A run in an Indian village

When I visit my factory I stay in a small village about 150 kilometers from Mumbai, India and run on a side road nearby. The road runs through small hamlets dotted by tribal families who engage in agriculture or work in nearby factories.

The monsoon has been rather erratic this year, and anyone living in India knows the awful weather that prevails in between spells of monsoon rain. It was a hot and humid morning when I started. I had planned on doing twelve kilometers.

After about eight kilometers, I was fairly miserable on account of the weather. It was one of the those days when I was running only to complete my mileage. Suddenly I noticed a crowd of young kids behind me laughing and imitating me running. I asked them to join me, and they did. They were all 8 to 12 years old, wearing sandals or barefoot.

They ran with an enthusiasm of a child given an unexpected monsoon holiday at school. It was pure joy, the sheer joy of running without any limitations. None of them was wearing a heart rate monitor, or a GPS watch. Most were barefoot or nearly so. I was pacing them and the only thing I said was they had to quit if they felt tired.

I ran the last four kilometers with them. They were sheer joy to watch, and their laughter made me forget the miserable muggy morning.

We finished the run with 5x100 meters small hill repeats. I was exhausted and running late.

This run was all about the simple joy of running. No gels or Gatorade were consumed or required. We ran by feel, not by a GPS and didn't give a damn about heart rates. All of us with the exception of me were either barefoot or near barefoot. No one pronated or supinated, we just ran for no particular reason - perhaps just to be human and experience our basic animal instincts.

Credits - would like to thank Sanjay Khatau for the authorization to reprint his story.

Since September 7, 2007 - © Aerostato, Seattle - All Rights Reserved.

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