I completed the 3rd edition of this 10K race with my (borrowed) Garmin showing 49:46(gun time). I expect the chip timing,which will come out in the next few days, to be about 20 to 30 seconds faster probably close to my timing of 49:32 in the 2009 Nike Human Race. In any case my timing this year is likely to be about 45 seconds slower than last year. I can think of lots of factors to justify this: the cluttered, chaotic start with hundreds of runners jostling to move from the holding area to the start point, the stomach upset since Friday night, too many U turns in the route, niggle in the left calf and ofcourse the more than expected heat. However, the bottom line is that I am not cut out for running at a fast pace , that is, I have dominance of the 'slow twitch muscle fibers' vis-a-vis 'fast twitch muscle fibers' . Which means I can run at a decent average pace for a longer distance rather than run at a very fast pace for a shorter distance. Therefore I think it will be near impossible for me to better the 10K personal best of 48:24 that I achieved in last year' s race.
The elite men's and women's winners finished in 27:54 and 31:58 respectively. The complete results should be available here in the next day or two.
Rahul and I, along with Adam and Vidhya from our appartment community, took the bus to Kanteerva stadium this morning. We left home around 6:55am , caught a bus around 7:10am and were comfortably in the holding area around 7:30am just a few minutes before the first of the elite men's finishers came into the stadium. The holding area started to fill up quite rapidly and by the time the women's event flagged off at 8am the area was jam packed. When the gate in the fence separating the holding area from the tracks in the stadium was opened at about 8:05am there was a mad rush to get out of the holding area. I was scared that I might get injured while being shoved down the steps. Several runners just climbed over the fence. So before I could even get to the starting line the race was flagged off. The whole arrangement in the holding area was highly disappointing for a race that has the IAAF gold label and is apparently one of the most prestigious 10K races in the world! Another standout was the absence of restrooms in the holding area - at least there should have been signs pointing runners to the nearest restrooms.
I turned on my Garmin as the race started and it was about 20-25 seconds before I crossed the starting line. With an estimated 6000 runners in the open 10K I found the first 1.5 Km to be very crowded and tough to break away. The first few hundred metres was at an average pace of 6:15 per Km - my target average pace today was 4:45 in order to finish below 48 minutes. I was never able to achieve this average pace. After about 2Km I managed to get to about 4:47 per Km and stayed around that past the half way mark. Around the 5Km mark I passed Amrita - a brilliant women's marathoner while Vasu another runner from BHUKMP surged past me soon after. I started to slow down again after the Kamaraj road U turn which BTW was the 4rth U turn in the course and had a upward gradient on the return leg. The heat was also beginning to have an impact. My goal now was to keep my pace around 5 mins per Km and the average below 4:50. I did not stop by at any aid station except once. Nevertheless, the average pace crept upto 4:53 by the time I touched the 8Km mark near Vidhan Soudha. I pushed as hard as I could for the last 2Kms - around this time Neera , a fast women's runner, surged ahead. I managed to complete with my clock showing an average pace of 4:51 and a distance of 10:25Kms in 49:46!! Heartfelt thanks to Meher for loaning me her Garmin - if not for constantly monitoring my pace via this device I would have probably finished 3-4 minutes slower. See here for this year's route.
Of course, I met up with a lot of familiar runners in the finish area. Some like Honda-San seemed to have done extemely well - he finished in about 40 minutes. Many did their PB timings while a few people I met were slower than last year's timing by a minute or two. My brother Chandru completed in 1:04 while Rahul and my brother's son Akshay did their first 10Km race in a very creditable 1:20! While this event is here to stay as a premier road race in Bangalore and the season opener I hope the organizers do better in terms of facilities and infrastructure to cater to the growing number of participants.