was uneven and it had to be treaded carefully and strategically. It was still pitch dark , being Amavasya Night . I was going good however a slight side stitch appeared. Next few kms were decline and even, most of my runs am strong in the last 10kms and I was knowing once I am within cutoff , I can take off from there , since I had run last year , I was knowing that the terrain was treacherous .

Around 35th km , met Reji and Suresh , both of them are champion runners . Here on 3 of us ran for 5kms till cutoff at 40th and we crossed in 5.04 well within cutoff of 5.20 .

It was time to take rest , meet and greet everyone . Next 10 kms me and reji ran , walked, suresh ran away to glory . I was sharing my experience of comrades with reji , since he will be running comrades this year . At one point we decided abh poora walk hi karna hai. Saw many runner friends running good and also saw a runner who was running on hills when rest of the world was tired and had given up . I earmarked him for Athi Vishist Ratna Puraskar .

Then came the 48th km wala hill, sadistic pleasure …………… I was trying to findout if anyone is running an inch , but I proved right and saw everyone only walking.

I was glad that I was not at all tired . Around 49th Km we started running again and finished with a strong sprint . I was strong and could have run few more kms , but hills are and will be much stronger , poora hilla diya .

Crossed the finish line along with reji in 6.42.13 , tears swelled up , no no …..not because I crossed , tears swelled up seeing no beer at the finish line ………….but yes coach Bobby was waiting for us at the finish line .

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