Tata Mumbai Marathon Pacer HM, 15th Jan 23 – The give back to the running community #belike

An apportunity grabbed with both my hands and legs. Marathon distance has not struck me yet but very well up for it. Until then, excelling at shorter distance pace is also a well groomed agenda on my mind. Had all the pleasure and sweet pain of being Half Marathon Pacer at one of the most renowned runs in the country – The Tata Mumbai Marathon that had come to life after a long gap due to reasons known well to all – Covid.

I have been running the shorter distance format at TMM and did attempt a full marathon too on my journey back in to running post the disc bulge recovery. But since then, it is just one thing on my mind i.e going that extra mile. Nevertheless, quite elated to be back in Mumbai and especially when you represent TMM as a official pacer, you tend to sign up to do all the heavy lifting to ensure your bus helps your fellow runners reach the finish line in the promised time and pictures below will exactly tell what it lead to – The Picture Purrfecct Gallery 

Btw, That’s Coach Kay and Kevin Periera 

And this wasn’t a wrap yet. The after party was due the very evening. But before we get paparazzin again, here’s how things unfolded to become the official pacer for the 2 hours bus at TMM 2023.

The obvious question from my well wishers that how I landed up in the limelight and all I could say is – Run the Ooty ULTRA and Bison Ultra and see the magic happen :). Thanks to Coach Kay for networking this unique opportunity to represent yourself and make people believe in achieving their beloved PBs ( personal best) on the D day. There is offcourse a process that follows for you to be chosen as a pacer which undoubtedly includes sharing your running profile and qualifying timings certificates and last but not the least , some heroic pictures of you and your running best :).

So what happens next? You get a nod from the officials of TMM that you made it to the cut and now you have to share a liner or two that goes on the wrist bands that the runners would wear on race day with the pacing strategy printed on it for easy reference. This helps develop a mindset among all who choose to run a sub 2 hour Half Marathon and they exactly know what they are signing up for. 
Now the wait for the official announcement of the pacers begin and in about time, you will see yourself on the website and also be lucky enough to be the poster buy on the BST busses and bus stops of Mumbai.


The ritual of creating pacer specific WhatsApp group is a thing that allows you to connect with runners who intend to run alongside you and achieve the results. The healthy banter on WhatsApp groups is yet another responsibility to have to taken on to answer queries or to just keep the adrenaline rush going among the participants. The obvious query from many was on how to make it to B section from sections that were scheduled to start later in the queue. That had me quizzed too and decided to be a bit flexible when it comes to the pacing strategy and see how the crowd responds on that very day. I opted to blend with the majority but still ensuring we hit the finish line at the 2 hour mark.
The BIB collection was different this time. With the added responsibility, we headed to the wall of pacers that advertised the buses and the wrist bands for runners to pick and tag along. An impromptu call by Asics to record a byte on how it feels to be a part of TMM 2023 and to be in Mumbai and how is it to be the official pacer at the event – The one word answer was –  Excited, Bling it ON , more words I guess. But yes, we were up for it like never before, me being a first timer at being a pacer, so yayy!!
By the way, I had to juggle a lot between work meetings and event catchup on the week day. It was quite tricky this time as the timeline were coinciding often and ended up taking calls during the shoot. Part of the game I suppose now. After all, it’s ones passion that keeps you going and positively influence s all aspects of life. So far so good 🤞.
Days pass by working from wherever you are and also catering to numerous queries in the pacing group as well as 1×1 chats kept me quite busy. TMM had scheduled BIB pickup for in station and out station runners in an attempt to make it a organized chaos. The vibe is quite overwhelming when you see a lot of familiar faces that have landed to leave a mark at the event. 
A 5:15am start time for Half Marathon, scheduled to reach atleast an hour before at the venue to avoid last minute rush and also to attend nature’s call :). I marched ahead to section B where I could see runners standing alongside to make sure they start the race with me and maintain the pace as per the strategy put forward. I saw many runners from second beyond B wanting to graduate to section B instead of catching up in the later stages of the run as they were confident enough to make it to the finish line in speculated time. 
To our surprise, Mumbai was a lot cooler this time. A short run few days ago had me grab the jacket to begin with till the humidity factor kicked in. The recce was targeted towards the infamous peddar road that was haunting the minds of many runners and wished to pace down the same at 13-14kms mark. A jolly run helped me understand the gravity of the situation but having the numerous elevation runs, it did not worry me much but managing the required pace for others to follow is something I chose to work on.

A quick coffee catchup at Javaphile post recce run

So here’s the pacing strategy put forward to the larger audience

The route

And me the man with the flag

By the way, thats section C behind me.
With the bong at 5:15am, the journey begins. A relatively slower start owing to the crowd and also wanting runners from other sections join the troop, I only geared up post 2-3kms to ensure we have handful to get the ball rolling.
A constant medium of communication was ON to keep the runners updated on the distance travelled, current pace and cheers to keep the josh high was an continued effort. This frequent checks on the pace to ensure we are well within the pace limit set was also a parallel thread within me that had me slow down at many instances. 
The much awaited sealink course was a initial highlight giving an opportunity to all to traverse it on foot which otherwise is only limited to vehicular traffic. 

The views from the sealink were indeed amazing and worth the wait we all had for this marathon to happen again after years of break. Guess the only event that allows you to grasp your very existence on this wonderful bridge.
That constant communication to keep the energies high among the runners continued as we approached the infamous peddar road. This road has a incline that makes runners worry when it comes to retaining the existing pace. This climb had me loose a handful of runners but I happened to catch up with the ones ahead who also targetted a finish of 2 hours. Little could be done by me on these inclines as it totally depends on the training, strength and conditioning followed by each runners that make them capable of overcoming this challenge at a given ease. But yes, as a pacer lessons learnt too when it comes to pacing at TMM 2023 to ensure inclines like peddar are tackled differently. 
The momentum had to be continued till the end and so did it, the surroundings got cheerful post sealink that we saw our beloved Mumbaikars on foot and on the route cheering, motivating and providing nutritional support to all the runners. The ambience, the vibe, no doubt can definitely give the onlookers the goosebumps and much needed motivation to become a participant in future events. Afterall, it’s the gentle push that is required to get someone out of the comfort zone. 
With just a few kms left to cross the finish line, the check on time elapsed was on a constant watch and could not be compromised no matter what. All the ups and downs that was handled to with some flexibility in pace to match the larger crowd was bound to call for a sprint at the end of the race. 
Glad that a few met their PBs ( Personal Best). The celebrations did the rounds with appreciation from the fellow runners and a sneak peak in to the VIP post run tent gives you quite a insight of who’s who that are a part this mega event. 

And guess what, the after party was yet to begin. 
At trident we gather, all the pacers from each category made it to the celebration and for a round of applause from the organisers and the officials.

And one with the brand ambassador Yohan Blake

And all that effort, team work, networking and offcourse some chaos management lead to yet another memorable journey as a runner and a cherished experience as a pacer at TATA Mumbai Marathon 2023. A well deserved curtain raiser for future prospects that I look forward to in the running community.

Until next time #nextbigwhat