Any well-organised event will have a story or stories behind it . Let me lead you through a biker’s journey of the Coimbatore Marathon 2015. This is the 3rd consecutive year that we group of cyclists have worked closely with the CCF & Coimbatore Runners Association in ensuring that this event runs as smoothly as possible.
Our involvement starts weeks ahead wherein we get briefed on our duties pertaining to the marathon. The race director meets with us over a cup of tea and clarifies every minute detail. Once that is sorted ,we set a date for the recce of the route. This is done exactly as we would do on the day of the actual run in the wee hours of the morning ,the only difference being the traffic !
Last minute route changes had to be kept in mind. The 21km lead woman runner was my responsibility. She was the same person who I assisted last year. Imagine my surprise when she recognized me with a very happy “Good morning Ma’am , Yeppidi irrukareenga ?” .It was an unforgettable moment.
As we lead them past dimly lit streets and growling mongrels ,we need to concentrate on getting them to the finish line. At one point this would mean shouting ourselves hoarse to get the slower participants out of the way. That is the most challenging task of all ! All that is forgotten once the job is done successfully.
We prefer to ride on MTBs ( Mountain Terrain Bikes ) as these skim over any hidden pothole or dent. We had whistles around our neck this year. At one point the lead 21km men’s biker blew his whistle so hard that it actually came apart. During the last stage of the run the 10km and the 21km runners merge. The 10 k need to be kept to one side to allow the pros to run without hindrance. So for almost 4 kms we are shouting , “Sir , please move …Ma’am please move “…and in the last half a km that changes to MOVe… MOVE and then … “Thank you Sir/ Ma’am ” . It’s one hell of an adrenaline charged experience. We also keep a watch out for anyone who maybe hurt and always make sure we encourage the little runners along the way. It’s an emotional and a highly fulfilling task.
One of the most special moments this year , for us , was when the winner of the half marathon ,came back to thank his lead biker and shake his hand. That feeling of being there for one another is what the Coimbatore Marathon is all about.
It’s definitely a team effort in organising a marathon that leaves no stone unturned to ensure that the process from getting the required permission from the authorities , to bib collection , to final clean up after race day …it’s no small feat but I think these guys do it impeccably . By noon there are no signs of a marathon having taken place in the city… litter disposal and street cleaning are done straight away ! It has undoubtedly encouraged a whole lot of folk to re address their fitness levels
Looking forward to VCM 2016 !