After the wonderful time at Prabalgad and Matheran I skipped the Nio Run in Pune as planned. Felt it was a bit too soon and decided to have fun with friends at the final IDBI Federal Promo Run at Thane instead 😊. Now it was time to gear up for the Durshet HM. Had already heard it was another tough though beautiful route and looked forward to enjoying the serene scenic beauty.
My family decided to join me yet again with the Father-Daughter Duo registering for the 5k. We set off on Saturday itself and reached the Durshet Forest Lodge for Bib Collection. It was nice to see Dolly Dsouza and Ganesh Bhagwat as they arrived at the same time. Salaj, Pradeep and Shalini were gonna come down directly on Sunday morning.
Bibs duly collected, after snacking on Bhel and Chai we took off for Hotel Cafe Sagar in Khopoli about half hour from the Venue. The next morning we arrived just in time for me to get off and locate my friends while Hubby and Kiddo found parking and came in later. Within minutes it was time for flag off as we all assembled at the Starting Line for the quintessential Selfie. At precisely 7 we were off whooping and waving as we ran together down the slope out of the gates 😀.
After the first kilometre on the road, we took a right turn and ran inside towards the village making our way forward. It was really humid with absolutely no signs of Rain and we started picking up water from the beginning itself. In fact Salaj was a bit disheartened when he got Frooti at the Water Station at the 3rd Kilometer. Running comfortably ahead chitchatting, waving and smiling I teased Salaj as he posed for the Flying Drone J. Thrilled at the sight of Enerzal at the 4th Kilometer we literally grabbed it along with water 😌.
A little further along we passed by the River where some women were washing clothes. Soon enough we crossed the 10k U-turn and moved forward crossing the bridge shouting out and cheering the fast runners running back after our first U-turn. Energized we moved together climbing up the Rocky uphill portion as we quickly turned back to descend strongly. I moved a bit ahead running along with Rajesh Mallya from Malad. He told me he had just done the Bangalore FM the previous weekend and was taking it easy today. The only reason he was running slowly along with me 😛.
He decided to slow down further after a bit and I moved ahead hoping for Salaj to catch up soon. I was enjoying the lush green surroundings despite the sultry weather with absolutely no signs of rain. It was fun running to the rhythm of the musical Cicadas in the Forest 😊. I kept looking out towards the Cloud covered Forest ahead as I ran past catching a glimpse of the cascading waterfalls in the hills. Making my way carefully through the slushy patch ahead I ran on waving at the Physios and high fiving Kiran Chaturvedi as I went.
Drinking and pouring water on my head I ran forward cheering and shouting out as Speedsters Manoj Rane, Amit Yadav, Amit Kumar et all passed by. Further ahead met Sayuri Dalvi who told me it was just 500m for the U-turn. Grinning and cheering her I moved on meeting Sunil Lahigude as he descended down. Walking a bit on the steep climb I picked up water again as I ran down after the final U-turn. Spotting Salaj I shouted at him to come quickly to join me.
I moved on running cheerfully spotting a walking Paddy going up the Incline. Further on near the Slushy patch encouraging other Runners I made my way back. Spotting Kiran I jokingly told her to join me and later shouted in full filmy style “Mujhe chodke mat jaao” as she passed by in the Support Vehicle 😝.
Further ahead as I ran through the Village was greeted by Loud Applause as a group of small kids cheered for us 😃. Crossing the 10k turnabout Sign I ran past the river waving to toddlers sitting near the Well. Feeling strong I ran ahead grinning at the sight of a Runner Mom glaring and telling some Runner kids and adults to get out of the water and head back. Overtaking a few runners I ran further smiling at the photographers and thanking the volunteers as I went.
Soon enough I reached the final 250m before I hit the road. With just another kilometre or so to go I felt charged passing some more runners and volunteers manning the Traffic. Quickly I turned inside the gates of Durshet Forest Lodge running up the final ascent just in time to join my daughter posing along with a bunch of Elite Runners as Hubby Dearest clicked us 🤗.
Though she didn’t enjoy this Route as much as Matheran and wasn’t in a mood to run Kiddo had stood Third in kids and unexpectedly won a Plaque stating “I’m a fast runner too.” 😎. So proud of her. I managed to finish in 2:09:49 and stood Second in Girls Open Category. Already looking forward to more masti at Stone Ridge Valley at Nashik.