This was the first half marathon I was running since the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon in Nov. In recent times, or rather last couple of years, my focus has shifted from half marathons to marathons, so its only once in a while that I get to run half marathon as part of any event.
The Noida Half Marathon is organized by Running and Living in Sector 62, Noida, which is an area which houses several corporates. The organization of this particular event was not at par with the other Running and Living events, with water stops limited to just water unlike Gurgaon where not only Gatorade was widely available, but also several eatables en route.
The route comprised 4 loops of 5K plus one more KM towards the end, pretty boring actually, and nothing inspiring along the way. In fact, there are a couple of stinking spots on the way, and loose dogs too (not that I really care for that much, but some folks fear dogs, and so thats a concern for them). There were 3 runs, the 21K, 10K and 5K. In all there must have been around 300 runners.
I started slow with some friends. First half was more chatting than running, and we were towards the very end with the ambulance giving us company. My friend found inspiration missing to continue beyond 10K and dropped out. First half average pace was 6:50/KM. I decided to run the second half of the race at a 5:30/KM pace, and was comfortably able to carry this off till the end for a 2:05:42 finish, my second fastest 21K finish after a 2:04:16 at Hyderabad in 2006.
Next weekend is the IIT Kanpur Golden Jubilee 50KM run, which will be my first distance beyond the 42K. That would be my first big test on the way to Comrades Marathon in May.