Sunday, December 11, 2011

Bengalore Midnight Half Marathon my first official marathon

This was my first Half Marathon (also an official one).  I was with my family and all of us had an exciting opportunity to be part of this event which brings in some of the best athlets from India and few foreign runners.

http://www.midnightmarathon.in/ - the only popular midnight marathon in India 21k and 42k are popular among the first timers since the run starts at 12.00 am on a Sunday morning.  I ran my first 21k in 2011 and my first full marathon in 2012.  

My overall impression:  Bangalore night time weather in December is very cold.  Ensure you have adequate layers of T-shirts, light gloves and head bands which covers your ears too.

But if you are first timer...looking forward to stay away from the sun --- go for it....entry fee is slightly on the higher side and disappointingly the organizers don't provide post run refreshments....there are some stalls available where one can buy some food.  The weather in Bangalore could be really cold during that early morning hours.

While I thoroughly enjoyed being part of this fabulous event (bib number 770), I still felt there were few elements that could have been well handled.
  • Crowd support - its really nice during the first 2 hours - after that you are all your own.
  • Entry fee - is is high, no T shirts and no post run refreshments provided.
  • Dogs - many of them barking from both sides of the roads, quite scary
  • Pollution - There were several generators used to light up the entire route.  The generates vehicle were kept in a direction that the spoke pipe directly was spewing at the running track.  I nearly chocked couple of time.  
  • Route - The running track (road) was open only one side and in both direction the runners were flowing.  Obviously many did not follow any lane discipline - I nearly collided head on with another runner who came in the opposite direction at the blind turns.  Some advice related to running discipline can be published in the web sites - it really doesn't help otherwise.  I personally did not like the route, its a 4 kms repeat and a very boring loop.
  • Race vehicle - There was a White Scorpio covering live event was blocking the road, the Headlights were blinding, after the first loop there were runners all through the track and the Scorpio was also continuously honking.  There were many organizers riding in bikes through the route.  I'm glad to know that the event ended with no one being hit by these moving vehicles.
  • Water and food supply - The water supply was adequate, but instead of 1/2 liter water distribute 100 ml or 200 ml pet bottles, that’s all needed and can avoid a lot water been wasted.  The runners generally had two - three sips and were throwing the bottle in the streets - I managed to chuck all of them inside the medians.  They heavy bottles were obstructing the runners and there was one runner who lost his balance after stamping on a bottle which was rolling down the road (due to slope...and the bottle was cylindrical)
  • PA system - The PA system had the sound levels possibly to its lowest decibel.  Many people standing in the back side couldn't here.  Especially when the instructions were given on how to stamp on the timing pads.  The instructions could be posted on the website - may be a video link to YouTube on how to stamp on it while running.
  • Corporate relay - The corporate relay also has started at the same time and suddenly there were a lot of people - chaos.  There were many corporate relay supporters after the starting point - shouting and screaming (in the name of cheering) this caused a lot of disturbance to other runner.  The corporate teams could be advised enter the tracks after the event begins.
  • Route maps - The route maps published in the internet can have the route marked in Google maps, the parking arrangements were not clearly mentioned anywhere in the site.  I was skeptical about the whole thing but when I reached the venue I was pleasantly surprised to see ample parking space available.

I'm completely aware that such large public events can't be organized while keeping everyone happy.  Also with so many restrictions laid by the local authorities concerning safety and security.  

Tata Mumbai Marathon, did they compromise the runners safety and experience?

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