A decade long relationship with the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon (SCMM) – A dance related write-up.
In the days before I turned marathoner and classical dancer, I was a non-runner, Western dancer – Jazz and Hip Hop being my forte. Some time in 2006, as a dancer with Shiamak Davar’s Institute for the Performing Arts (SDIPA), a group of us dancers had registered for the 2007 edition of the SCMM under Victory Arts Foundation (VAF). VAF is a non-profit organisation started by Shiamak that provides a platform to physically and mentally challenged and underprivileged individuals, giving them opportunities to dance. In keeping with SDIPA’s motto of “Have feet, will dance”, the philosophy of VAF is “Have spirit, will triumph”. We had participated in the “Dream Run” category – a seven kilometer “fun run” distance that was more about celebrating a cause than following any real racing strategy. At that time I was clueless about the concept of a “route”. The instructor mentioned there would be dance involved, so I imagined a stage set up, and happily registered. The Bollywood movie Dhoom 2 was big that year, with Shiamak having choreographed the title song, so all of us were looking forward to the day and performing the famed choreography. All-in-all it was a great event, involving me walking-dancing my way to the finish line. I have preserved the waist pouch we received in the “goody bag” (that’s what they called the race kit), along with the bib. I don’t remember what else we got.
21st January is a significant day for me. It was dance that got me to a running event for the first time, that too of the magnitude of a Standard Chartered marathon event. The fun runs (read dance-walks) continued for a few years; my first official race was a half marathon in 2012 (I’ve been a “proper” runner for six years now), and in 2013 I ran my first full marathon (officially a “marathoner” since five years). Since the last six years, I have trained properly with thorough training strategies – nutrition, muscle building, endurance workouts, flexibility, core training – in keeping with my dance rehearsals and other sporting endeavors. There have been times when I have relied solely on dance practice and Muay Thai training to complete some runs (10k’s and half marathons are doable; this strategy is not ideal for full marathons, of course – one needs to log in the miles).
Standard Chartered is not associated with this particular city marathon any more; TATA took over from the 2018 edition. (It’s currently called TATA Mumbai Marathon – TMM). But I’m happy to have been a part of it when I could. Dance not only got me to running, but also through running. And now both, dance and running, are integral parts of my life.