Dear Family and Friends,
I confirmed it! The London Bridge is not falling down anymore, the Queen is still in her parlor eating bread and honey, and the Cat and the Fiddle do exist. Cat and Fiddle is actually a road in England that is famous for its scenic views of the Greater Manchester area. As I was traveling to London for the marathon I remembered all the English nursery rhymes I knew as a child and that kept us in awe of a faraway place.
I wasn’t so far away as I ran past Buckingham Palace and crossed the finish line last month. For me, the London marathon marks the last of the World Marathon Majors, which is a list of the largest and most renowned marathons in the world (Chicago, New York, Boston, Berlin, Tokyo, and London). I started running marathons in 2008 and since then the London marathon has always been on my list…
The London marathon was mostly a flat course. Similar to other marathons, the race course was lined up with different bands. This marathon also featured, Dhol2Dhol, a band of musicians who played the dhol, a double sided drum, popular in the Punjab region of India. The dhol players in their colorful outfits and turbans certainly brought a smile to my face. It made me realize how well the South Asian community has integrated into the local London community.
The spectators were amazing. One of my favorite things is to read signs held by the crowd. I saw my favorite one which read, ‘You are already running better than the Government.’ Regardless of which country you come from, I am sure everyone can smile when they read such a sign!
I was pleased to see many friends in the cheering crowds. As always, my good friend Catherine, who has cheered for me during many past marathons, was there. Seeing her face and the familiar faces of others made all the difference during tough times of the race. Another childhood friend and her husband made a sign in Swahili with our Tanzanian flag that read, ‘Kimbia Rupal Kimbia,’ which translates to ‘Run Rupal Run.’ I remember being in lots of pain and looking up briefly when I saw the Tanzanian flag. I was so fascinated by the flag that it took me a while to look at the faces of the people holding the sign. The friends were my very own, Swati and Serju along with their spouses, Shri and Binal. That instantly brought a smile to my face. The last person I saw on the race course was Rakhee, my cousin. Seeing her gave me that final boost of energy needed to head to the finish line.
Many times during the race I thought about my dear friend, Neelu Puri. I know she was with me throughout the race course, smiling and cheering loudly. During many tough times of the race when I prayed, I knew she was listening too!
While I was completely exhausted when I finished the race, my happy moment came when I was given the London marathon medal along with the World Marathon Majors medal. I can now say that my name (Rupal Ramesh Shah) is on their website and you can find it yourself: https://www.
Thank you to everyone that supported me along the way. To the family and friends who continuously encourage me to reach for the stars, this is just the beginning! I look forward to your continued support.
Yours in Running,
PS: Enjoy the attached pictures
Rupal R. Shah, MS, MPH
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA