More about me as a runner

2017 Target Events

  • 15th Jan - Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon - 3:49:54
  • 12th Feb - Auroville Marathon HM - 1:46:28
  • 29th April - Western Pacific Marathon
  • 15th October - Bangalore marathon - tentative

Blog Archive

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Auroville 2011 report..finally

Six weeks after Auroville marathon 2011  and after  my first 25K+ run   since that event this morning,  I decided it is hightime to post the detailed report that I have been doing usually after an event. This was the fourth edition of the event and my 3rd year of participation. I enjoyed the run, the trail, the volunteer support and overall ambience thoroughly and completed in 4:12 - my best ever finish in a trail marathon. Following is my  timings in all the five  trail marathons that I have run:
  • Kaveri Trail Marathon 2008         4:42:19
  • Auroville Marathon 2009             4:23:25
  • Auroville Marathon 2010             4:36
  • Kaveri Trail Marathon 2010         4:32
  • Auroville Marathon 2011             4:12
The experience was even more enjoyable as this was the first time that my brothers and I participated in a long distance(>10Km) event together. Both Chandru and Mahesh ran the HM. This was also the first 10Km completion for my cousin Raji and my wife Asha - who mostly walked the distance without registering and without  any preparation whatsoever.

With Mahesh and Chandru

Asha and Raji

Of course the experience was not without its share of mis-adventures. First of all we left Bangalore aroun 1:15PM almost 2  hours later than originally planned. We stopped at Adyar Ananda Bhavan after Hosur for lunch. After an hour since we restarted from there I realised that I had forgotten my digital video camera there. Though I was able to reach the restaurant manager who confirmed that they had the camera and would keep it for me till Monday evening this was not a good start as it left me feeling a bit low. Thanks to fellow runner Ravi Venkatesam warning me about the bad road from Tiruvanamalai, we decided to take the longer route via Ginjee. We reached the Auroville visitors area at about 8PM - thanks to the confident driving  skills of Gopal.  The bib collection process took just a couple of minutes and we rushed for the pasta dinner immediately after that. While most of the runners had left after finishing their dinner there were still several familiar faces around - Rajesh Vetcha from Hyderabad, Athreya and then of course the BHUKMP runners Amrita, Rishi, Nari, Chandra etc who came for dinner even after us. The food was much better than last year - there was pasta, lasagne and salad and once could go for the seconds. After dinner we dropped my cousin Raji at her dorm accommodation and went to Ginger Hotel in Pondicherry. After checking in and a quick prep for the run(pinning the bib etc) I went to bed at about 1030 PM.

I slept reasonably well and woke up at 320am , as usual, before my alarm rang. After getting ready I met up with Jugy and others in the lobby a little after 4:10am. As we were about to leave in Jugy's vehicle a bunch of Mumbai FM runners(6-7 of them) who had missed the bus hitched a ride with us to the  visitors area of Auroville. The candle lit path from the parking area to the starting point was quite unique and eerie. As I got caught up chatting with other fellow runners I realised, with just 5 minutes, to go for the race start that I had forgotten to collect the torch. In my hurry to get one I bumped into a metal pole - I was fortunate not to get hurt. The race started a couple of minutes after 5am. It looked like there were about 175 FM runners.  Over 150 runners running with a torch for the first hour or so is a very unique feature of Auroville. The last two years the route had road surface the first 2 Kms or so going through a village. This year the route was changed with all but about 2Kms of the 21Km loop being trail. The course was mostly flat with the most difficult stretch being the one with the beach sand.

 I always tend to run the first hour slowly at Auroville as I am not sure of the surface with all its undulations and risk of injury due to a mis-step. I started the race with Prateek who had to dropout early due to a bad stomach. Then I had the wonderful company of Sridhar and Partha. Around the seventh Km or so my right leg got caught in a thorny branch which brought me to a grinding halt. I carefully removed the branch and re-started my run. Though there was some initial pricking ,I soon forgot about it and  covered the first 12Km in 75 minutes or so. From around the 18Km mark I ran with Senthil Anand of Chennai - we run at pretty much the same pace. I crossed the half way mark in about 2:05 - which meant I was well within my goal of finishing between 4:30 and 4:45.

As we started the 2nd loop we caught up with Rishi and Amrita and then the biggest mis-adventure happened. We missed a turn and got to the aid station around 23Km mark with our Garmins showing a lower distance. So the four of us ran back , in the opposite direction, to make for up this distance and then caught up with the regular route around 25Km. During this stretch I saw Asha doing her 10Km walk and stopped to take a couple of picutres with my Blackberry - sadly they did not come out very well. On top of everything else my shoelaces came off a couple of times. Regardless, around the 32Km mark I got a new burst of energy ,picked up pace and pulled ahead. I was able to run a strong pace of around 5:45 per Km finishing the race  in 4:12. During this stretch I ran alone completely focused on the run. I felt happy about beating my goal comfortably despite the getting entangled in a thorny branch and losing my way in the 2nd loop.

The breakfast of Idli/Vada and pongal was quite fine. Also caught up with other fellow finishers, my brothers, wife and cousin before leaving the finish area.  Ashok's 3:13 finish(faster than even Mumbai) is really amazing. Sustaining such pace with the first hour in darkness and on the uneven surface is something. The volunteers at the aid stations were enthusisastic as usual - continually encouraging all the runners. The only disappointing bit , specially for first time finishers, was the absence of medals for finishers.  Anyway, most participants affirmed that they would certainly want to participate in this event in the future years.  While walking back to the car I bumped into Amit Seth (of Comrades marathon 'Dare to run' fame) and his wife and chatted briefly with him.

I had a relaxing time the rest of the Sunday - doing some sightseeing. There was hardly any fatigue due to the run - in fact the recovery also was quite quick.  Asha and I then drove back to Bangalore on Monday  14th reaching around 7 PM evening.


D said...

I don't know how I missed reading this. You have some determination to generate 5:45 pace towards the end after so many misadventures! Well done Bhasker. As always, we learn from you. And congratulations to your wife too for her 10K.

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