Having run two half marathons in 2014 (Peoria – Going the Distance and The SF – 2nd Half, and having missed one thanks to the common cold), I was looking to run in India when I would be there for a short vacation towards the end of the year. Unfortunately, some of the bigger name marathons in India did not coincide well with my trip plans, and I was searching for a decent event with at least a half marathon distance. I finally found “Mirchi Run” which was organized by Radio Mirchi, and the date fit me perfectly.
In terms of training, this has been the race I was best prepared for – considering I had enough long runs under my belt, and also had a pretty consistent training regiment – even if it involved a lot of runs on treadmill because of the weather outside. But then, you take a 24+ hour flight, go home and binge on good food for a week, and you pretty much negate all of the training 🙂 A couple of days before the race, I was cleaning some shelf of mine at home and when I got up, my knee gave me such a sharp intense pain that I was genuinely scared. Thankfully, wasn’t much of a deterrent.
The event was pretty badly organized, but if you factor in the registration costs compared to some events in the US, some of these can perhaps be overlooked. I think it was either Rs 1000 or 1100.
- Strike 1: was that the distance they measured and guided us through was not 13.1 miles. Yikes! I had half a mind to keep running till I heard my GPS tracker tell me I was done, but traffic was being opened up on the roads, and it didn’t look particularly inviting after that.
- Strike 2: There was no official timing. 🙂 When I asked the organizers during packet pick-up where the chip for timing was, they were not even aware of such a thing. I got redirected to multiple people, the way a cricket balls fielding responsibility is redirected by multiple Indian fielders of the yesteryear, only for them to tell me that the timing would be done manually. What a bunch of hooey! I am not too bothered by this since I am not fast enough to have the official time do anything for me, and I track my own metrics anyway.
- Strike 3: There was no good course map, nor any information of the aid stations …etc. All you have to do is open up a popular marathon website and pretty much ape them on these. There were aid stations though – which was at least better than some events like the SF marathon in 2014.
Packet pick up was the previous day – 27th December 2014, and the packet included a Bib, a pretty yucky looking t-shirt (which I haven’t worn, and wouldn’t be caught even sleeping in.)
Ok, the coolest thing about the packet has to be that the bib number I got was H-007 .That was sweeter than winning the event. 😀 Imagine how cool it is to get a bib number like that. If I got it in a major event I’d be over the moon.
The race was at 5:30am on the morning of 28th December. My dad was nice enough to drop me off at the race. There were some RJ’s on stage trying to do some kind of exercise, which was funny really. (Thankfully I did not know any of them.) Jothika was there to flag off the run – I’m sure that’s what avid runners care about! But other than such PR stunts, it was a pretty decent race overall – there wasn’t any elevation to speak of, and I have never before run on the Marina in Chennai. (Actually, I haven’t even been to Marina all that much.) The weather was as nice as can be expected for Chennai – a little humid, but perfectly cool otherwise.
I had a pretty decent race overall, except for the left knee niggle which after mile 10 made life extremely difficult. I think I was headed for a PR (personal record) in spite of that,(which is not much considering my previous finish times have been pretty pathetic 🙂 ), but thanks to the distance being miscalculated, I wasn’t able to.
Pretty pathetic miles 11 and 12.
This was ridiculous. There were dancers on stage and stuff, and I couldn’t wait to get out of there. They did give a sandwich and maybe some juice – which I can’t find fault with really. Alas, to add to all the other goof-ups, there was no finisher medal. Sure, I don’t care for such baubles too much, but when it is promised, it should be delivered. They did come good much later by mailing the medal to my address – so yes, they did ‘deliver’ on their promise. 🙂 So, it was ok I guess. My dad took me to a nice restaurant where I had a lime soda, (the price of which was 40 Rs – which I couldn’t digest.) after which we headed home.
My aim is to run a half marathon in every continent eventually 🙂 Unfortunately thanks to the DNF, I’ll have to run again in India – there’s always a next year, and I’ll look forward to running in a bigger event.