Monthly Archives: October 2012

GR Bhati Lakes Ultramarathon 2012

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GR Bhati Lakes 100 , October 6-7th 2012

End of an era

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After a celebrated triumph in Delhi Half Marathon pacing the rookies to a sub 3-hour finish, the lure of ultrarunning was on the call to rediscover the grits on same old trails of Bhati mines. ‘My Den’ as I call those long abandoned deserted forest trails, returning there was immaculate. Nervous energy, heavy legs, callus on right foot and due to that slightly disoriented right ankle gave me enough to have goose bumps weeks ahead of the start.

Finishing Bhati Lakes 100 2011 was a near dream come true steered by Aparna Choudhary and Aditya Bee. Finishing 100 miles completely on my own, was something still left to be achieved. The failed attempt during Mandwa-Pune 250 km run was the learning curve that instigated the need of proper fueling plan to be a part of training schedule. Already carrying a grudge of pulling out of Uttarkashi 135 mile ultra despite being the prime assassin in setting up the run, there was a lot more to look for in terms of physical and mental stability.

Mandwa run took a lot out of the body, destroying the immune system, leaving a blister turned into callus on right foot. It was one run that took me over 6 weeks to recover -the longest for any other marathon. As suggested by Kavitha during the Uttarkashi recce, 12 hour night run was planned but, unfortunately, canceled due to flu. A couple of half marathons, a few 30 km runs earmarked by Gurgaon-India Gate-Home, 50 km run were all I could manage.

Already with such a wobbling tale of inconsistent miles, it was interesting already to launch for a 160 km target. Two weeks before the main event, 30 km run on the trails of Bhati presented a completely different picture of the trail I knew. Atmospheric temperature of 35 degrees and nearly 75% humidity, to start the run at 0830hrs in the morning with 7 kg load on shoulders was something, Aditya called, crazy thing to do. The fairer sections of track were washed off and few rougher sections were flattened over past one year. The last 3 km of the trail was narrowed with outgrowth of thorny bushes leaving a narrow track, slimmer enough even for underweight Aditya. The picture was quite evident. 100 miles were going to be a challenge and night was going to be deciding factor.

Delhi half marathon, 5 days before the run, and a few easy 5-10 km runs were followed by pre-race briefing, orientation and bib pick up. Certainly, it was the best bib pick up of my short span of running. T10 Sports outlet on MG Road, Gurgaon was the venue planned to host the grand (?) meet of ultrarunners who took up the challenge to target 160 km in deserted forest with roughest terrain. A podomagician from Ahmedabad, Piyush Shah was already at the venue with race director, Kavitha, 24 hour runners Tanvir Kazmi and Lovekesh Uppal, and the host, Vineet Agarwal. Soon Aditya Bee, Patrick D’aust, Ankush Mehdiratta, Jaspreet Singh, Arvind Tripathi, Randeep Singh Arora and Shshank Pundhir joined in to start the briefing session which was accompanied by birthday celebration of Shshank.

The highlight of the evening was the runner from small village of Muzzafarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, who wanted to target 8/9 hour finish time for 100 km. “Has he even been to Bhati?” Aditya and I laughed in surprise. ‘Anil Kumar’ was the name. 50 km of running on daily basis divided into three sessions was already too much for us to handle when Anil shared his training routine. “Anything less than 12 hours and this guy will be star of the trail for long” I said. A 13 hour finish was something challenging for most of the ‘veteran’ runners, but then no one had ever attempted before. With the progression of events, 50 mile category was almost dissolved into 100 km category with Krishan Kumar being the solo runner in the category.

 

The potential 100 miles

Unlike last year, I was successfully able to manage 40 minutes of sleep before I was picked up by Raman, one of the trusted resources of Aditya. In no time, we were there at Start Line in Kant Enclave. Aditya Bee, Patrick D’aust and I were the only guys who reached there at odd hours in the morning. Anil Kumar spent his night at the start line itself -too eager to start the run, he must’ve been. RD joined in soon. While Kavitha was busy arranging the supplies at the start, one of my good friends and a true support, Prateek was busy setting up the other aid station. Harveen Singh and Avinash Singh came as a support to Kavitha to set up the aid station number 1 while more guys joined to set up the second aid station. Third station, we had no idea where it was. It was expected to be at the bank of fifth lake, but there was some altercation between RD and support staff for setting up the third station.

The disaster did strike. The most beautiful section of the trail was no more a part of route. The turnaround point was 4.8 km for the first loop and 7.8 km for second loop onwards till 4 pm. As the day light diluted the loop was back to 4.8 km again due to security reasons. The mental calculation was on the toss as we were not dealing in loops any more. We were trapped in a strange mathematical equation which was tough to deal with. Preet Singh made sure the honey had an endless supply for the day with honey water for a change. Medical support from Fortis commenced the weight and blood pressure statistics procedure followed by unveiling of the route structure.

All thirteen runners: Aditya Bee (Italy), Vineet Agarwal (Gurgaon), Arvind Tripathi (Gurgaon), Shshank Pundhir (Gurgaon), Randeep Singh Arora (Bangalore), Patrick D’aust (Canada), Piyush Shah (Ahmedabad), Gaurav Madan (Delhi), Tanvir Kazmi (Delhi), Lovekesh Uppal (Delhi), Ankush Mehdiratta (Gurgaon), Jaspreet Singh (Gurgaon) and Anil Kumar (Muzzafarnagar) lined up at the start at 0515 hrs. Smiles, jokes, tickles and jingles surrounded the runners kicking off the nervous energy. Decorated with lamps on the forehead as miners, laden with garmins, shoes, fuel belts for some and hand held water bottles for a few, they were standing tall (and a few short) focusing the loose turmac howling for sweat and blood.

With flag off, all of us started to crawl the trail and Anil whooshed somewhere in the dark. Piyush and Patrick lead the 100 mile pack swept by Tanvir, Lovekesh and I. There had to be some strategy to follow. Unlike last year, I decided to start slow. Running, talking, walking with utmost care on gravel and torn trail, Lovekesh and I discussed our past experiences earmarked by our new slowest half marathon we posted a week ago. While we continued to move, Ankush too joined the pack. Sun was breaking the darkness with every passing mile exhibiting the shiny red trail through the thorny bushes doming the rocky surroundings. In no time we reached the checkpoint B greeted by Prateek and turned back towards the start. Tanvir and Lovekesh decided to take a short drink break while Ankush and I continued. I knew they were the faster runners and would join back in no time.

Coming back on solid turmac felt like walking on grass for a while -a clean mid-foot strike for a change. Ankush and I returned to the start, refilled our bottles and launched back saying ‘Hi’ to the volunteers. This loop onwards, the turnaround point was point C manned by Harveen et al. Tanvir and Lovekesh were following us while Piyush, Randeep and others were a few miles ahead. Logging faster miles in the cooler hours was seemingly an ideal strategy, but 34 degree heat was manageable, I thought. I kept going slowly. After a small halt, I exchanged a few words with Prateek and advanced towards Bhardwaj Lake. The turnaround point was right at the face of Bhardwaj Lake which made sure, despite of staying there for over 30 hours runners would be deprived of the magic Bhati Lakes behold.

By the time first 20 km were finished, it was little over 0800hrs and Tanvir and I indulged us in some mental calculations that were far underrated. By this time, the pretty cool morning, as Patrick cited, was turning the heat on. Keep piling the slower miles was something I planned while Aditya kept going at a mediocre pace mixing running in walking. After a while, all of us caught each other at 5 km station. Vineet and Arvind were worried about gaining heat while podomagician was feeling fairly comfortable. They inquired about Piyush’s possible strategy, took a little of my inputs and I left towards checkpoint C while they waited a little more before marching towards start line.

I was 40 km into the run when I took the first planned break. Temperature was 41 degrees as per the thermometer at the start. “What’s wrong with the clock? 41 degrees, is it?” I asked in amazement. “Yes it is boy” replied Kavitha handing me my water bottle wrapped in wet cotton cloth to keep water cool for next 5 km.

Dressed in white full sleeved tee with black shorts and white cap, I was sweating too much and was losing equal amount of salt. I couldn’t notice the salt stuck in the pores of my tee as no visible color change was there with sweating. However, one thing that was bothering me was the wet socks that were causing my right foot to slide a little causing malfunctioned ankle moment. When asked for my drop bag containing spare socks at aid station C an hour ago, it was still at start. Now, when I was at start, my bag was transported to station C. Another 8 km of slippery foot strike was going to irritate me more.

While I was hydrating well while eating a little at every aid station, fortunately my body weight was stable at 64 kg. The bad part -I had not urinated in past seven hours. I forcefully ejected the urine just to discover, “I was dehydrated!” The urine was dark yellow and thick. The alarms were on. “Hydrate as soon as you reach the aid station C” I told myself. A little of everything, viz. juices, gatorade, water, salted waffers, honey, lemonade and energy bar was consumed during the necessary 20 minute break. Soon Patrick joined and offered salt tablets; I denied as I didn’t know what will be the effect. After a half of 15 minutes, I began to walk.

It was not more than 700 meters from aid station, when suddenly I had a fall on the ground. The energy supply to the muscles was completely shut down and I was not sweating anymore. I tried to puke, but nothing happened. Gathering whatever energy I could manage, I stood up and walked a 100 meter and then collapsed under shade of a bush. I was waiting for someone to pass to declare the first casualty of the day. 15 minutes passed and I began to walk towards the 5 km checkpoint. I was already an hour and half when I checked in at the aid station. Prateek quickly came to the rescue spraying water on my head, and served water with honey and salt. Nothing was working. I was losing time, and more importantly my energy and focus on a wrong cause.

After half an hour, Param arrived at aid station accompanied by Randeep. Randeep had a heat stroke and terrible cramps, and he was taken off the track from that point over an hour ago. Now he was back and was running more cautiously. “I can’t handle heat” he had repeated earlier on quite a few occasions when we interacted. Param lifted me up, helped me stretch the muscles and all three of us began to walk back to start. I had lost over 2 hours and traveled just 3 km in the process. Somehow, I reached the start line. It took me 3 hour 45 minutes to reach aid station A from C. It wasn’t just about the time, but the lost physical and mental stability. Kavitha quickly offered a highly concentrated lemonade and 2 teaspoon full of honey. After waiting for a while, I began to walk with Tanvir and Lovekesh who decided to walk the loop, which was 4.8 km now. Soon, Ankush, Tanvir, Lovekesh and I were together again and finished the loop together. Meanwhile, Anil Kumar had already finished his 100 km in 12 hours and 53 minutes, a figure that amazed everyone around.

I was feeling a little better now. Lemon rice dinner, a little of juices and I began to walk back with Aditya. It was dark now so we carried torch and headlamp with us to make a failed attempt to illuminate the trail. We kept logging restless miles, while I made a few halts to stretch my back, thanks to Princy. While we were moving in dark, I was sweating a lot more than normal. I kept of applying the vaseline to lubricate the motion, but it was not working somehow. I had changed my shorts a few hours ago, so keeping up the momentum was all I was thinking about. Meanwhile, battle between Piyush and Patrick was gaining heat as both denied to stop; however, there was a considerable drop in pace. On the other hand, supported by his pacers Vineet was going stronger than ever, while Arvind followed. Shshank was the second casualty after Randeep, as both of them had pulled out off the run.

The chaffing was getting terrible as we progressed. To save time, I kept lubricating it with vaseline. Three blisters were there at my foot, but endurance running teaches you to prick them, tape them and ignore them efficiently. The day light was back and 30 mile runners were at the start line waiting to flag off. As we reached the start line, I rushed towards ambulance to seek medical assistance for some of the intimate parts. There I discovered the blisters and ruptured skin leaking a little blood. The salt in the sweat was exaggerating the wounds. Medical support team cleansed the wounds and applied some gel that would work for rest of the time, they guaranteed.

As the burning sensation receded, I began to walk with Ravi Parmeshwar discussing his running schedules and past experiences. The groin looked good for first 2 km, but as I began to sweat again, things were back to the stage from where they started. Sweat was washing things away leaving the surface open for damage. While Ravi continued to walk with Arvind, I made a small halt and then headed back accompanied by long lost pal, Adesh Sidhu. We kept talking on the way while I was busy with my penguin walk. The day was getting warm and I could feel the burning over eroded skin. On return to the start, I applied a little more ointment and continued to walk as I was lagging behind the clock. Things changed, and they changed quickly. The silent blisters began to bleed and nothing was holding up. Rahul offered vaseline he had, but nothing was working anymore. Crawling, I reached aid station B and asked for some betadine if aid station had. Not that, but got a hold of Soframycin. I repeated the procedure just to discover that things were more complex than they seemed. This was the end.

I reposed myself to get up and continue but the friction between skin and cloth with salt crystals in the middle, made the things worst. I laid down for over an hour when Preet Singh joined back in. Surprised and awestruck, he lifted me up and offered to pace for the remaining distance. I was 124 km into the run and still had good 36 km of travel left to travel. But that wasn’t how I wanted to finish. Moreover, I needed some immediate medical assistance. Preet and I began to walk after a while as I stopped puking and consumed little of water.

We walked as slow as possible to reduce the friction and were successful in walking over 4 km without any problem when things got bad and I was taken to ambulance in his car. Game was over. I was lost in my own backyard. Third casualty got confirmed in the ambulance, when medical staff denied me to continue any further as it was risking too much.

 

The defeat tough to handle

129 km and that was it. Did Not Finish was written in front of my name that was going to stay there forever. Aditya was the only runner left on track who joined us after 2 hours, finishing in little over 33 hours. Patrick and Piyush reigned the track with 25 hour finish separated by just 10 minutes, setting a new benchmark to achieve in this tough weather. Anil ran another 50 km next day with a blistering pace and set two course records in a single outing.

Dejected, I kept sitting alone on the sideline while 30 mile runners were busy in the medallion ceremony. I had lost everything and there was nothing else left in life, such was the feeling. Holding back the feel of grave, I joined Aditya in celebration of his maiden 100 mile finish. After the run, half sleepy, Prateek, Kavitha, Avinash, Anil, Aditya and I joined Rebecca at her place with Prem Bedi and Harshveer Singh at Vasant Kunj. A lot of chit chat, drinks, refreshments, some interesting experiences with a lot of humor, we spent good 5 hours there making it most celebrated post ultra celebration. Aditya and I were half asleep and at time were nodding subconsciously. Rebecca was adorable in holding such a nice impromptu get together with such perfection under candle lights beneath the open sky.

Even strongest walls chink and damp in good times, I’m still a human. God was graceful to bestow me a DNF at Bhati to reincarnate the ultrarunner in me. It’s awesome to see how one bad day in your life revives the entire vision and approach. GRBL2012 was the ‘end of an era’. An ultrarunner was died on the track. The ‘Globeracer’ will return next year with new targets, new approach, new vision but the same unaltered determination. Unlike others, I couldn’t walk away with the royal piece of metal, but I got something that no one else can steal from me –the learning, the memories, the humbleness and the vision.

Acknowledgements to all who were somehow linked to the celebration called Globeracers Bhati Lakes Ultramathon 2012 –RD Kavitha, Prateek, Sanjay Dhawan, Avinash, Preet Singh, Param Narang, Ravi Parmeshwar, Adesh Sidhu, Aditya Bee, Ajay Gupta, Rebecca, Medical Support Team, all the volunteers and crew members and last but not the least, the runners who made the evening worth anamnesis.

Results can be accessed by Clicking here. Photo Courtesy: Sanjay Dhawan

Pacing experience with runners in ADHM’12

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Airtel Delhi Half Marathon 2012

Pacing the 3:00 hour Bus

“Skeptical” was my answer when Tanvir asked if I was interested in pacing for 3:00 hour Bus. 2:10 or something was the finish time on my mind, so it was tough finding reasons to go this slow. I’ve had good amount of running for my own, running for someone else as a pacer, was something I had never done before. With some thoughts, permutations and combinations, a decision was made; I was pacing for 3:00 hour bus with the master of pacing ‘Venkatraman Pichumani’. Savio De’souza, Sanjay Jindal and Surender Singh were pacing for quick 2:00 hour with Anurag Chaturvedi and Tanvir Kazmi, who decided to pace a comfortable 2:30 hour bus.

The response of possible strategy was good. (click to access) Most runners found it pretty comfortable as it was a delicately planned colloid of running and walking, though my training was not as per the strategy planned. Thinking in shoes of a first time half marathon runner was a challenge. Hence, accepted. Moreover, Bhati Lakes 100 being just 5 days away from the ADHM, it made no sense to push too much this close to your main event. While everyone was talking of warm weather during second half of the run, the thing that was hitting me the most was holding the pace back after 40 minutes from the start.

The successful pacing plan at ADHM with 5K split times

All the pacers had a brief meeting a day before the marathon to discuss the pacing strategy and correlate it with real time scenarios when they collected their respective flags. Venkat and Savio had their own vital inputs as they were the veteran pacers with more marathons as a pacer than all of my runs combined. So, a nice learning curve it was going to be. The nervous energy was building up as leading  pack of nearly 3500 runners required a lot of courage, especially when the weather was warm and most of them had little knowledge of self assessment and endurance running. Mind over body is good, but a runner has to understand the difference that lies in this thin line. My job was to pace keeping them in the safer limits of that thin line while making them home in time. Meanwhile, during the meeting I got a chance to catch up with Rakesh Mehta and Pushkaraj Kore, the Pune runners, along with a few more from Mumbai.

After yet another sleepless night, I was at the start well in time. I was occupied by some stretching and people coming in saying “I will run with you, watch for me.” After programming my phone with intervals as per the strategy, I crossed the start line 6 minutes after the start, seconds ahead of enclosure C. Getting the flag tucked on the back was a concern initially, thanks to Tanvir and Palash, I got that sorted with little effort.

Taking off to pace the 3:00 hour bus with debutants. Courtesy: Monica Dawar

I started with walking so that runners can take some lead and interested passengers can spot me with the flag. Interestingly, most of them were too busy overtaking each other that they might have left the bus unnoticed. Soon, I started to run with the planned 4:1 strategy.

“Hey, Gaurav” Someone shouted, suddenly. I wasn’t expecting anyone as all the runners I knew of, were already blazing the track and must’ve been two kilometers ahead of me. I looked among the runners and there was no known face in the crowd. It took me a while to realize that the voice was familiar and feminine. I looked around in the crowd and suddenly spotted one of my good pals, Monika Dawar, in the spectators clicking pictures on a heavenly morning. A great photographer, as she is, was on the roll on a hot day clicking pictures to present an unseen view of the marathon. It must’ve been awesome. So, it was already a pleasant surprise to start with. I waved at her with a roar, got a picture clicked and went off.

As soon as I passed the first kilometer, the first passenger joined in. And then the second and then third and soon we were running in a group of ten spread across five meters distance. As per the strategy, the start was always supposed to be slow. Many more joined the bus, but they were doubting if we could finish the half marathon in 3 hours with this speed. Fair call; I allowed them to fly off the bus and asked them to join in back whenever they feel like.

With every passing kilometer, mercury was gaining height and runners could feel the little heat now. Drenched from head to toe, most of them complained about the rescheduling of the marathon in odd and hot September instead of November. I silently supported them, but then that was not on my agenda. “It’s the test of your grits guys. This a flat track and only weather is there to challenge. You’re stronger. Believe yourself” I told them as we crossed the fifth kilometer mark. We were behind the time, but still we had more than 2 hours to make up for it. As per the strategy, the smart pace plan got shifted to 3:1 run-walk ratio. This means, as body was warmed up, running would be slightly faster and walking pace would stay as 10:30 minute pace. From 8:14 pace, the pace was shifted to 8:04 and then 7:56 as we approached the half way mark. Most runners were finding comfort with this gradual shift of gears as one minute walking breaks were providing time enough to drink, catch breath, relax muscles and get back to running. We took each stride as a separate run to nail.

Initially, the plan was to not to stop at drink stations. Grab a bottle, keep it handy and use during the walking breaks in order to keep up with the plan. After 10 km, as speed was slightly more and weather was getting warmer, we decided to walk at every drink station, without considering much what the clock said. We had three minutes buffer in our belt. Hydration at that instant was more important. Cool sponges, gatorade, oranges kept the check on body temperature, fluids and salt intake.

A light moment while marching ahead with the runners pacing 3:00 hour Bus. Courtesy: Monica Dawar

After 13 km the gears were shifted again. The 3:1 ratio was getting slightly tough for runners to handle, so another change was needed. We reduced the running speed and then later on increased the walk time as well. The idea was to catch up with the clock without keeping the comforts on sake. 2.5:1 run-walk strategy was working perfectly now as the pace was again reduced to 8:14 and 8:20. During this course, runners kept joining in and leaving us off. A few of them, who trusted, did stay along and rest kept the check on me from far. “I’m the guy to fear off the most today. If I’m ahead of you, you know you’re doomed” I said to push the runners who were falling back now.

Suddenly from nowhere a voice came

“Are you a three hour pacer? What time will you finish in?”. This time it was masculine voice that had the nerves of restlessness.

“Yes, I’m. As my flag suggests, finish time will be 3 hours gun time.”

“Oh sh*t! @%&$#” Some heavenly words he mumbled to himself expressing the disgust on himself as he was overtaken by 3 hour bus. I asked him to follow as he would still be able to be a sub-3 hour finisher if he finishes a few minutes after me as I was pacing for gun time. He expressed gratitude and I had one more passenger. During all this time, I was accompanied by another veteran runner, a friend of Venkat, but I missed his name. We were continuously talking of our past experiences and resemblance the day had with that of a typical second half of Mumbai Marathon.

As we reached kilometer no. 15, I realized Venkat was closing in and bus was right in time, as per the chart. I was slowing down just a little, before I could ask the runners to give their all in the last leg of 2-3 km. But, runners were feeling the heat. Body was cramping, they were perspiring more than ever and a few had developed mild stomach cramps due to over-drinking in pursuit of keeping themselves cool. The picture was clear. They had wall waiting for them right in the front. Keeping mouth shut and going with a consistent pace was the last option they had. While I kept asking them if they were interested for a final burst; a few of the stronger men took off and rest followed.

Leading the pack of runners in the bus early in the run. Courtesy: Monica Dawar

Meanwhile, I caught up with Amit Sheth and Major DP Singh and ran a kilometer with those guys synchronizing our pace with them. But, as per the need of the hour, I overtook and kept going as per the plan. Soon, I caught up with Ashish Srivastav who was blazing through the track in first half, but now falling back due to heat and some niggle in his calves. Being there at the track was half a victory for him. I took him along and rest passenger followed. We were approaching 19th kilometer now and we still had 23 minutes under my belt. Venkat was visible from far and he was going through a consistent pace. He was playing the role of a sweeper, taking along all those who were little left behind –a much needed and matured effort.

With still good 20 minutes in our bank, Ashish and I decided to walk and kept cheering the runners to run ahead of us if they were chasing 3:00 hour clock. Great Delhi Runners did stop our way, but not much effort was required to dive deep through them. “Keep going. It’s your day. It’s your run. Set free and run the final mile” we were shouting in unison pushing the runners.

“Here comes the three hour bus. Run fast” shouted Venkat as he was approaching us running. Ashish, Venkat and I were now walking together with the passengers (who were still with the bus) and decided to finish in 180th minute. As we kept walking, talking, pushing others towards the finish we slowly ran the final 200 meters to finish the training run on a high.

After the finish with friends (L-R): Sanjay Jindal (2:00 pacer), Sandeep Srivastav, Hariom Gupta, Ashish Srivastav, Gaurav Madan (3:00 pacer), Savio De’Souza (2:00 pacer) and Mahesh Narkar

With a roar of celebration, I hugged Venkat to congratulate him on yet another successful pacing mission while celebrating my debut as a pacer. Soon, the runners running with the bus joined us too. It was their moment of celebration. From enclosure C, they graduated to enclosure B for sixth edition of Airtel Delhi Half Marathon. They kept coming in, with a lot of followers who had a sub-3 hour net time finish.

It feels great when someone unknown walks to you calling your name and hugs you with a heartfelt ‘Thanks’! The moment made me realize, it wasn’t just pacing for a bus rather a lot more than that. It was not just one, rather thousands more runners. Almost 5000 runners finished under 3 hours net time, a figure I can boast of, with proud. After collecting the medallion and some refreshments I joined other pacers for a little celebration and was occupied later on with meeting and greeting the old friends and new.

Despite being slow as snail with absolute no personal achievement in terms of running, this run would stay closest to my heart for long time where an unseen bond was formed. I know how it feels when you look at your support crew after finishing an ultramarathon, similar must’ve been the feeling that many of them possessed.

When I speak about positives of the day, weather was cool. Not as warm as expected or I’d have liked to run a 3 hour half marathon in. It was still in cooler vicinities. Great Delhi Runners were far more disciplined and were making way for slower half marathon runners to allow them to finish. The pacing strategy, that was devised with little thought, planning and training than required, worked spot on carrying majority of runners with the bus finish within the target time.

In terms of organization, the volunteers were less than required number handling the drink stations. Most of the aid centers with Oranges and Gatorade were somewhat unorganized displaying a sheer lack of professionalism still, despite being into eighth edition of this IAAF Gold Certified race. Sponges were not hygienic at all. Cool tunnels, as we argued a day before the race day, were a big fail as in Mumbai earlier this year. No race is perfect. But, learning from mistakes is what defines the growth you’ve had over past few years. Procam, unfortunately, still lagging on basics in pursuit of promoting the event on quantity rather than quality.

Overall, it was a well organized marathon, yet again providing us chance to meet a lot of friends, old and new and be a part of greatest celebration of friendship. Before I sign off “a real loud round of applauds” for all the runners who ran the half marathon and finished it in this heat, which was tough for most of runners to handle.

Coming up with next post regarding much awaited “Globeracers Bhati Lakes 100 mile Ultramarathon” on October 6-7th in the abandoned Bhati mines in Suraj Kund, Fariadabad, Haryana, India.

Photo Courtesy: Monica Dawar