Monday, December 23, 2013

Delhi Half marathon 2013

Delhi half marathon will be remembered more for post run reasons that during its run reasons. That and the fact that with 2:27:02, it also came out to be my personal best so far.

The post run was much fanfare with Aarti and mummy waiting for me at the finish line. Post run queue was also resolved very quickly by the organizers, something that TCS 10K did not do well last year. Also, a Delhi special Gajar juice and homemade Gajrela were the best post run food one could hope for.

ADHM started with me in group E along with thousands of other participants. It was a sea of people. The A batch was to start at 7:40 and every other batch after 3 mins. There was no F batch, aka E is the last one. Our time to leave was at 8 am. Many were happy to walk and smile at the starting point, so it became a dodging game. But what i did not anticipate was how long will this dodging last. Right till the  finish point, the dodging was on. There was relief when we hit India gate and continued to Sansad marg and back. But at the finish line, especially for the last two , people had give up and were very happy to walk the last 2K. A spring finish was quite difficult as i was running with a constant utterance of "Excuse me".

People of Runners High are always awesome. I met Mayank and 7K and ran with him till 8k. I met Neeraj at around 8.5K and ran with him till 9K. I was looking for Nikunj but he was ahead of me as i met him at the queue to receive medal. That 1K with Mayank allowed me to recalibrate my pace and it was great.

The route chosen is simply one of the good ones to run in Delhi. It starts from Nehru stadium and goes to Lodhi Gardens,  a U turn to go back to India Gate. From India Gate you run towards the Rashtrapati Bhavan and take a right at Sansad Marg. The return is the same way except for a small detour on to Janpath where you visit Le Meredian as well. It was quite scenic especially, the bit near India Gate.

I remembered the Tortoise story and till 5K, i did not became a rabbit. However, after 13K, i could see the guy with 2:45 time marker and i thought i was too close to him. So, i ran faster up until 19K when i had little pain in my rib area. A quick spray and i was all set for a finishing sprint.

There was no food during the race. Only water and electral. I saw oranges only after 14K mark and by that time it was too late. Run without food was a good learning experience. Aid stations were poorly managed in Delhi. There were no garbage bins and they were giving 200ml water bottles or electral tetra packs. For one, a runner only needs couple of sips and not entire 200ml. So, throwing the remaining unused water seemed like a crime. And that too onto the street as there was no garbage bin. It was really sad, especially to do so near the India Gate area.

The Bhangra arrangement near start/finish point was good. So was couple of music stops as they were playing some amazing music. The crowd to cheer was significantly less than i had expected.  Also, at one point the traffic police were stopping runners for vehicles to pass. That was also unacceptable.

Overall, city runs are no longer that fun to run. Trail runs at KTM and Bangalore Ultra were much more fun. With a smaller audience, peaceful assembly and enthusiastic support, especially from RH, ADHM does not even stand close.  But for now, a feeling of been there done that. Plus the flatness of Delhi road is unbeatable.

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