I signed up and ran the Mumbai half marathon in 2020 one year ago today. Our plan was to land a day before the race in order to get my race bib and get some rest before the race. My adventure started in Minneapolis, then a short layer in New York and a direct flight to Mumbai. We would land at 10:30 at night and it would give us two nights to get acclimated and ready for the race. When we checked in at the desk in Minneapolis we had to show our Indian VISA and make sure we are all ready to land the next day. I felt encouraged and excited as we boarded our flight from Minneapolis to JFK.
New York City
After landing in New York and waiting a couple of hours, we were ready to board our flight. We presented our passports again and now we had a problem. The gate agent said we need three concurrent blank pages. Problem: I had blank pages but I needed three consecutive pages without anything on them!
At 10 pm we have to get to our hotel, go to sleep and find a passport office for the next morning. Not only did we need to get in line since we didn’t have an appointment, but I also needed a picture.
We woke up at 4 am and got an Uber into the City from JFK. We made it to the passport office by 5 am, and we were the 8th person in line. I went off to find a 24-hour passport photo center as Susan held my place. CVS was open and took photos, but they had a broken camera. I suggested using my phone, and that is what we did; after 30 minutes headed back to Susan with my new passport photos.
January in New York is freezing. We bought coats at the airport but didn’t have a hat or gloves. (It was 25f and windy). I was able to get a fashionable pair of gloves for Susan and me and two fancy hats that sort of kept us warm. I met Susan back in line and soon got to know all the people in our little group. Everyone told a story about the adventure to get here.
I did end up getting my passport, and I did make my flight that next day. The problem; I land at 10:30 pm, then get through immigration and to a hotel. When I got to the immigration desk, I presented both my passports, and I had a problem. My Visa was in my old passport, which references my new valid passport’s wrong passport number. I waited for an hour at the desk to have a supervisor come and approve my entry. (I was very nervous!) Now we only had to find an Uber and get to our hotel.
I arranged for my friend to collect my bib at the Expo the night before. I planned to wake up at 3 am, Uber to the start line, meet my running friends and give me my Bib. This would give me 2 hours of sleep, but at that point, I didn’t think it really mattered. It was more about the adventure!
4 am came quickly the morning of the race, and I was up and down to the lobby. firstly, I met Capt Sangwan, who was also running the race. I then learned he lost a leg in a border conflict in the ’90s and now runs marathons. Finally, we had a very nice chat and agreed to share an Uber to the start line. (See photo on the left). Now I only had to find my friends amongst the 15,000 runners, get my bib and get to the start line by 5:30.
WhatsApp to the rescue!
We needed to find each other; therefore, the next step was to share our live locations, and within 20 minutes we had found each other. Now, most importantly, I had to do is get my bib and run the race.
My only goal for this race was to finish in under two hours. This seemed reasonable, and I was doing great. My last couple of miles proved difficult, but I did pull through with a successful adventure. In conclusion, I loved the adventure and the race.
My final time was 1:57 and we would end up running another race before leaving India in 2020. It was a grand adventure and something I will remember for a long time!
My last little adventure included getting on the local train and taking it to Santa Cruz then collecting an Uber to my hotel. The finish area was closed and nearly impossible to find an Uber. The local train was quite the adventure and I surely had lots of odd stares from the passengers with this large white guy with his race medal.