FROM THE last three years, since the time Satara-based Navnath Dige started participating zealously in various marathons, his family members would often joke that “this boy will get married while running…” Little did they know that their thought made in jest will turn out to be true one day. On Friday, Dige (28) and his bride Punam (25) ran from their homes up to the registrar’s office – covering a distance of 25 kms – to register their marriage.
Not only this, the couple were joined by nearly 500 “baraatis” who were also runners. Interestingly, at the marriage registrar’s office, while the couple exchanged medals instead of garlands, the “baraatis” were given ‘Finishing Certificate’ as a return gifts. Even the wedding invitation card got innovative by introducing bride and groom as “runners” and carrying title of the wedding as “Ek Dhavtya Lagnachi Goshta” (The story of a running marriage).
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Surprisingly, the idea of “running” to get married had also struck Dige when he was running a marathon a few months ago. Dige, who runs a computer printer service centre in Satara, recollects, “While from the past few years, I was clear that I will not get married the conventional way and spend unnecessary, yet I wanted my marriage to have a unique touch. My friend with whom I was running and who knows how passionate I am to raise awareness about running for fitness amongst people, suggested the idea of combining marathon with marriage.”
The next challenge, however, was to break the news to Punam. The task didn’t seem easy to Dige given the fact that it was an arranged match and also because she wasn’t into running at all unlike him. When Dige shared the idea of running to get married, though Punam was surprised initially, she agreed to be a part of it to support him. “I said yes thinking that it will be a unique experience not just for us but also those who will attend the marriage,” says Punam, adding that there was no opposition from either families too.
Later, in order to check feasibility of his plan, Dige approached Dr Sandeep Suryakant Kate of Satara Hill Marathon Organising Committee to seek his opinion for the event, who guided him.
Kate said that this morning, the bride and groom, along with nearly 70 attendees (mostly marathon runners) gathered at Dige’s native place Medha. The couple and the “baraatis,” including parents and relatives from both the sides, who began the run at 6 am. While some runners finished the entire 25-km stretch, those who were novices to running including Punam, ran for 7-10 kms and covered the rest of the distance in a vehicle.
However, along the distance, the onlookers kept joining the groom and by the time, the group reached the registrar office in Satara, almost 500 runners had become a part of the ‘marathon marriage’. “The main aim was to encourage people to run for fitness and we achieved that,” said Kate.
Now that the marriage is over, Punam says, “I am inspired by him and now I also plan to start running marathon like him.”