As part of a ritual started off back in my college days, a trip to Goa was in order this December. Not just to be a beach bum but more to explore its lesser known locales. I chanced upon the Goa River Marathon one fine day and thought what a unique addition to the trip this will be! So I logged in, registered.
Over a 10 kilometer down hill and uphill route, across a river and onward to the beach, a route that took me around one of the few green stretches of Goa that was not open to exploring on foot, but for this day. I have to tell you, I am not much of a runner, more like a jogger, a slow one at that. So 10 kilometers can be a pretty long excursion, I am sure you will agree! Did I have a plan, a target time in which to complete the run you ask? Of course, not! Like Lao Tuz says, "A good traveller has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving."
|(l to r) My sister Yuktie Jhangiani, I and Girish Mallya, a photo op before the run with the ultra marathoner|
So I set off, half strolling, half brisk walking, taking to jogging only due to a nudge from down hill slopes. A friend's exasperated expression, "A run in Goa, you got to be kidding me!" brings a lazy grin to my face seeing as I am doing anything but running.
As I reach the tip of another hill, I see a group of men and women huffing and puffing in the opposite direction of the run. I try to reach out to them to say, "Hey you are heading in the wrong direction." Before I voice my concerns, one of the men ask a police man standing near by, "How far is the station? We will miss our train!" That's when I notice bags strapped to their backs, and hand bags being shuffled between the group. A mental calculation suggested we were a good three kilometres away. I nod in approval, "A valid and relevant reason to run, that, yes."
Another turn along the route and just as I began day dreaming again I notice something small and dark running towards me with such speed. No no it wasn't one of the super sprinters, they had whizzed pass a while back. My defense mechanism finally kicks in and I - yes - run! As I flew past the 6 kilometer mark the black shadowed creature ever reducing the distance between us, I saw him bend his head and flare his nostrils - a goat! I cry, a goat is attacking me!
"What did I do!" I cry! And I wont lie this tale is true!
Come to think of it now, I think it was a conspiracy to make me run, as with a little under two kilometres remaining, I ran for my life! From a goat, yes. I was later told the goat lost interest in the pursuit after spotting another unassuming innocent target. I wonder what it was I did that made him chase me so!
|The finish line, yes I ran here|
Enjoyed I did in that gorgeous weather, beautiful route, what with rolling hills, being fed with little treats of oranges, bananas and more (courtesy the gracious Goa Marathon Team) and fab encouragement at every kilometer. It wasn't much of a river run though, what with parts of it resembling a sewer, but leading it back to Biana beach was a super idea - with the cool waves just perfect for those tired feet.
Did I mention I was yelled at for being slow? "Its just 500 meters away, run, don't smile! yells a volunteer near the finish line. Ahh, the pleasures of leisure travel, what does he know.
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