Wrote this report on my iPhone while making my way down to this year's Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon (Ultramaratón Internacional Caballo Blanco) in Urique, Chihuahua, Mexico
India, India, India.
Such an amazing journey it was to be. Thank you to my good friend Anand Anantharaman
who hosted my trip and made me an honorary member of his family and running community. Because of the success of the book Born to Run
in India, the character Barefoot Ted
is known and thankfully, from my personal experience, loved. Thank you for such a warm welcome!
In many ways India has been playing an important role in my life for all of my life. Vivid memories of Disney's Jungle Book
movie that I first saw in 1967 age 3 undoubtedly helped jump start my imagination's grasp of India as a place of wonder and mystery and beauty. As a young adult, intellectual and spiritual ideas birthed on Indian soil added richness and depth to my own unique path. And more recently I've gained a deeper appreciation of Indian brain power and economic and technological exuberance and its unique place in history and its cultural richness. India has been very good to me all of my life.
The first opportunity to travel to India came last year. I was to be part of the Navi Mumbai Marathon
in November 2011. I was selected as the Brand Ambassador
and was going to be part of this historical, record breaking event with 1000 barefoot runners in a race. Sadly, the event had to be cancelled at the last minute. I found myself with a ticket and nowhere to go. Instead of completely loosing the value of the airfare, I postponed the trip as far into the future as I could and randomly picking February 1-15. Turns out that was a good thing.
In January, Anand began to plan my visit. An excellent plan he created! Did you know it takes essentially 24 hours+ to fly from Seattle to Mumbai? That is a LONG time to spend on a plane for this monkey me!
I was met at the airport by Anand's driver holding a sign reading "Barefoot Ted". My plane had been 5 hours late! At 4am we finally arrived at Anand's place in Seawoods Estates, Navi Mumbai, a lovely place to stay, a mini paradise that I was able to use as my home base in India. I became a fully fledged Anantharaman family member for 2 weeks...and enjoyed every minute of it. Thank you!
India has left an indelible mark on me.
I experienced deep connections with
people and places while visiting several areas around Mumbai and participating in several barefoot running events, while visiting Pune and running barefoot through the university streets with a local running group, and while visiting Chennai, taking a train to Pondicherry and visiting Auroville
and speaking before the Auroville Marathon
and then running the half marathon barefoot, and while taking the train down to Rameswaram and visiting the temple and taking the 22 baths, and while jeeping out to Adam's Bridge (Rama Seta)
near the lost town of Dhanushkodi
Thank you India, my life will never be the same.