Sunday, December 13, 2009

HM at Bengaluru Midnight Marathon 2009

The 3rd edition of Bengaluru Midnight marathon on 12th/13th December 2009 was definitely much better organised than the last two editions.However, the participation seemed to be lower. Though I did not reach the venue in time to see the 5K run happen I heard that it had far fewer runners compared to last year when a couple of thousand people ran. I rode to the venue with Vinay Chaurasia and Shumit Vatsal after having an ‘early’ dinner around 8PM -we got there by 1030 PM. The bib and timing chip pick up process was quick and smooth. Inside the Sigma Tech Park RFL had setup a stall manned by Arvind Bharati and Nikhil. In that area I met up with a number of RFL runners – several of whom were running the Half.There was a baggage counter conveniently located in the holding area. About 15 minutes to midnight, runners moved over from the holding area to the start line on the road outside the Tech Park. After a couple of announcements including one regarding the run lap having reduced from 2.64K to 2.1xK the run started off exactly at midnight.

About 400 runners must have started the race. While I started with Shumit and Chandra , who like me were planning to do a fast HM, within a few minutes they pulled ahead. I ran a steady pace with the goal of keeping my average pace around 5 mins per Km. Traffic was completely blocked on one side of the road.There were 3 aid stations in the 2.1K stretch which had water and juice.There were adequate volunteers and cops patrolling the area. The route itself had a couple of slight gradients. The chilly night made it a perfect weather for running. I was able to able to keep my target pace in the first half and completed 10.5 Km in about 52 minutes. One had to necessarily slow down at the turn around point. At the far point some volunteers wanted to mark the bib for each loop for which one had to almost stop – this was a bit frustrating and after the second loop I refused as this was upsetting my rhythm. One big advantage of the up and down route was one was able to see and cheer other runners quite often. This resulted in more than usual comraderie amongst the runners energizing them further. I stayed pretty focused on the run and my target time – talking very little with other runners. I managed to sprint the last 500 meters and finish in 1:46:03 as per my Garmin. Though I feel I could have pushed a little bit more and done a sub 1:45 I am quite satisfied that I shaved 3 minutes off my previous PB set over 3 years ago. Official chip timings are still awaited. It should be available here.

The single biggest contingent of runners was from RFL and they all did very well in the race with many of them clocking their PB HM or FM times. Like last year Arvind and Nikhil cheered the runners, took photographs and setup an additional aid station with electral which was definitely helpful for the FM runners. Shumit did an amazing 1:38 Half while Chandra clocked 1:42. Among the FM runners Ashok and Honda San led the pack with Ashok clocking a very impressive 3:13. Several RFL runners had podium finishes including RGI team in the women’s relay, Meher in women’s HM and Amrita in Women’s FM! We left the venue at about 3am just as Ashok and Honda San were on their last lap of the FM. Everyone seems to have had a good run and also lots of fun at this year’s Midnight marathon. So hopefully this event will go from strength to strength as the premier long distance road race in Bangalore!


Tanvir Kazmi said...

Huge congratulations on a great achievement. 1:46 is really amazing and I am sure you will be able to crack 1:45 too the next time. All the best, and see you in Mumbai.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, such detailed accounts help those who are planning to run their first HM in Midnight Marathon. Kudos to you for taking the time to record your experience with a positive attitude!
(I am sick of those who go to running events and complain, complain, complain about the race, city, weather etc).

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