Traffic Jams

Before you roll your eyes and say, “Not again. Not one more arti­cle about cars and traf­fic jams and law break­ing motor cyclists and bad roads and pot­holes” …this is not about vehic­u­lar traf­fic jams.

There are 8 days left for SCMM’s 11th edition…before some of you non-runners roll your eyes and say “Not again. Not one more arti­cle about run­ning”, remem­ber, “ek run­ning arti­cle, once a year, to banta hai”.

I don’t have the num­bers, but if last year was any indi­ca­tion, there should be about 5,000 full-marathon and about 15,000 odd half-marathon run­ners par­tic­i­pat­ing this year.

Most are Mum­bai­ites. And they need to train. And given the lack of large grounds and open spaces, most train­ing hap­pens on the roads, typ­i­cally, in the early morn­ings before sun­rise. In the win­ter months, when sun­rise is around 7.00, prac­tice runs often start at 5.00 or even ear­lier, given how well lit our main roads are.

One of the more pop­u­lar run­ning routes is the Worli Sea Face — Haji Ali — Ped­dar Rd — Bab­ul­nath — Marine Drive — Nari­man Point one. The Sun­day before New Year’s Eve (Dec 29th), 3 weeks before the 19th Jan­u­ary event, saw per­haps the largest turnout of run­ners on the roads, most doing a last but one long prac­tice run, some alone, many in groups.

In the last few years, run­ning in groups and with train­ers has become quite pop­u­lar in our city. Unfor­tu­nately in SoBo, all groups pretty much have to use the same run­ning routes.

I always run fac­ing the traf­fic and find it insane that most run with their back to the oncom­ing vehi­cles. That day, I started from Worli Sea Face around 5.15 AM with a few stray run­ners in both direc­tions. As I hit the Ped­dar Road incline, there was some­one run­ning towards me vir­tu­ally every minute or so. This con­tin­ued up to the Kemps Cor­ner fly­over, where the sin­gle­tons turned to pairs. To pass them, I would either have to run onto the road, or force the pairs to do so, but luck­ily the fly­over run is short, there were no speed­ing cars and there was no major incident.

Then I turned into Bab­ul­nath Road, and bang…hit a vir­tual wall of run­ners. There were at least 3 groups that had prob­a­bly started together on Marine Drive and in the dark, these groups were run­ning 3–4 together, as if this was already the Mum­bai Marathon, the road theirs, cleared of cars and trucks, noth­ing to fear from the vehi­cles that often careen by at crazy speeds at that time of the day. Seri­ously! 3–4 together, hog­ging more than 1/2 to 2/3rds of the road, forc­ing any­one com­ing from the oppo­site side to either side­step onto the pave­ment, or steer onto the mid­dle of the road!

I did what any sen­si­ble per­son would do. I raised my fore­arms in front of my head as shields and just ploughed through the run­ners’ traffic.

In a way this is all good. More run­ners, more peo­ple stay­ing fit and all quite good for all of humankind, etc., etc. But like with cars, run­ners too need to fol­low some eti­quette. And one of them is…do not run in trios or 4 together on a reg­u­lar road with traf­fic, espe­cially in the dark.

Hav­ing said this! All the best to those who are run­ning next Sun­day! Have a blast, enjoy your­self and for those who are still sit­ting on the fence…walk and have some fun. It is only once a year that you get to walk/run on the Bandra-Worli SeaLink anyway! 

12 Comments

  • H.L. Chulani wrote:

    Oh no– another blog on run­ning. Even once a year is one too many!

  • Bhuvana Ramsay wrote:

    Good luck for next Sun­day. Happy running.

  • Erik Ranschaert wrote:

    good run­ning next Sun­day Bhavin!!

  • V.Subramanian wrote:

    While run­ning in groups,a com­pet­i­tive spirit
    takes over the indi­vid­u­als with each in the group try­ing to out­run the other.In a bid to avoid this, some seem­ingy matured groups run together often not reals­ing the bredth of the space they run or the incon­ve­nience thay cause to oth­ers. It is the frever and jest that takes over, much like the devo­tees throng­ing to get a glimpse of their favourite diety on an aus­pi­cious day or time.Care has to be taken dur­ing the trial or prac­tice runs.

  • Jayesh Desai wrote:

    We have this national char­ac­ter­is­tic of not look­ing beyond our noses. So Matheran with plas­tics, we throw things car win­dows, we push in tem­ple, buses and trains. I Me and Mine is our motto so noth­ing sur­pris­ing here. Have a good marathon.

  • Jayesh Desai wrote:

    Sorry we lit­ter Matheran with plas­tics and throw things out of car windows.

  • What is this marathon for? what is the aim or effect on the citizens?

    Just pub­lic­ity and time pass.

  • Chen­nai just had its Main Marathon last Decem­ber. We did see a huge turn out, was told the sec­ond largest in India next to Mumbai.

    Post this event and many more such events in Chen­nai hap­pen­ing almost every alter­na­tive month, we have new groups mush­room­ing up at all parts of Chen­nai. I see Chen­nai is turn­ing fit with close to 20 dif­fer­ent loca­tion thou­sands are hav­ing their prac­tice run 3–4 days a week.

    We do see at times in Chen­nai Marina, Bezi beaches dur­ing week­ends we have such expe­ri­ences as explained in this blog.

    Happy Run­ning and Stay fit.
    Great to know that India is turn­ing fit with events like Marathons, Triathlons, Ultras, etc..

  • Bhavin Jankharia wrote:

    This is good. The more peo­ple run the bet­ter it is. I did the Chen­nai half last Aug.

  • Ajay Bhonsle wrote:

    Are all Marathons run on the road world­wide or this phe­nom­ena unique to India? What are sta­di­ums and play­grounds for? Train­ing on the road either with the traf­fic or against it are both bad ideas with the run­ner at the risk of being hit by a vehi­cle from behind or meet­ing a head­long col­li­sion. Yes! run­ning on the road (for a cause or oth­er­wise) brings mileage and is good publicity-besides being a good ‘time pass’ for the bystanders!!

  • Rohit Gosalia wrote:

    1. Let any one say any­thing — min­imu 1 arti­cle banta hi hai — in fact One more also needed to motivate.

    2. It is sur­pris­ing to learn igno­rance of our read­ers. Marathon in India is at infancy stage. Mum­bai is some what at inter­na­tional level. At New York Full Marathon attracts almost 100000 appli­ca­tions and only 40000 get chance. Half Marathon is sep­a­rate event with even more appli­ca­tions. All over world it is on road includ­ing Olympics. When you read questions/comments like this — we know why India is unable to progress in the world of Sports / Ath­let­ics. We are decades behind. Bhavin you are doing a great job — just ignore all neg­a­tive responses — because they are in real sense igno­rant and deserve pity more than any­thing else.

  • Ajay Bhonsle wrote:

    What I meant was-TRAINING for Marathons on the roads, as this is done along with vehic­u­lar traf­fic while an actual Marathon is run with the vehic­u­lar traf­fic diverted to other roads and the Marathon route kept clear (pos­si­bly with escorts accom­pa­ny­ing on bikes etc). Although there is noth­ing wrong in it, spon­sor­ship of such events is plain & sim­ple pub­lic­ity for the spon­sor and men­tion­ing this fact can­not be called a neg­a­tive comment!

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