Gharib Rath, the train from Bangalore to Pondicherry on friday 12th February 2010. The concept of Gharib Rath is to make A/C travel for all affordable. Slightly costlier than 2nd Class Sleeper, but less priced than 3rd Class A/C. The entire train is air conditioned. But they charge Rs.25/- for the blankets & pillows. Makes sense.
6 of us colleagues, boarded the train @ Yeswantpur station. We spent quite a long time making fun of the other and having good laughs. The basic is that no one should take it offensively. Finally we decided to get some sleep. There were quite a lot of other runners also travelling in the same train.
Why were we travelling? To run @ Auroville Marathon. I was planning to do the full marathon. Next day morning @ 9:30am when the train reached Pondicherry there were buses from Auroville waiting to pick us up. At Visitors Center we had to wait for some time since we were early. Finally the organisers came to give us the bib’s and allot the dorm’s.
Auroville is a very huge and vast area. They got a water treatment plant, organic plantations, wind mill. Filled with tree cover is a respite from the heat. To know more about Auroville, click here.
Mitra dorm was allocated for Full Marathoners. It was very comfortable with lockers, bed’s, pillows & blankets. After nice shower we headed for lunch @ the canteen in Auroville Visitors Center.
Then I met Anita, Sandeep, Jacob, association started in marathons. Later my bro came in and we went for a drive. A quick dinner with Jacob & Co.
Feb 14th early in the morning 5:00am the Full Marathon was flagged off. We were provided with torch lights. And it was real cool at the time of the morning. But it was humid. The water points were not at standard spots and guys there did not know the kilometer mark. That was little sad.
The best part was there were guys on the cycle and at that time of morning. They had headlight and directed the runners on the correct path. The markings on the route were excellent of where to turn and where not to head into.
Slowly the sun started coming out and when I was completing the half way mark I was bathing on sweat. My shirt & shorts were drenched. After another km, I started to feel little lazy and started contemplating whether I should continue and finish the rest of 21.1kms or turn back. I could also feel pain behind my left knee as always. Finally I decided to stop and be relaxed. It was at the 25kms mark though. I walked almost 3-5kms back to Certitude, the Start & Finish point.
And again back to water point from where it was 6.5kms to the finish line. I came back to give company to my friend. With him I ran the 6.5kms except that last 200mts where I allowed him to run alone to glory.
I would go again to Auroville not for running but to spend time without doing any normal work.