Date: 11th December, 2010 (Saturday)
Venue: Varthur Road, Bangalore (near forum value mall)
Weather: Temperature of ~20 degC, slight breeze with partially clouded winter sky, boasting of crescent moon, made a perfect weather for a marathon.
Races: IT city run, Corporate relay, Half Marathon, Full Marathon, Community relay & Rotary relay.
Concept: Mid-night marathon is a unique concept, where race is organized in night. In short, under artificial man-made light & not natural one. In fact, Bangalore is the first city on Earth to host event, way back in 2007. I am proud, that my life’s first marathon participation was infact, in that historic moment.
Highlight of event:
1) First, it was of a person of nationality, zooming past crowd with his kid in a baby trolley. While, trolley was travelling with speed greater than 10kms/hr, kid inside was busy having his/her milky dinner.
2) Second, those of school kids, who were running as if it was a school sports day. In fact, batches of school kids were leading the race.
3) Ofcourse, me (BIB no. 1199) completing 4.2 KMs in 25 mins, translating to 10KMs/hr of speed.
This was my fifth marathon participation (all in Bangalore) and sadly, this one rates to bottom, because of various reasons:
1) Having participated in IT city run of 4.2 Kms, this was my shortest participation. Having history of two half marathon & 2 X 10K runs, I underestimated myself this time n was cursing myself for this, after race ended, even before I was getting a feeling of marathon participation.
2) The choice of Varthur road as venue also didn’t seem ideal. For me, a marathon track should be one which showcases best part of host city to the extend possible, should be non-repetitive, should be neat, clean, green n least polluted especially in terms of air n noise. Although Varthur road was neat n clean, with tree lined & well paved footpath on both side, but it was too short n so was repetitive (20 rounds of same track to complete a full marathon). It didn’t had even a single Bangalore’s landmark to boast off n was certainly far away from being air n noise pollution free (race n huge traffic were running parallel just a divider away). For sure, choice of Varthur road seemed to be a compromise on behalf of organizers, just for sake of organizing the event.
3) Event again reminded me of my personal impression of Bangalore. Bangalore is full of intelligent people, but with zero common sense. Absence of basic marathon contents like trashbins, mobile toilets n milestone markings, clearly showed a big gap in learning by organizers from previous versions of event. Those basic things, costs nothing n need minimal time investment. So, holding excuse of time n money, will be serious fault on behalf of organizers.
4) The theme run were “Save our planet”, “run for green” etc. But both, participants n organizers doing exactly opposite of that. Organizers didn’t bother to provide any arrangement to avoid trashing, nor did they appeal, for not trashing & participants were all busy in trashing road with water bottles. It was rampant rape of core message n the core message, I felt was: “We are fooling ourselves”.
5) Diversity in crowd was suspiciously missing. Although I am used to half marathon participants, but I am of opinion, this event should have had hmaximum diversity, because of short distance run. I guess, it’s question of publicity.
Having said above, it doesn’t mean there was nothing good in event.
1) It had good parking facility arranged. Future events should learn from this.
2) There was good/adequate entertainment n food arrangement made. Only improvement, I could see, there were on choice of songs that were played. I failed to find any connection of Kal Ho Na Ho songs with the event. I think ‘encouragement’ songs that of movies like Lakshya or udaan or Iqbal, suits the event or may be its matter of choice.
3) There were enough drinking water facility n enough volunteers were there to support the event.
4) Elaborate traffic arrangements were. Although there was a big jam, but I think it’s because of too busy Varthur road. Certainly, Varthur road isn’t an ideal choice for marathon. I guess IT corridors of Whitefield n Electronics City are much better option. I would really prefer latter.
So my suggestion for future organizers:
1) Please ensure basic common things like Dustbins, mobile toilets, well marked milestones n facilities board, all through out the track.
2) Please drive message of cleanliness, before all races.
3) Please use of cheap n mass publicity forums like Social networking sites, student groups etc., for publicity.
4) Please choose a route that truly reflects Bangalore. My suggestion for next venue for sure is EC. It’s landmark of Bangalore, neat, clean n green, with no problems of traffic in weekends.
Overall, it was good to participate after a long time. Surely, looking forward to next half- marathon. Request to all participants, please please donot trash.