You always remember your first time. My first full Marathon was during the month of January in Mumbai. I can’t gloat about how long it took, but a strong and successful finish amidst one of the best marathon atmospheres is something I will cherish till my last run and beyond. Really, there’s more than just spirit in Mumbai. It’s unfettered passion and genuine joie de vivre. Bands, lone musicians, families, communities, groups, expats and children. All of them celebrating the biggest running event in the country and taking immense pride as hosts to the same. Pride that translates to a running experience like no other. Kids offering water, oranges, biscuits, families cheering and encouraging, expat communities offering homemade refreshments and the zillions of voices from kids and adults alike calling your name and urging you to keep going. That kind of personalised encouragement from random folks who seem to care about you is the Indian soul at its kindest and hospitable best. It’s idealism that became real right in front of you. It’s when you believe we were one of the greatest countries at one point and are on our way to getting there all over again. The run itself became a by-product of the collective spirit. Maybe why, in spite of a lacklustre timing, I still finished strong and happy. Running my first full in Mumbai was a choice well made and something I will always recommended to those looking to find the right setting in their move up the running chain. Go on, give it a shot.