Undeterred by the events at the Boston Marathon, the running enthusiast is gearing up for Chicago and New York marathons later this year
He was the lone Hyderabadi from among the 26,000 runners at the Boston Marathon, which was rocked by bomb explosions at the finish line on April 18.
But back home in the city after what he describes as an “experience of a lifetime”, Dr. Muralidhar Nannapaneni is a picture of unflappable spirit.
“Well, if I am asked to run the Boston Marathon next week again, I am ready for that,” says the 43-year-old doctor, who counts the Boston Marathon jerseys as priceless souvenirs.
His passion for running began four years ago and thanks to city-based running club ‘Hyderabad Runners’, founded by Rajesh Vetcha, Dr. Muralidhar could get an entry into the event at Boston in the doctors’ category.
“The Boston edition, being one of the six marathon majors in the world, has its unique identity and charm,” says the doctor, who, in fact, flew a distance of 1,000 km from Alabama to Boston along with his family members for the event.
“Honestly, it was shocking that bombings took place at such a prestigious sporting event,” he laments.
“In hindsight, I can say the cramps I suffered put me away from that incident as I had to get repeated treatment on the way, even as my ultimate dream was to finish the marathon at any cost,” says Dr. Muralidhar.
“It is a huge disappointment eventually that I could not. I always wanted to hold the ‘Hyderabad Runners’ banner at the finish line,” says the running enthusiast.
“As I said, all of us runners were about 800 m away from the finish line. We (his brother-in-law Sadasiva Rao Katta also took part) were dazed when we first heard about the bomb blasts. I was more worried about my sister Shobha and my two nieces who were waiting at the finish line to receive me,” he recalls.
“It was a miraculous escape for them too as they had just gone to a nearby restaurant for a break, when the bombings took place,” says the doctor.
“It took three hours for me to get the message that everyone was safe. Till then, we were in a lost world honestly,” says Dr. Muralidhar.
“The Sheraton Hotel, where all the runners were diverted to, represented a war-line zone. But, what stood out was the remarkable resilience and hospitality of everyone concerned,” he remembers.
Visibly relieved parents — Dr. Madhusudhan Rao and Hymavathi — are happy with the final script of an eventful marathon.
“We will not stop him from taking part again. Anything can happen anywhere to anyone. We have to move on putting behind these scary images,” they remarked, symbolic of the quintessential sporting spirit.
Meanwhile, the doctor is already looking ahead to the Chicago and New York marathons later this year!