Journal & Reflection
- Category: Activity, Service
- Total Duration: 4 hours
During our Summer Vacation, my friend Hrithish and I decided to participate in “End Child Labour (ECL) Marathon” by running 5 km, to support the noble cause. This marathon was organised by National Child Labour Project (NCLP) – Coimbatore, to raise awareness on the global issue of child labour. There were two categories, one 10 km and the other 5 km. Both of us took part in the 5 km run. We personally wanted to support this event because when we heard about it, we realized how lucky and grateful we are. While we are fortunate enough to receive an all-rounded international education, it was truly saddening to know that children younger than us are forced to go for hard labour. This emotion was our driving motivation to take part in the event and support the social cause.
On that day, I had woken up at about 4:30 am early morning, and reached the venue at the scheduled time 5:30 am. Initially, I thought it would be a small event, but there were roughly about 500 participants taking part in the run. Music was blasted through huge speakers placed near the stage. After Hrithish and I found each other at the venue, we pinned our BIB numbers on our shirts. At around 6 am, there were a few MCs on the stage, calling participants to come forward to the stage. After most of us had gathered around the stage, the event began with a Zumba dance to warm – up before the run. We actively involved in the warm up, giggling to ourselves, following the steps of the Zumba dance.
After the warm up session, participants for the 10 km run were called to get ready. A horde of runners stood behind the starting line, anticipating for the sound of the horn. The run was flagged off by Coimbatore District collector Archana Patnik, and off they ran!! About 20 minutes later at 7:30, after another warm up session for 5 km participants, we were finally called to get ready too. As we stood behind the line, I could feel my heart throbbing faster. The anxiety and nervous feeling just before the run was indelible. The countdown then echoed in my ears: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… And here we go!! The sound of the horn and the flag off marked the start of our 5 km run.
In the beginning, I was casually running at a fast pace, not realising that 5 km was such a long distance. Although I had run 3 km before, I underestimated the endurance needed to complete 5 km. After just about 1 km, I started breathing from my mouth, panting for breath. My legs could feel the burn (fatigue) as I pushed myself to run. Hrithish could not keep up to my pace, so he was trailing behind. To my surprise, I could see children aged about 8 – 10 years running confidently ahead of me!! At the half way mark, we were given water bottles to replenish ourselves as we were running. By that time, I was so tired that even holding the water bottle was a burden.
Resilience and Endurance were imperative for anyone and everyone participating in the event. While running, many times I thought of stopping and resting for a while. But, enduring the pain, and showing resilience were the driving factors which allowed me to successfully complete the run. Especially during the last stretch of 200m, I had to overcome my exhaustion in order to speed up, as I could see many participants giving it their all during the final dash. When I finally reached the finish line, I felt like throwing up! (though I didn’t). I knew I had given my best, and I had completed 5 km within 22 minutes. The sense of satisfaction after completing the run is still unforgettable.
After the run, I was completely drained out: Exhaustion level was 100%. Luckily there were a few chairs for us to sit down and rest for a while. However, though the run had finished, the event wasn’t over yet. There were prizes distributed to those who had completed in the top 10, in both categories. After that, we enjoyed a spectacular gymnastic performance by a girl aged about 12. The MCs told us that she had won medals in Gymnastics across the world! Claps of appraisal followed after her performance. Then, we were utterly surprised when an octogenarian came up on stage, and shared his experience of running 10 km! It was mind – boggling to see a real life inspiration, who showed us that age is really just a number.
At 9 am, a few popular Radio Jockeys from Radio City – 91.1 FM (Coimbatore) came up the stage, introduced themselves and spoke about the event. It was a rare chance to see them in real life, as we only hear their voices through their radio broadcasts. Finally, there was a dance performance, and the event ended at around 9:30 am. Not only did I develop personal attributes such as perseverance and tenacity by running 5 km, I was also part of the social cause to raise awareness and to prevent child labour through this event.