An unexpected participant proved to be the game changer for the Baramati athletes participating in this year’s marathon race. The new participant took the organisers as well as spectators by complete surprise.
Not only was this participant a first timer in the contest, but also left all the “athletes” way behind within minutes of the “start” fire.
Everything about this winner was surprising. Let’s start with her age. She is 61. Yes! Now wait for more. She wore a traditional nauvari and ran barefoot.
And this was her maiden run.
No wonder then that Lata Bhagwan Kare was adjudged this year’s Fastest Marathon Runner.
The thing that caught everyone’s attention at the race was Kare’s dress -- the traditional nauvari. Secondly, she ran without shoes, and finally amused one and all when she defeated all the experienced and regular runners.
Kare is a resident of Pimpli, about 7 km from Baramati, and works as a farm labourer. She came to know about the competition from her relatives barely a few days ago.
Speaking to dna Kare said, “When I came to know about the competition, I decided to participate in the event. I gathered courage and informed my son that I wanted to run the Marathon. Initially, he gave me a weird look as in his opinion it was not possible, given my age. But I was determined, so he finally gave in.”
Before the event, Kare used to walk daily one kilometre in her village. “I used to go for morning walks daily, but I had never run. If I had even tried to run, people would have found it strange and they would have asked me uncomfortable questions,” Kare laughed.
Kare has been staying with her husband and a son in Pimpli for the past three years. She hails from Buldhana district and had migrated there for work.
When asked how she felt standing there on the start line, she said, “a little awkward, as all the other participants were staring at my dress. That also made me a little nervous. However, when the race began and I started overtaking them one by one, I gained my energy. While running I was talking to myself and telling that I want to win this race and I did it.”
She started her run with her slippers on. After a metres, one of her slipplers slipped out. She then left the other one too and continued running, which explains why she was barefoot.
Speaking to dna, organiser Sachin Satav said, “We never expected a participant like Kare to be the winner of the race. It was pleasant surprise. We were extremely happy while handing over the trophy to Kare.”
So? Will she participate in more such races? “I want to. But only god knows whether I remain as strong then as I am today.”