21K – He doesn’t know what beach this is, but he feels he should know it. Since it’s an urban jungle, it is the first coastline and green trees he finally gets to see. The sea, well it smells putrid. Maybe it was just the ‘right place, wrong time’ sort of thing for the runner. The fine sand is getting into his shoes, but it doesn’t bother him. Though, the old women practicing their early morning Tai Chi seems to be exasperating him. Nature’s supposed to evoke emotions, but it’s not working for the runner.

25K – Just when all hope is lost and he’s thinking of walking, he finds himself a pacer, and he has a feeling he is hers too. They both swiftly gazed at each other psychically signally that this is mutual. Just when it was about to become uneventful, just when the smell of the foul sea (which oddly got a lot of people running!) was disappearing, the blond-haired runner becomes the unexpected pacer.

30K – He ran together with the pacer for 5 km now. They’re at the race circuit, and got to see the wall of fame of the F1 drivers. Each face showing a smug, a sign of triumph. Now that the sun was truly up, the hazardous heat was getting the better of the runner. But up ahead, lo and behold, a contraption that rained mist. “Thank the holy heavens!” he said. The runner playfully calls it the “Mist of Justice”. When you’ve run about 30K, you’d need to be that playful to get your spirits up and going.

35K – He knows the face of every runner, it’s familiar, it’s the face of hunger. He can hear their stomach rumble and grumble. He can hear them scream “raw chocolate cake!” He shushes his own. He hears that his pacer’s hungry too.

Food is getting closer.

40K – He now sees everything. Every runner’s here for a reason: to find strength, to overcome their demons, to find peace of mind, to earn redemption, to tempt insanity, to feel euphoria, to med back their hearts. He is here for those reasons too.

We’re almost there.

42K – Closing towards the finish line, he sprinted with the pacer. She ran faster, he ran faster. She swung her arms more emphatic, he swung his too. She stomped her feet louder, he stomped his too. So, the question finally looms, “who’s going to finish first?”

She did.

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