Monday, October 17, 2016

Why I Should Not Run Bengaluru Marathon (Full) Again?

Bengaluru is often identified as Running capital of India. One can easily find thousands of runners at various events all round the year. There are 25+ well known running groups in Bengaluru. You will see hundreds of runners in Cubbon park, Bengaluru University, Lalbagh, GKVK etc on any given day. And many more on weekends. 

Bengaluru didn't have full city marathon event for long time though. A full marathon event started in 2005 was closed down soon. Runners for life, organiser of Bengaluru Ultra, KTM and Urban Stampede; who can be credited to one of bootstrapper for Bengaluru running culture, also never had a city full marathon. Finally, in 2014, NEB sports under banner of Shriram Properties Bengaluru marathon got a full marathon to city.

I did not participate in first edition of this marathon. Last year, I registered for half. And finally decided to go for a full this year. It had good early start of 4:45 am. Perfectly suited for Indian weather. Most of roads were closed on one side for traffic and was marked as running route while other side of road was being used for both way traffic. I was having good fun till I hit about 17 or 18 km at Old Madras Road (approximately 6:45 am). After this another side of road filled with both ways traffic was totally impatient. There were honking insanely (Not new for any part of India and actually a culture issue). Junctions were chaotic. Though runners were at that moment given preference, this was no idea of having fun. Indira nagar felt similar.  Also, noticed a traffic cop physically hitting a commoner. Heard from friend in Koramangla area who could not even go out as both roads to his home was blocked. And some vegetables vendors were caught off guard and stuck helplessly. 

I, as runner,  was responsible for this chaos in city for participating in this event. It was either not being executed properly. Or, Bengaluru is not good for organising a full city marathon where traffic could be closed / diverted in some part of city. City marathons are common across world. They are like celebration and fest. They are extremely well organised with many folds runners compared to Bengaluru marathon. Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon too has done it extremely well when I participated in full marathon there in 2012 and 2013.

Karma of causing pain to so many people came soon back to runners. At around 32 km (approximately 8 am), I faced WTF moment. A bus came too close to me on my right. I jumped on footpath. (Fortunately there was one). Traffic was supposed to be closed till 11 am. But here I am running along traffic at around 8 am. And this was just start. At junctions, vehicles were being given first preference. Runners were being stopped. And that is extremely frustrating. Happened at three junctions. At one of junction, a volunteer tried to help me but got shouted upon by traffic cop. Yes, that happened. I wonder what is agreed between traffic police and event organisers. But there was definitely gap on what I expected as participant and what happened. A volunteer quietly told me to run on footpath. He was actually helping me. It was absolutely risky for me to run along or opposite to traffic on road. On MG Road, water and aid stations were on footpath side of road while running route was marked near the median of road. And there was free flowing traffic between us. Risk your life buddy if you want some aid. :) Seriously, was this as planned? Fortunately, Post 37 km run was in and around Cubbon Park which was better in terms of traffic. (There were problem with aid stations though). But those 5 kms was good enough to kill the running joy.

Yes, I am a slow runner. I finished 4:39:08. But I finished 234th out of 688 full marathon finishers. So, even 33% of full marathon finishers didn't get the promised space to run.

As I said earlier, probably Bangalore isn't good for organising a full city marathon. May be roads grids don't support to close or divert traffic for parts of city. There are certainly few things which could have been done better in terms of organising event. But I doubt if we would have still ensured that common people isn't affected by run. I think I should skip running full marathon in Bengaluru. A half marathon or 10k would be preferred (causing lesser trouble for others). Btw, I have seen similar issues in Hyderabad Marathon in 2013. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

TCS 10K - Over the years - On the map

I have been running Bangalore open 10K since 2010. It was called Sunfeast 10K then. Since 2011, it has been named TCS 10K. While major part of route has remain unaltered. every year there has been slight changes in route. In fact, 2015 route resembles 2010 closely.

In following map, I have added routes from years - 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015 in one map. I have lost GPX data for 2010 and 2014. I will try to recreate that by hand or will need to see if I can get it from elsewhere. You may click on drawer icon on left hand top menu of map  and select the years that you want to see / compare.

Full map also available at