Saturday, August 28, 2010

Monday, August 23, 2010

1st BNP Half Marathon

The 1st BNP half marathon was successfully held today, Sunday, 22nd August 2010 inside the Borivli National Park in Borivli, suburbs of Mumbai. More than 260 people had registered for this event, registrations for which were open in June 2010 itself on the basis of an online web based form. The event generated much excitement because after the highly rated Mumbai Marathon being held in January every year, this was the first ever half marathon being held in Mumbai. Morever, since the Mumbai Marathon 2011 registrations opened in mid-July, registrations for this event surged tremendously in the last few days. The event was organized by a runners group called RUN RUN RUN… RUN MUMBAI RUN which was on Runners For Life web platform. It was part of its 1st anniversary celebrations event.

The high number of registrations meant the organizers had to work doubly hard to ensure no glitches in the event and therefore hectic work was going on for the last three-four weeks on various matters involved in the organization.

Bibs were printed, km markers designed and printed, medical ambulances arranged, water, biscuits, bananas fetched and hectic confabulations were ongoing between the organizers of the event. Accommodation was arranged inside the BNP for people coming from out of Mumbai for this event. There were runners coming all the way from Chennai, Bangalore, Bina (MP) and Pune specifically for taking part in this event.

Finally D-day dawned on a rainy Sunday morning, the buzz at the BNP was evident at 5.00 a.m. itself, when runners started coming from various places in and around Mumbai. Registration counter was opened at around 5.15 a.m., volunteers assembled and people started collecting their bibs, inquiring about the route, toilets, baggage handling etc. Since the run was held inside the sylvan surroundings of a forest, a pledge was taken by all the runners to protect the environment and to keep the place clean. Instructions were given regarding the route, water stations, medical stations etc. and the race was flagged off sharp at 6.40 a.m. when skies opened up and it started pouring as a sort of divine intervention by the gods.

The route was tough with rolling hills, amidst verdant green wooded forest, with streams in between adding to the allure of the course. The course was a loop of 10.5 kms done twice. There were runners from Kolhapur, Virar, Ahmedabad ,Bangalore, Chennai and M.P. who had come to Mumbai only to take part in this event.

Some amazing statistics:
Out of 79 starters of the race at 6.40 a.m., there were 75 finishers which is an amazing 95% success ratio.

Out of 14 starters in Male Veteran and 9 in Women’s Open, all finished successfully.

We had kept a cutoff time of 3.5 hours from start time to close the marathon. All the runners came home within that time.

There were many runners who had never attempted a 21 kms before today and yet finished successfully.

I am sure there are many runners who have recorded their PERSONAL BEST today despite the BNP route being a tough course with rolling hills, double loop and humidity.

We had Ankush Padawale from Virar first in MEN’S OPEN in a scorching time of 1.25.21 hours RUNNING BAREFOOT

We had Tanaji Nalavade from Kolhapur who started 7.28 mins late due to a miscommunication, was third after the first loop and yet finished a strong SECOND in a time of 1.27.34 hours.

We had B.L.I. Bosco from Chennai (winner of the Auroville full marathon in 2010) who had come down to Mumbai specifically for this event, THIRD in a 1.31.10 hours.

Darshana Khandekar of Virar finished FIRST in the Women’s Open in a strong time of 1.49.07 hours

Mithika D’Cruz of Ahmedabad (who had also specifically come down to Mumbai only for this race) finished SECOND in a time of 2.06.06 hours, HER FIRST ATTEMPT AT 21K EVENT.

Roshni Rai, finished THIRD in a strong time of 2.06.06, her PERSONAL BEST EVER for this distance, truly the FLYING RA(N)I of Mumbai.

In the Men’s Veteran Category, APURBA DAS, the marathon monk from Mumbai finished FIRST in a time of 1.50.06 hours, a strong second loop.

BHASKER DESAI, the evergreen runner finished SECOND in a time of 1.52.01 hours- what to say about Bhasker, words fail this amazing runner.

ALLAN D’SOUZA, finished a close THIRD in a time of 1.53.03 hours, a brilliant effort on his first ever run at the BNP.

The runners were provided with water, glucose biscuits, electral, during the race and after it as well. All the runners were vociferously supported including the one who finished last. We had a person going up and down on cycle ensuring that no runner loses his route and also picking up the used empty bottles and caps from the road. Water stations and medical stations were kept at every 2.5 kms thereby ensuring that no runner goes without water for a long time.

Overall it was a tremendous effort in organizing a running event by the running community in Mumbai for the RUNNERS.

Some pictures of the event are posted here