With under 2 days to go for the 6th edition of the Bangalore Ultra the buzz is building up among the running community not just in Bangalore but across the country. The Bangalore Ultra is India's 1st and largest Ultra marathon. The event has grown in leaps and bounds since the first edition in 2007 with not only more number of participants each year but also newer categories as well as other innovations from Runners For Life. After 5 years of the race being at Hesarghatta , this year the venue has moved to the bamboo forest off Hennur road which is something for all the ultra runners to look forward. to. There have been a couple of RFL runs at the Hennur road forest route including one in April 2009 when I did the 9th of my 12 marathons in 12 months. The new route for the ultra seems to be flatter and less uneven apart from being a 25Km loop (12.5Km out and 12.5Km back) instead of 12.5Km loop. From a logistics and organisation perspective it will be challenging for Runners For Life - as there will be no support of a resort. Port-a-potties, changing rooms, large holding area, food, waste management etc will need to be taken care of. With the experience of over 5 years in organising high quality running events behind them I expect RFL to do well and meet the runners expectations. 24 hours run and splitting the event between 2 days are the other changes that have been brought in this year.
Since my last marathon - Mohawhk Hudson River marathon on 7th October - I have been in a dilemma as to whether or not to participate in the ultra this year. Had I met my timing goal of 3:38 the decision would have been easy. However, since I am now targeting this time for the SCMM in January 2013 the advice from my coach Bill Pierce as well as running coach Dharam is to skip the ultra and focus on training for the Mumbai marathon. While my head also says I should focus on training for the Mumbai marathon and not run the 50K I decided to go with my heart. Having been involved as a core team member for the 1st edition of the event and having run 50Km or more every year since then I am keen on continuing the streak as long as I possibly can. I am verye xcited about the new route off Hennur road and am glad that I decided to register for the race. Hopefully this will not have an adverse impact on my training for SCMM and more importantly on the race itself. Well one will have to hope for the best.
Though I am in a shape to run the 50Km in about 4:45 or so this year, I am going to try and take it easy and not push myself in order to conserve energies for the next race. My best time for 50Km was 5:22:24 in 2009. I should be able to beat this time comfortably. By what margin depends on how the race goes. My strategy will be to do the 1st loop of 25Km in about 2:18 at an average of 5:30 per Km and try and do the second half in 2:30 at an average of 6 minutes per Km to try and finish around 5 hours. A lot will also depend on the weather on race day - if it rains then this new route is going to be very slushy slowing me down. Very warm weather will also take a toll on the pace in the 2nd half. My main goal with the Bangalore Ultra is not the target time but as always to enjoy the route, race ambiance and the tremendous comradarie of fellow runners doing 50Km or more - I understand that nearly 50 runners are doing either 75Kms or 100Kms or the 24 hours category!!