9 Feb 2012

Did I see light at the end of a tunnel or around me?

Volunteering as a guide runner for the visually impaired runners at the Hong Kong Blind Sports Association

In february 2010, I attempted my first full marathon at standard chartered Hong Kong. I did not know why I wanted to do it? Maybe a comeback from a long hiatus of not running ? Or did I just want to challenge my innerself?  Or would this be a life defining moment? As they say there are many instances during the 42.195 kms long journey when the tug of war between mind and body occurs. My run buddy Deepa and me had trained well, but what we were unprepared for was the intensity of the hills along the way. The course in 2010 had changed to what was recorded as the toughest route with major bridges ( stonecutters, Tsing Ma, Ting Kau) tunnels (Nam Wan , Cheung Tsing and the killer Western Harbour )  and flyovers (Connaught Road West , Marsh Road ). When we entered the notorious Western harbour tunnel, both of us hit “the wall” at around 32-33kms!. This tunnel is very long and lack of natural light and a feeling of claustrophobia set in – I asked myself, why am I doing this? My legs became heavy. Each movement of my limbs was painful, I had developed severe side stitches on my abdomen.Many runners had stopped, some were cramping badly, some had thrown up and lay on the sides, there was no water station along the tunnel and I had just sipped the last drop from my bottle- blissful, sweet and divine nectar tasted heavenly at that point! the bus to pick up the slow runners was just lingering along behind us.I immediately got into a run walk routine and looked right ahead and was hoping to see the light soon at the end!

Suddenly I noticed a few runners tagged on to a co-runner and charging along the course…they were saying “ Kai Ho! Kai Ho!”(  in Cantonese which meant- "keep going"). I noticed that they were visually impaired and were being guided by another runner with a tag and they were running really fast. Here I was searching for light at the end of that tunnel when the positive vibrations were all around me, encouraging and helped me finish that difficult stretch very strongly.It was such a humbling experience, words fail to express the emotions which I experienced at that point and how thankful I was to each them. The race finished. I got back into my routine. A year had passed. One fine day 3 months ago, through my friend, I was introduced to this awesome group of people. I volunteer with the group now as a guide runner on Tuesdays and Thursday evening at a local sports ground. Such a wonderful bunch of inspiring, dedicated and fun people to be around with .I enjoy participating in races with them.I learn a lot about putting others before self .I am happy and blessed to be a member of this beautiful family and thank god everyday for bringing them into my life.Its always nice to run for a cause and for someone else. It makes the "running" so much more worth it!

As I said before and I again repeat it “Some people come into your life by chance and for a reason, and then you thank god that they did”. The first full marathon was indeed a life changing experience for me personally.

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