The Inquirer is presenting a daily profile of participants in the May 6 Blue Cross Broad Street Run, considered the country's most popular 10-miler, with 40,000 people. See full coverage at www.philly.com/broadstreetrun
In August, Kiran Midha Bhambhani married a runner.
Her husband runs daily. He talks nonstop about running. He manages a boutique running store. Dressing up for him is putting on a nice running shirt, as opposed to a not-so-nice one.
"I work for a designer shoe company in New York City," Kiran says, "and he owns more shoes than I do. His greatest joy in life is running, and for the 826 days I've known him, he's wanted nothing more than to go for a run with me.
"I've shut him down every time but once," she says.
She did try it once. They went for a run on a hot summer day not long after they met.
"I was throwing up on the side of the road," she said.
"And he loved it. I think I warmed his heart that day."
But that was it. No more running with him.
"A non-runner like myself feels like an elephant stampede huffing and puffing next to the guy who actually wants to carry on a conversation while at a steady pace," she says.
Kiran was a dancer in high school. She walks every day in New York, and belongs to a gym. But she developed a mental block, convincing herself that "running is dangerous, I'm no good at it, my knee hurts, my favorite running pants (pajamas!) are in the laundry."
"There were always a thousand excuses - until now," she said.
Kiran, 38, signed up to run Broad Street with her husband, Anil Bhambhani, 42.
It was time to show him, to show herself, that she could do it.
"I will finish no matter what," she insists.
She slowly started her training. She did a mile on the treadmill. Then two. She had a minor setback, but resumed.
"Now I'm up to three," she said. I've got one month to crank it out. Will I be able to run 10 miles straight through in four weeks? Probably not. But I have too much to prove and I am not going to bow down.
"The streets of Philly have met their match," she says. "It's time to put down the wineglass and pick up the water bottle."
She chose Philadelphia and the Broad Street Run as her breakthrough moment because she and her husband love Philadelphia. She has come here to watch him run a few times, and they always enjoy it here, the energy of the races, the courses, the restaurants. She also wanted her debut to be away from New York, away from his home running turf, like opening a Broadway play on the road.
Her husband has been running for 20 years. He has run very fast, but she is pretty sure he will run with her this time, and encourage her, whatever her pace.
"I know the second I cross that finish line," she says, "will be his proudest moment, and I can't wait."