A Different Kind of Winning -- Deepti Nair

| Monday, October 26, 2015 | |
The second edition of Bengaluru Marathon saw a whopping 10,000+ runners. For some it was their debut half or full marathon and for some the number went into double digits. On October 17, 2015, Kanteerava Stadium was brimming with the enthusiasm and camaraderie of all types of runners — young, old, amateurs, and pros. Although some were aiming for a PB (personal best) and some were all out to have fun, the common goal of every runner was to finish strong. 

Those were the runners and I applaud their spirit. But it was the kind gestures all around me that stole the show. The people at the sidelines who were cheering nonstop were the good Samaritans. Every time a distraught, tired runner heard his or her name from the crowd, it brought an inexplicable spark in their eyes. It was beautiful to see how a cheer can act as an energy booster, a push to cross the finish line. 

Among the cheerers were a group of runners, individuals who stood out as an epitome of kindness. One of them was Pani Sir. Even after being unwell, with constant coughs and sneezes troubling him, he didn't leave a chance to pass on his infectious smile (pun intended :) to a struggling runner. His cheers were a breath of fresh air and electrolyte to everyone who knows him (I doubt if there's anyone in the running community who doesn't know him). I couldn't have been happier to have found him as a coach to start my running journey. Thank you, sir! 

If you're a runner or happen to know one too many, you'll agree that it's difficult to keep them away from running. Talk about itchy feet! That holds good for my husband too. He was disappointed that he was not in the race. But the disappointment was short lived, and I saw it fade away completely while he was cheering other runners on race day. And then the itchy feet took over! He started with pacing a friend and ended up helping four or five runners see it through, finish strong, and win their medals. He didn't win a medal in this race, but he sure won their hearts. To quote him "sometimes, winning hearts is more valuable and more precious than winning a medal." True that. 

These men are only a few of those I know who have won hearts and touched lives without realizing it. Kudos to everyone who came out early in the morning just to cheer friends, family, and strangers, and made a difference. There are no podium wins for them, but this was a different kind of winning.

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