Race Report – TCS World 10K Bengaluru – 18 May 2014
I was in doubt till the very end of closing of registrations for TCS World 10K Bengaluru. Finally just two days before it’s closure, I filled in my registration. I had not run a race since last year August Hyderabad Half Marathon.
I had already booked the tickets for Bengaluru to meet my cousin sister who got married last year. And the race happened to take place during that time. What a coincidence!
Hyderabad weather was getting hot since last one month. But the unexpected rains had cooled off a bit of the heat. A call to my sister revealed that Bengaluru was still not reeling under extreme heat. That was a relief!
We traveled in Garib Rath Express from Secunderabad to Yeshwantpur. Yeshwantpur is a hell lot of a distance to where I was going in Bengaluru i.e Kanakpura. So, bad idea to get down there. Anyways, I reached Bengaluru on 16 May. And I was pleasantly surprised that one doesn’t need an air conditioner in a house.
My sister stays in a posh complex. In the evening I went for a relaxed run of half an hour around it savoring the luxuries this society provided like swimming pools, children park, shopping complex, gym, tennis courts and much more. Later we all i.e myself, my wife, my son, my sister and her husband, went out to swim. The most excited one was my little kid but he froze the moment he entered the water. That was his first encounter with water. I did a couple of laps and was mindful not to overdo in enthusiasm.
Next morning, the expo day for foreign and outstation runners, was hot. I went to the expo with my son in an auto rickshaw. The Bangalore traffic is bad with congestion and pollution. I was worried about my son contacting some breathing problems but can’t protect him forever. He needs to brave the elements.
The entrance of Kanteerava Stadium was occupied by strategically located camera persons on small elevated platforms and were preparing for the race day. The actual expo for the the natives took place a week prior in a much grander scale. The bib collection counters were abundant and had long lines on each of them.
My son was getting cranky by now after a 45 minutes auto rickshaw ride and increasing heat. I carried him on my shoulders throughout. We looked remarkable together with both of us wearing green coloured T-shirts.
After collection of bib and goodie bags, which didn’t have a race T-shirt and had all sort of promotional junk, I purchased a book by Amit Seth, Dare to Run(best book on running I have read till date. Review coming soon). There was a Nike T-shirt on sale designed specifically for the event which looked nice but my size was sold out. I slowly made my way out clicking photographs and mentally drafting my blog post on the race.
The evening it rained and became cool. Midnight it rained more heavily and became clammy. My transport came 10 minutes late in the morning and I was worried. I got more worried when I encountered a massive traffic jam at a morning vegetable market on the main road. After moving out from there, my auto rickshaw driver drove like Michael Schumaker. I prayed to stay alive.
I reached the venue at 0550 hours and the race was due to start at 0620 hours. I knew I will not be able to do my warm up which I normally do as I was dropped off almost a kilometre from the Stadium. Though the brisk walk to the Stadium did help to break in a sweat and warm me up. The scene was chaotic at the entrance of the stadium where only two full body x – ray machines were installed for 25,000 runners. There was a lot of jostling around to get in the Stadium through those gates, one by one.
There were long lines in front of the mobile toilets and I felt I also needed to go badly but postponed it for later. I was too excited and worried as I was still searching for Gate No 6 for Group F runners.
After reaching my enclosure, I did few of these warm up exercises and soaked in the electrifying atmosphere. And suddenly there was a commotion in the announcement and the race started. The enclosures were opened one by one and it looked like a scene from a prison break movie. There was utter chaos with 25,000 runners trying to get ahead. However, everyone of them had a smile on their face. I crossed the start line after about 5 minutes and saw Carl Lewis and John Abraham. I clicked a pathetic photograph but more than that I tried to soak in the image with my own eyes.
The race started. By the way, I had forgotten my watch at home so apart from my cell phone, which I was using to click photographs, doubled as a timer. Though I thought at start “to hell with time, let me enjoy the run and views of this city”. I enjoyed the run immensely without having to look at the time.
The weather on the race day had got humid because of last nights rain. I had to pick up a small bottle of water at around 8 k mark. The arrangements for medical aids, water stations and piss points were adequate. Because of the rain, water got accumulated on the road and created a number of bottle necks. Few runners ran through the puddles of water like kids. People were having fun. I was still a bit uptight about wetting my shoes.
Throughout the route there were only few 100-200 metres stretches where I could run freely. Otherwise due to the massive amount of participation, there was hardly any space. I ran mostly on the foot paths to avoid the crowd. There is not much to write about this short run except it was great fun. The route was throughout flat.
There was a massive crowd again at the finish line because of the bottle neck. I was pushed to the refreshment and medal counter along with the sea of runners.And was utterly disappointed when the organizers handed over the food packets with the medal in a zip lock pouch. It was so mechanical and without any personal touch. But I can understand giving personal touch to 25,000 runners is also impossible.
I then loitered around the venue looking for a exit. Then I happened to witness the finish of elite men race and start of elite women race. It was a dream come true for me. I have posted the photographs and videos here and here.
I then moved out of the stadium looking for an auto rickshaw to take me back to my wife and kid. I was satisfied and happy.
1. The event was organised fairly well seeing the number of participants.
2. There were no guides to direct the runners from the parking area to the entry of the stadium. One had to figure it out.
3. Inadequate number of toilets. I saw some males coming out of toilets earmarked for women. Shame on you guys.
4. The medal could have been hung in the neck by the distributors at refreshment counters instead of handing it in zip lock pouches.
5. Adequate markers were required to indicate exit points after finish of the race.
6. I liked the design of the medal. Though the strap looked like that of a corporate office ID card.
7. I didn’t see very many photographers covering the event. Marathon-photos.com clicked an awesome photograph of me but it’s costing me Rs950. It’s too much. Still contemplating whether to buy it or not. What do you guys say?
That’s about all. Hope you all have enjoyed the race recap.
Till then stay fit and keep running.