Running in a wheel chair

By Jacqueline Colaco

The excitement about the forthcoming Bangalore Sunfeast 10k Marathon on 31st May is building up, and I don’t want to be left out - even though I can only hobble around now on my arthritic legs. So here am I, enrolled as a participant in the wheel chair event. I had my first experience of this last year,

when I had to be up and ready for our race which started at 6.30 a.m. We were about two dozen under the banner of The Association of People With Disability, lined up in our wheel chairs for the 4 k.m. race starting from Kanteerva Stadium . We were ‘wheeling’ for APD’s cause – one of the beneficiary organisations of the charity event. Some of us were self propelled, others like me had a pusher. I had run many a race at this venue during my student days, never dreaming I’d be back forty years later in a run of a ‘different’ kind ‘ and FOR A CAUSE!. I was here not only to raise pledges but also to make a statement that disability need not stop you from ‘running’ to achieve your purpose in life. Well back to the race. My enthusiastic young volunteer pusher and I were all set to go! And when we did, both of us realized what novices we were at the game. While our co-participants zoomed away, we went zig-zagging all over the place. My encounters with wheelchairs thus far had been limited to post operative trips down smooth hospital corridors, gently manouevured by expert attenders. My pusher was probably a first timer too, and therefore for me and for him, this ‘hard to control’ adventure began fairly traumatically. I had no intention of going flying out of the wheel chair (no seat belt here) through an accidental bump into a sidewalk. It was initially difficult though to convince my companion that I was not here to win the race, but only to take part in the game. My message did get through in a short while thank goodness, and thereafter the ride was smooth and enjoyable.

We had the road to ourselves as we wheeled along some decent ones (both rarely experienced in Bangalore); past the Museum, Chinnaswamy Stadium, Vidhana Soudha, through Cubbon Park and back to the Kanteer

va Stadium. The early morning walkers cheered us along our way, as I distributed to them my poem ‘Beatitudes of the Disabled’. I also gave my message to TV crews about the need for more awareness among our people that the disabled can be more productive in society’s mainstream. This can be made possible, I told them, if basic and better facilities of infrastructure like ramp access to buildings and disabled friendly roads and transport are provided. My message was well received and I hope is bearing some fruit.

After the event, I came away a tired but happy ‘ booby prize’ winner, having fulfilled my mission of spreading the vision of this wonderful organization The Association of People With Disability, located at 6th Cross Hutchins Road, Lingarapuram, Bangalore. Just visit there and you will be hooked to support it, as I was. To start, make your pledge to enter the marathon under the banner of APD in any of the four events on offer – 10k marathon, senior citizens run, majja maadi run, wheel chair race. You will for sure return a rejuvenated person! GET GOING!

For more photos logon to and click on Sunfest World 10K Bangalore. Jackie’s bib no. is 10779.