It was about 4 pm on 24th March 2018, I was in my hotel room in Surat, making final preparations for my next run, my first night Marathon. A message in my school WhatsApp group got my attention. Rajesh, an old friend, had posted that his mother was scheduled to go through a heart surgery. While everyone was worried about how the surgery would go, his mother was all positive and said that soon she will be so fit, that she can actually run a marathon. I was deeply touched by the spirit of this lady and I immediately wrote back, “ I dedicate my night marathon to Rajesh’s mother, for her indomitable spirit”. 

The marathon turned out to be an unusually tough one for me. It was just my second ever marathon, so I was still getting used to running a distance of 42kms in less than 5 hours. Month of March in Surat is typically dry and despite the run being in the night, the temperature was in the mid thirties. Though the track was mostly flat except for a couple of inclines, it was not an easy run overall. But I distinctly remember, twice in the run, I felt like giving up, especially after my running buddy had given up after 21kms. But the fact that I was not running for myself, kept me going. I continued on to the finish line and completed the run in 4hr32min, a new personal best time.

Later in the year, when I got a chance to visit Mumbai, I went and met my friend’s mother, who had a successful transplant and was all fit and fine, and presented her with my winning medal. She was very pleased with my gesture and gave me blessings for many more successful runs.

Rajesh and me stayed in touch, but I had not heard from him for a while, when I saw his message in my WhatsApp on Jan 29, 2020. He was about to climb Mt Kilimanjaro, the tallest peak in Africa and was dedicating the trek to my parents. Unaware to him, my father was battling late stage Cancer and the message of his dedication was a huge morale boost for Dad. Dad’s eyes were wet when he read about Rajesh.

Dedicated dedications 1
Dedications have great strength. Mostly, dedications are announced after the event, after one has succeeded.Very rarely are tough challenges dedicated to someone BEFORE the attempt. The reason, probably, is the degree of uncertainty of completing the event. The marathon for me and more importantly the trek for Rajesh was a tough task. Anything can happen, that can derail our effort and make us quit. And it can be tough to disappoint someone else, apart from yourself, due to the failure. However, when we make the dedications in advance, it gives us that additional power, that confidence in me to make that extra effort to succeed. It makes us a lot more determined.

Dedications for someone NOT exactly close to you, has the additional advantage that strengthens our bond with the person, which was with my friend Rajesh, in this case. My initial act influenced him so much that after two years, he thought of my parents when he was to begin his 5895 meter trek of Mt Kilimanjaro.

Its advisable that when you do any run, a long trek, participate in any championship, any physical endurance act, dedicate it to SOMEONE. The act of dedication will give you the additional POWER to succeed and make your effort all the more worthwhile. As the line in the famous old Hindi movie song goes “Apne liye jiye to kya jiye ! Tu jee, ay Dil, zamane ke liye“. !

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Hetal Sonpal

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