The sunfeast 10K could have been better organized was the overriding thought as we boarded our evening flights (all delayed as usual) to Mumbai.
All of us Mumbai runners met at the Expo on Saturday afternoon as pre-planned i.e. myself, Ashok, Hemant, Krishna, Milan. Surprised to see Apurba as we did not expect him at the event, more surprises was to follow. Also met Arvind Bharati of RFL at their stall. That evening it rained heavily in Bangalore. I am sure all of us thought – great, now for a PB here.
The next morning i.e. Sunday a.m. we again ran into each other at the indoor stadium, which was filling up soon. Here we ran into another surprise in the form of Mahadev Samjiskar who was there in full readiness for the event. We did not know Samjiskar was running that day. Also ran into Arvind Krishnan of the RFL.
The elite men’s event started at 7.10 a.m. followed by women’s event at 8.04 a.m. It was magnificient watching these elite athletes in full flow because they did two laps of 400 metres at the start of the race, which itself was awesome.
At 8.10 a.m. precisely, the open event started with chaos as the opening gate was very narrow and people were bounding up the fencing and jumping down the tracks to join the race. At the start there was much chaos with runners forced to do zig-zag due to the number of runners and walkers also. The roads were bit narrow and by this time the sun was up beating down hard on the runners. The running crowd deterred any attempt at ramping up the pace upto 3.5 kms after which it started offering some leeway to the runners. The route was changed this year and therefore did not pass through the Ulsoor lake, which would have been pleasant.
I saw Veera thrice on the opposite direction and sub-consciously decided I needed to catch up with him. Ashok left me at about 3.5 kms mark and I saw Samjiskar buzzing past at around 3 kms mark. Hemant and Apurba of course flew away much before that, I did not encounter them at all.
I reached 5 kms mark at 33 minutes which was not a good pace and thought I needed much catching up to do and therefore, I picked up pace from 7 kms onwards to ensure a decent timings, now that a 10K PB was out of the window. By the time we reached the Raj Bhavan I was into a decent pace and crossing one runner after another. I passed Veera inside the Cubbon park with about 1.5 kms to go and went for sprinting in the last 0.5 kms to register a decent time of 1.03.57 hours (PB in Bangalore), not much of an effort, but considering the summer run, was satisfied overall. The dream of running a sub-1 hour 10k remains.
Few negative points about the run – there were too many loops, narrow roads, not much cheering crowd. Positives – sufficient water stations on the route.
Now for the August i-Race 10K at IIT Powai