END OF 2016 GENEVA RACE
Like many, I closed 2016 by running the 39th Geneva race, popularly known as “Course de l’Escalade”. It was a cold day, rather night. Earlier I skirted the temptation to getaway to warmer lands. How could I skip my 22-year race? On Saturday 3 December temperature flickered around 3°C. To stay warm some 40,000 participants joyously ran one, two or three times round the undulating cobble-stoned streets of the old town.
Last year I took more than 42 minutes to complete the three rounds totaling 7.250 km. So I was degraded to run in the mixed category of all ages, females and males. The traditional cannon shot unleashed our category of 3000 runners, all rushing unstressed cordially and jovially to cross the electronic start line. I added 4 minutes to my last years’ time. Old age does not explain my slowing down. A good excuse can be that all except the front-runners encountered at least three jams in the first round; all trying to push through narrow spots.
Running over the final red-carpeted track I crossed the electronic finish-line with a number of my friends. Together we lined up to receive the souvenir prize, hot herbal tea, a banana, a bottle of water and finally a bun with Swiss chocolate. Of course as for every earlier year, exchanging our experiences has become a ritual. No souvenir T-shirt this time. I have at least a dozen from various earlier races.
Still sweating profusely I did not take off my wet shirt and leggings like most other finishers were rightly doing under the huge tent and putting on dry ones. I picked my small backpack and continued jogging through the thick crowd, collected my bike and cycled back home mostly uphill: a good end-of-the race recommended stretching.
“Where is your medal?” my 5-year old grandson demanded. “We don’t get medals for this race. In the morning you saw your sisters Anisha and Nitya run; but they did not get medals.” He looked at my collection of medals from other races suspended on the water tap, brought them down and arranged them on the floor to be photographed.