On to the race report.
The Open 10K race was scheduled to start at 8:10 AM at Kanteerava Stadium. There were two holding areas, one for participants with the timing chip and one for the ones without. The people with the timing chips were to be let out on the circuit before the ones without. Although I wanted to get a timing chip for myself, I couldn't and I ended up in the general junta holding area.
When we reached the holding area, the elite men's race was just finishing and elite women were warming up. The elite men's finishers at that time were mostly laggards -- in fact I saw one guy vomit and then dry-heave in the last 400m. The elite women's race was flagged off precisely at 8:00 AM. They covered the first 400 m in 1:20 and proceeded out for rest of the race (there was one elite woman who actually pulled out in the first 300m itself!).
Once the elite women were off the track, the Open 10K participants with the timing chips were allowed to enter the track and shortly the Open 10K was flagged off. The holding areas were big, but the gate to enter the track was pretty small and was causing a lot of clogging. But given that this was India, people rose to the occassion and started jumping the stadium fence directly onto the track -- without going through the gate. The organizers first resorted to polite requests when all that went unheeded, the police started using their lathis -- that seemed to work, I wonder why? I, being the civilized gentleman, chose to go through the gate.
By the time I crossed the start line, it was already 10 minutes since the race had begun. I started my Garmin.
Due to the rains yesterday, the weather was really good. The sun was behind the clouds and a nice breeze was blowing. I managed to keep my 5:00/KM target pace for the first 3 KM. At the 4 KM mark, the road became narrow and there were a lot of walkers, stoppers, and slow runners; due to which I had to weave in and out quite a bit. Another thing which I noticed near the 4 KM mark, was there were a lot of people who resorted to taking short cuts -- part of the stretch from the 4 KM to 7 KM was out-and-back -- shame on them!
The heavy crowd continued to the 6 KM mark, following which there was a slightly uphill stretch. All of that slowed me down. The uphill stretch went till 7 KM mark, after which it was familiar territory -- Cubbon Park. At the 9 KM mark, I was 30 s off pace. I wanted to increase my speed, but however hard I tried there were enough slow-movers ahead of me. In fact, towards the end, I couldn't even cut loose and manage a sprint.
At the end my Garmin told me that I finished the race in 50:36. More than a minute better than my previous personal best (which was on the treadmill by the way), but still short of my sub-50 min target time.
All said and done an overall good and well organized race. The route was well marked, there were enough water stops (although I didn't use any), and everything was on time. I enjoyed the race and hopefully next time I will do much better.
- Finish the distance -- PASS
- Get a personal best -- PASS
- Finish Sub-50 min -- FAIL
- Finish Sub-48 min -- FAIL
- Win the Open 10k -- FAIL