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The Chennai marathon or actually the half-marathon was an eye-opener for me. This was my first attempt at running a long race. I had run 5K (5 km or 3.12 miles) before in the US. I had run 10miles, altho not in a race, on two earlier occasions. So this was going to be tough, but turned out, not what i expected at all.
This was also the first race, i was participating in India, and so it offered opportunities to compare between races in the US and here. Well, this makes sense today, only because the organizers were trying to break the Boston Marathon record in terms of participation.
So the marathon got off to a funny start, with the MC messing up statements in both english and tamil. It was quite funny, and it helped tho, easing all tensions one would have had running a big race. There were about 3-5 of us, really enjoying this chap and his comments. Then the guests, chief and otherwise, all added their bit of spice. Since things were comical now, anything anyone said seemed funny. What a mood to kick off the race.
We started off, a little after 6:30am. There were huge number of people, and being one among the crowd it was difficult to count. My race took me exactly 3 full hours to complete. I couldnt take the heat, after crossing the 9km mark, and having had a bottle of water, i was also feeling heavy. I quickly slowed the pace, and was soon walking. Once you are in the almost given up state, it is difficult to get the body to kick start again. And i never did. The heat only added ammunition for my body to fight of any remaining will power. I was reduced to walking, jog, walking, jog, for the remainder of the 21km.
A few good things about the support structure that helped the race. There were cops all along the route to help keep things under control and help with traffic and pedestrians etc. There were also limited but essential first-aid counter, specializing in physio-therapy etc.
Now the bad. Not a single portable toilet at the start or anywhere on the route. It is rare that you would need to piss when you are perspiriing, but still biology is biology.
Very limited water. The sun was up by 6:45, and shining hard. Water was plentiful in the beginning. It vanished from the 5K point till about the 8K point. Then there was far and few. It may also be, that they were only serving the ones that were doing good pace. Because as i was running i did see signs of water (bottles,caps,sachets etc), but no one around serving any more. By the time i was doing the home strecth from about the 15km down, water was completely missing. By now, the sun was bearing down hard. No wonder that there were more people breaking down and seeking help. More ambulances flying back and forth.
All in all, it was a pleasurefull personal experience. However, i wish the organizers of the next one take more care.