Iyer Siva



Iyer Siva




9 mins

“Under the currently imposed lockdown, “AVID marathon runners can be successful ‘CO(A)VID’ runners*** too”, - (Covid19, a new word that we all have been made to come to terms with distress & grief since four months). Amidst the COVID19 pandemic when every sports activity is rescinded including the Olympics, is the above statement (1) an axiom or (2) a fallacy /mistaken belief or (3) a conjecture?.... (***COVID Runner = Containment Oriented Virtual & In-home Detained Runner)…

If it is an ‘axiom’, its argument and all its premises must be true, while any formal error or ‘logical fallacy’ similarly invalidates the deductive guarantee ensured by the ‘axiom’ generally or at times even by the ‘conjecture’ too. (I used a term ‘logical fallacy’ here, despite it being self-contradictory, as the term ‘logic’ refers to valid reasoning whereas ‘fallacy’ is otherwise;  but, I used such a term just to stand by the above statement as it is true, in line with my view, as corroborated herein below and such special COVID runners are NOT “COVIDIOT” runners, as they won’t violate restrictions but, find ways to keep healthy within the ambit of lockdown rules. 

I have read somewhere, an article titled “The Sporting Spirit” by George Orwell, where he used a forceful one-liner –“Soccer is popular because stupidity is popular”; of late, since about a decade, endurance running had got onto the same path and had confronted many criticisms while growing-up leaps and bounds because the “stupidity” of running has become a well-recognized sport due to (i) a high degree of passion developed among such sports enthusiasts and equally (ii) focused thought of those runners who wished to remain in the fit-and-proper status of wellness gained momentum at a faster pace and adjudged as one of the best ways as well. Hence, there seems to be more COVID runners/ walkers present at this point in time, who will run past this lockdown.

I hope many of you might know what the well-known American Theoretical Physicist Freeman Dyson (who died 2 years back; was also a mathematician known for his work in quantum electrodynamics, solid-state physics, astronomy & nuclear engineering) had classified scientists into two kinds viz. (1) Birds and (2) Frogs. Some Scientists are birds who fly high to survey the broad canvas and make unexpected connections between multiple landscapes, while the frogs who prefer to be close to the ground, focussing on minute details. These two are NOT opposing trajectories but are complementary paths. If I attempt to draw a corollary to the COVID runners(refer to the acronym given above), the regular runners before lockdown, might fall under ‘birds’ category as they all were free to run around everywhere and make footprints every landscape around the world before lockdown,  whereas the current COVID runners as defined above, may fall into ‘frogs’ category as their domain of action is restricted in lockdown scenario and they are more like an internal ombudsman, as they have to regulate many rules within the restrictions imposed.

To me, being a marathon runner, “ the currency of partial to full LOCKDOWN state across about 200 countries, a perforce and the most inevitable action imposed due to the ever potential invisible infectious race organizer - nicknamed ‘COVID19’- as understood by a sensible large section of the society, has made everyone across the globe (a) to mandatorily disengage from outer physical contacts save & except internet to remain connected within their home ONLY but (b) to suffer from a sort of ‘untouchability’ (otherwise called by the new term ‘social distancing’) in their very own homes and even against their very OWN near and dear ones. Therefore, this ‘lockdown’ permeates our thinking that this new rule of “stay @ home” is more focused to test our tenacity to ‘run past’ this lockdown - of course for our own wellness.

Such stoppage of regular outer sports activities under lockdown might render a bleak reality but that does not mean despair alone would prevail, because such conditions would give rise to possibilities and potentials, and also alternatives and optimism among every player under its siege, as one can agreeably aver and witnessed by the huge amount of changes witnessed in pollution, oil consumption, availability of moving space to animals, usage of power, cashless transactions, quality time to spare with own family but with untouchability, to name a few, though the aftermath economic downturn can, however, be meted out since as how the world sailed through them over a period of time.

At the backdrop of the above, what is amply clear to all is that this run is NOT A SPRINT RACE (a short time horizon) that we are put into, but a very different ULTRA VIRTUAL MARATHON we need to run past this lockdown spanning over different periods in different countries with UNCERTAINTY over its extension - (21/42/90 days) – all such #s correspond to some marathon race event, say, Half/ Full / Comrades, with the only exception being that all need to ensure an absolute ‘stay-put-inside’ our homes criteria – a tough and unprecedented way to keep oneself in fit & proper status during this never experienced special lockdown. It is new learning for all, as to how to keep ourselves engaged positively while disengaging from physical contacts with untouchability theme. 

Thus, I believe that 

(1) it is a race the entire “human race” is mandated to run and expected to touch down an unmarked finish line, as quickly as possible SANS any injury, 

(2) it is a race to be run by everyone complying with the important rule of this lockdown by remaining stay-put at our homes, 

(3) it is a race that is UNIQUE & UNPRECEDENTED and a GLOBAL ULTRA VIRTUAL RACE traversing unchartered contours of physical and mental discomforts, 

(4) It is a race where EVERYONE becomes by-default a PARTICIPANT notwithstanding the age category, that each one may belong to, 

(5) It is a race sans classification of ELITES or AMATEUR runners and all are placed on the same platform

(6) it is a race sans any CUT-OFF time for race finish as the distance in terms of # of days to keep engaged at home or  to time span to run this ordeal by all participants is ‘INDETERMINATE’ 

(7) it is a race where the ‘flag-off time’ is different across different countries as it was flagged-off at a different time frame in China to start with and followed by others and the finish line is ‘OPEN-ENDED’, till all finish the race safe, unaffected by the invisible infectious race organiser 

(8) it is a race where any runner’s NOT COMPLIANCE with the “lockdown” rule will make him/her run the risk of “knockdown” - a FATAL/LETHAL knock along with collateral damage to the fellow runners during the race and those such runners will get a “DNF” (Did Not Finish) tag, as non-compliance with lockdown rule is a ‘Grave” error that leads him/her to the ultimate “grave” unfortunately

(9) It is quite pertinent to mention here that even NASA astronauts Jessica Meir & Andrew Morgan who are currently aboard the International Space Station (ISS) have even shared a video of their “ virtual runs @ ISS ” under lockdown in microgravity to keep physical and mental health in proper stead and comply with the rule of the game and it is one of their strategies to live happily in isolation.

Can All “COVID RUNNERS / WALKERS” who otherwise are used to running/walking on roads, away from their homes, survive this mandated virtual and indeterminate home-stay-run/walk successfully, disengaging themselves from public physical contact? – indeed is a big challenge posed by this infectious race organizer COVID19. The best answer is the cue, one can take from our own great Live River Ganges running a distance of 2,525 Kms in engagement with physical contacts at many public domains (310 km in Uthranchal; 1,140 Kms in Uttar Pradesh; 445 Kms in Bihar and 520 Kms in West Bengal) and successfully thwarting uncountable such obstructions - both natural and man-made -, all through Her normal flow at many points while traversing such contours, till She reaches Her FINISH LINE – FINAL DESTINATION.

Thus, She tells all our ‘COVID Runners/Walkers’, at this God sent rare opportunity to make the best use of such indeterminate time frame of self-imposed seclusion, (1) to adjust our plans, (2) to adapt to the new challenges/ gauntlets that we confront on our path, (3) to adopt new strategies based on the adjustments done in plans like (a) engaging in homebound physical exercises, yoga, learning new skills, new liking to different arts which one has never attempted to, etc., (4) to apply greatest virtue of flexibility, (5) and finally to keep moving till we touch the finish line sans any injury or meeting with any lethal circumstances – as this special COVID race if done successfully under prescribed lockdown conditions will keep us in proper stead given the “grave” impediments that each runner/walker would inflict to himself/herself and in turn to the society at large in the event of non-compliance with the lockdown race rules.  

This never experienced a different style of seclusion that could help visualize and practice and find new meaning to phrases like, “Harmony from Home”… “Grooving from Ghar”... “Beating the Blues of lockdown”….and this hour of crisis be the hour of reflection and this will help these forgotten elements to come alive to rejuvenate our life at this hour and from now on, which will be the new normal … 

A different & important lesson to those who defy lockdown rule wilfully or unwittingly could learn from this lockdown:


It is quite pertinent to note that the worst ever languishing, nerve numbing hardships in the life of a large number of our unforgettable FREEDOM FIGHTERS like Veer Savarkar and others who were kept under “locked down” at dingy Andaman & Nicobar Celluar Jails for decades together, will teach every one of those who defy the much needed with definitive and purposive of life-saving lockdown clamped in our country and the world over; 

The “ lockdown “ of those years they all suffered from, was in absolute contrast to the current one we all are put into (1) None was knowing who were their neighbors, (2)amount of food they were offered was absolutely meager and one time, (3) the quantum of hard-work they needed to was beyond 12 hours and were beaten blue and black if they found looking tired, (4) no communication with the anyone and (5) anyone found defying the lockdown rules were handed death sentence… Anyone who has visited the Andaman & Nicobar Cells couldn’t stop the goose-bumps they would definitely refuse to die down till the time one gets out of the place; this would reveal a strong lesson to all those who wilfully or unwittingly defy the current lockdown rules that there was NO Need for such violation, while we continue to enjoy all within our sweet homes (not jails) while the purpose of the lockdown is to save our life from the COVID19…. I just posted below some of the photos I removed during my visit to Andaman & Nicobar Cells to corroborate the above thoughts…

Therefore, I fervently believe that “ All Avid marathon runners will be successful COVID runners as well”, despite being Containment Oriented Virtual & In-home Detained runners….

A Strider Miles Runner…..

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