FIRST MARATHON EXPERIENCE – Tata Mumbai Marathon 2020

What a lovely experience it has been running for my first ever marathon! I’ve decided to share my first marathon experience at the Tata Mumbai Marathon 2020. 

I’ve been wanting to participate in the Mumbai Marathon for years, but it sat in my bucket list until this year. Every time I thought of going for a run, I would end up sleeping like a couch potato, watching some shows or movies. This time, when the registration dates were announced, I waited for the ninth hour but registered. I was running the Tata Mumbai Marathon 2020.


I visited the Tata Mumbai Marathon website to enroll for the Open 10km category. I specifically chose 10kms as I was training on Marine Drive (6kms) so running an additional 4kms needed little practice. To my surprise, the Open 10km registration shut. The 21kms and the full marathon were out of my capacity and I was left to register for the Dream Run – 5.9kms category.

What’s a Dream Run category

The Dream Run is a 5.9kms non-timed fun run. In the Dream Run category, one can express themselves with costumes, walk with groups share a thought-provoking message. For runners, one can associate themselves with a charity of their choice and run for a cause. While you won’t get a time certificate, you will be awarded a finishers’ medal.

How to register under the Dream Run category

Many charities are listed under the Dream Run category. After reading up about a charity of your choice, you should contact them directly to procure your bib. The respective charity will ask for payment of an amount (this figure varies). Once your payment is made on the official TMM website, share the details with the charity. This is important as it blocks available bibs for other participants. All communication regarding the marathon will be communicated by TMM organizers.

How did I register?

With my runners bib, a day before the marathon

After another slip to register for 10km run, I began looking out for charities that I could resonate with. While there are many charities listed, it’s ideal to back a charity that you’re closely associated with. I narrowed down on two charities – TATA (for cancer awareness) and The Foundation by Rahul Bose. While there were many bibs available with TATA, there was one left with The Foundation. I contacted them on a Sunday afternoon – calls and dropped them a message on Facebook for a quick response. Mentioning that it was my first marathon, and I managed to secure my bib with them.

Preparation for my first marathon

I’ve been a lazy head and didn’t workout/practice much before the big day. Since I’ve been running for 6kms, I took my body for granted and practiced 2-3 days before the main event. I shouldn’t have taken my body granted. I wouldn’t advise this for others. While speaking with my partner – my motivator, mentor, trainer, and guide, he asked me to do the following

A day before the marathon

  • Drink a lot of water
  • Rest well and don’t overexert your body
  • Eat regular food but don’t overeat
  • Go for a 1-hour walk to open up your limbs, muscles, etc
  • Pack your bag in the evening and sleep at 2100hrs

I also did my long-due eyebrows and upper lip 😛

Things I ate 2-3 hours before the marathon

  1. A bowl of muesli with almond milk
  2. 1 elaichi banana
  3. A cup of black coffee
  4. A small bar of mars (for energy)

The Dream Run Experience

CST Station at 7 AM

Upon reaching CST station at 0700hrs, I was welcomed by huge crowds holding placards and banners. While some groups wore t-shirts promoting their companies, charities, and schools; others dressed up in elements to promote their cause. E.g. a school child wore a costume of planet earth. The atmosphere was energetic and cheerful. Participants were eagerly waiting to kickstart the marathon.
Since it was my first attempt, I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do. So I decided to follow the crowd. That’s your best motivation and guide if you’re lost/confused or want to have fun.

Captured one of the participating NGOs at Marine Drive

Initially, I walked for about 200meters when I realized some participants were making their way through the larger groups. I followed them and began making my way to the finish line. On the way, volunteers distributed water bottles, and stalls were installed along the running track giving out energy drinks. It looked less like a marathon and more like a carnival, but that’s the fun of the marathon.

With my finishers’ medal

I finished up 5.9kms in 45mins. This is my personal best and received my finishers’ medal. I officially ticked off the first from my ‘to-do 2020 list’.

The way ahead

Motivated and watching runners from other categories along the running track, I’m motivated to run the 21kms in 2021. Is this a big leap, I’m not sure. Let’s see what lies ahead.


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