Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Here is the first hand account of the hutch world half marathon.

With prize money of 150K USD, it indeed is a great deal of prize money for the shorter version of the road race. Usually, the big bucks are reserved for full marathon winners and half marathoners get the consolation prizes! The Delhi marathon has a prize money of 310K USD with most of money going to the winners of the 42 K race (e.g. the male winner wud get 55K).
Coming back to the hutch half marathon, the online registrations were smooth but some of the friends didn't get acks for their registrations over sms. A bunch of friends, we had been running off and on and actually did some serious training during the last 45 days or so. Some of us r still targeting a full marathon in Bombay, so this was more of an intermediate race. One week before the race, we had our last long run and then we were taking it easy. Our last long runs were 25/23/16/4/3/0 Kms respectively for 5 of us!! We were in festive mode on 12th, the day of collection of bibs, championchip and "goody" bags. At Jawahar lal Nehru stadium, there was hardly any rush and we collected our goodies, championchip and got a huge discount on stuff by New Balance (shoes etc.). Predictably, our 3k and 0k friends backed out of the race, that left four of us warming up on a pleasent sunday morning at the stadium.

We were flagged off at 7:45 A.M as excited runners actually broke through barriers to get a good start. Anyhow, the crowd thinned down just about at the 2nd Km mark near the Oberoi hotel, the first water station. I was running at about 6 minutes/Km and feeling not-so-good! We turned on to the long stretch to pragati maidan where we turned towards Bhairon marg and went behind the maidan and onto the ring road. That section was the worst section of the route where we crossed the railwayline, crossed a flyover and finally turned around the Raj Ghat... Passing the Ambedkar Stadium, we reached the ITO at about 10 Km mark. We turned right towards the Supreme Court and the scenery changed to better. Now, people were suffering! Three of us were warmed up and actually enjoying the run now. I just noticed that I had missed my target of completing the race in under 2 hrs, so I stayed relaxed and ran at an even pace conserving for the last 5 Kms. We ran towards the raisana hill and turned around from the Vijay Chowk. One of the most beautiful vistas in the world is the one in front of the Presidential estate till India gate. The sun was rising and we were running towards India Gate, it was getting quite hot and now most runners had started to walk! and we were overtaking them by bulk! The live bands from all the three defense services were playing for us! That was more than necessary inspiration that we needed. We turned around the India Gate towards Golf Course and then further back to Jawahar LaL Nehru Stadium. The last portion of the run was bit of a problem as the joy run of 7.5 Kms had also started and we had people all over slowing us down. My partner spend 25 minutes to finish her last three kms! Anyway, we finished the run in great spirits returning a timing of 1:58/2:16/2:40/3+. with two of us in top hundred and one of us in top fifty (women). We had a great time and even the guy who had never run more than 4 Kms, walked/ran the entire 21.097 Kms! that showed character and he became our hero on that day. We got "real" medals for finishing and our timing certificates the same day.

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