Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Chennai Marathon 2008

Some months ago, i watched a short clip of the 1982 Boston marathon - Alberto Salazar won that closely fought race. What stayed with me was a line from the commentary - " Salazar runs longer than anyone else at the 'red line' - the point of pain. He continues to run at the red line longer than his fellow runners "

That line was a big motivation for me when i started training 3 months ago . I wanted to run for a good amount of time at the 'red line'. That was the goal, since, i had always given up at the red line.

I can see some improvements - I ran for 2 hours continuously on 2 sundays in the last 1 month (Before this, the longest i've done is 1:35 , for a non-stop run ). My breathing which was shallow, has improved as well. And importantly, i've become more regular at the runs and i run atleast 4 days a week - whether it is at 5 am / 8 am / 1 pm / 8 pm or 1 am ( Yes, i've run at all these times in the last 2 months ).

So, with all of this behind me, i ran the chennai half marathon last sunday - I finished the 21 km in a disappointing 2 hours and 38 mins. Disappointing, since i was targeting an under 2 hour run.

The heat was not the excuse since i was all ready for the big day – I even ran from 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm , one of the Sundays. I trained for the hot conditions. But, i just couldn't change into 'overdrive' mode because of a mild fever i was carrying.

The first 40 mins of the run was smooth for me and I ran at 10+ kmph. Around the 40 min mark, I started to walk... That was the hardest part of the race – the mind playing games and suggesting that I quit the race ( I always had the ‘fever’ excuse ). I decided to walk for a while and shut those thoughts out. It was hard when a fellow runner ( ofcourse, he was being nice :) ) , asked me not to ‘give up’ and run… just the other week, I ran a 2 hour continuous run…

I just decided to finish the race and 2 hour target had to wait for another day. 

I kept walking for another 10 mins and i had a chocolate bar. I decided to walk the ‘shade’ part of the course and run in the sunny parts. Soon, I started running and ran the next 4 km. From then on, running in the sunny parts and walking the in the shades, I managed to complete the run in 2:38. 

It was a great feeling, running the ‘home’ marathon – knew lots of people who were running this one and the encouragements and simply, running with a ‘known face’ kept me going. Towards the end, I ran with Rekha – Shes a mom of 2 and used hit 81 kgs on the scales 3 years ago. Currently, she is possibly one of the fittest women one would meet . Despite the hot conditions, she was pushing herself and we finished the run together.

About the run,


  • Great participation - it was a nice feeling to see so many runners on the road
  • Closed roads - the roads were closed for vehicle traffic for over 3 hours
  • Organisers didn't have a clue on conducting this race - From the BIB distribution, water points, route planning, volunteer involvement and many many more
  • Poor crowd participation ( except for a few sections ) - Run the Mumbai run, to experience the crowd participation
  • It was sad to see the water bottles / polythene covers strewn all over the roads and 'kid' ragpickers going after those - afterall, a lot of us were running to raise money for those kids..
It was clear that the Chennai Marathon has miles to go, before it can hold a world-class , runner-friendly marathon. NOBODY cared about the runners - they are the focus of the running events. The focus was on ' getting the attention' than ' doing the job '.

P.S Thanks to Karthik at chennairunners for the photos.


alpine path said...

Hope you are doing good now. You running despite a fever is appreciable and I know loads of people would have quit at that point. So, mentally, you are one up! So, good job about it!
'It was sad to see the water bottles / polythene covers strewn all over the roads and 'kid' ragpickers going after those - afterall, a lot of us were running to raise money for those kids..' --> Speechlessly sad! Hope the organizers note this.

Archana said...

Good Job da !

Nithya said...

fundu pics KK!! Hope u have a blast at Singapore

Ramya said...

That was a good attempt and a good pic too.

Princess Fiona said...

awesome!!! CONGRATS :) and very nice pic..hope the fever is down!

Karthikeyan....KK said...

@ Alpine - When is your first marathon :P
@ Archu - Thanks. Your 7k ( or was it 13k ) is awesome !
@ Nithya - Thanks Niths. Restart your blog!!
@ Ramya - Thanks.
@ Fiona - Thanks !! when are you joining us for a long run ?