And thats a PR for me in this 3rd marathon of my fledgling running career. From 5:55 in 2006 to 5:25 in 2007, I think the simply the experience of running marathons makes you do better in the next one. I was nowhere close to the practice I had done for my previous two, but more awareness, plus a great weather resulted in the perfect conditions (and the late start of 9:00 am did not probably have much impact, since it remained cool almost all the way).
The run started sharp at 9:00 am, flagged off by Vijender Singh, India’s Olympic bronze medallist boxer. Saw a few old timers at the starting line, though most of them were doing the half. Met a few DelhiRunners as well, Rajat and Saleel (and we almost like finished together). There were separate holding areas for full and half marathoners, and it was the 42K guys who were flagged off first, about 200 plus from what I reckon.
The route was basically a double loop, with the half marathoners finishing at the first loop. There was good company for the first loop because of them, but the second loop was a totally different story, since with just 200 or so runners left and that too spread wide apart, it was basically running on your own, asking for directions from the policemen on the suspect turns, and trying to stay away from the traffic. It was good that the organizers had placed traffic cones to create a very narrow lane for the runners, but there were places where even that was not there, so the second half was tough.
This was my first marathon where I could say that I almost ran the whole way. The first half was done in 2:23, which was exactly the same as what I had done in the ADHM 2008). It was only in the last 3-4 KM that I had to do a lot of walking, otherwise, it was just running. I guess the strategy to take it real slow, and to walk for about a minute at every water stop helped. There were no water stops to be found in the last hour, and I had to depend on a couple of 200 ml bottles which I was holding in my pockets. I also bought a packet of biscuits on the way, and I guess they provided some relief, and some bananas offered by some generous citizens helped as well.
So, overall a great experience. This event is nowhere organized at the level of the Mumbai marathon, and the decision to run it was a tough one, but I am glad that I made it. I was particularly afraid of not being able to find my way when the support system was to be taken off at 4 hours from start, and I was also thinking of doing about 35K or so and then going back home, but in the end I just went the distance. I was also running after a gap of 2 weeks, been out on vacations for the last week.
I am sure Mumbai will be a very different experience, and a much tougher one. I hope I will be able to do that below a 5:30. Lets wait and see.
10K: 1 hr 6 mins
21K: 2 hr 23 mins (exactly same as ADHM 2008 21K)
35K: around 4 hr
Event results from The Hindu.