From time to time I join run races, mostly because of friends’ insistence (read: peer pressure). Partly this was the reason why I ran in Jakarta Marathon on October 27th. The other part was because I wanted to accompany and support two friends who had never joined a race before. So I joined the 5K.
It wasn’t a daunting distance to me—5km is my regular distance, but I hadn’t expected the race to be well organised, so I was pleasantly surprised when they started on time.
Prior to the race, I was involved in a project that was mentally exhausting. I had to deal with people whose ethical judgments made me cringe, people who believe the end justifies the means. These are people who dismissed my questions or objections with, “Well, this is politics.”
These people made me even more cynical or, worse, sanctimonious. Either way it sucked the belief in the goodness of man away from me. And it tired the hell out of me. Then on the morning of the marathon day I chanced upon two stories.
This was the first one.
I hadn’t known about this program that allow a few runners to run side-by-side with blind persons for the 10K portion of the race. I had just finished running and was about leave the race when I saw this one running couple. My heart melted.
The second one I didn’t see it with my own eyes, but I learned about it later from a good friend named Luthfi. It is a story about a woman, Ibu Anna, who insisted on participating in the 10K on her wheelchair. Ibu Anna, who is fighting a serious disease, was initially refused by the race organizer, who did not feel confident that they could ensure her safety.
When Luthfi learned about this, she pledged to the organizer that she would take full responsibility of Ibu Anna’s safety by running alongside her throughout the race. She never let Ibu Anna out of her sight, but allowing her to finish her own race, 10 kilometers in one hour and 50 minutes.
Many people in the Jakarta Marathon finished strong, but a few finished noble.
I went with very little expectations of the Jakarta Marathon, but came back with my faith in humanity restored.
A version of this article has been published in Paramita’s blog http://paramitamohamad.com/
About Paramita Mohamad
Paramita is the human of three gorgeous cats who are collectively known as Trias Politicats. Currently, she endures working as a communication strategist, trying to save up enough money for her next venture called "The Bikini WaXXXing".