In 2018, I finally came back to Bangalore (India) after I have not been there for four years. I already noticed in the years before that there are now many running events and even though I checked during my previous visits if there is any during my stay, I was lucky for the first time that there was one now. The event was going to happen on Sunday, 18th of Feb, and It was just 1.5km away from my hotel. The distance was 10k.The biggest challenge however turned out to be not the run but to get the bib number the day before. There was only little information on the net where and how to get that. Only a banner on the registration website indicated that you had to pick it up in the center of Bangalore at the Memorial Church Community Center, which is far away from the actual place of the race.
I was with my friend Praveen and his family on Saturday and since we anyway went for lunch to the center of the city, they were so kind to take me to the bib number pick-up. We then learned that the address that was given for the Memorial Church Community Center was not correct. We drove and asked around for quite some time and just when we were ready to give up, the security guy from the actual Memorial Church was able to guide us to the right direction. Overall, it took in total probably 2-3 hours to get to the pickup and back to Praveen’s house. On our entire journey, Praveen’s wife and their 1 year old son were with us and they were extremely patient. I am still very thankful for that. After all, they spend almost their entire Saturday helping me to participate.
The race was supposed to start at 6am, which is not really my preferred time, but still I managed to get up at 5am. After a short breakfast, I went down on the road to check if there is already some life on the streets. Since there was not, I decided to book a cab even though the starting line was just 1.5km away. The way to the start would lead mainly through industrial and uncrowded area and as such, I was a bit afraid of the street dogs.
At the starting line, everything went very smooth. I estimate there were like 200-300 other competitors and they took it pretty easy, means we did not stand in tight rows and you could still walk to the front easily. The weather was even a bit chilly and it was somehow dusty, though it was still dark.
I started more or less from the frontline and followed the leading group consisting out of five runners. Since there did not seem to be many directly behind me, I tried to stay with that group as I did not want to run alone – again because of the dogs. And yes, I know that I am a “fraidy-cat” :-).
While the first kilometer was more on a side street and there were (almost) no cars driving on our lane, we soon entered the Whitefield Main Road – a multi lane street which was already a bit crowded with cars, rickshaws and buses. There were some guys from the race organization at each junction to – let’s say – influence the traffic a bit, but still the roads were for large parts not closed for the traffic and so you really had to take care about that – in particular since we also ran for some parts on the left hand side, means against the traffic. Fortunately, it soon got light, which helped me to judge if the lights approaching me were from a big bus or just from a small car as it was still a bit dusty.
But back to the race. I somehow stayed behind the leading group, which soon resolved itself a bit and since we also joined the half-marathon runners after 3km, I was not able to really make out how many 10k runners are still in front of me. I personally was able to manage a stable pace of 4:15min/km which matches my current shape pretty well.
On the final kilometers, I knew the track well and we passed my hotel and the SAP office. I could to catch up with one of the runners from the 10k race and so I came in probably in position 4, 5 or 6 in a time of 40 minutes and 40 seconds.
It was an extraordinary experience for me. I am not sure if this run was like a typical Indian running competition but compared to Germany, it was different in some aspects. For instance that you do not only have to focus on your running capabilities, you also need to take care of the Indian traffic. Though I would not recommend to German marathon organizers that they should open the route for cars and buses, it was a nice experience. I am really happy that I could finally participate in a run here. It felt great to be part of the local community. I will keep it in good memory and have one more story to tell :-).
Update 27-Feb-18: Meanwhile the results got published on the net. It turned out that I came in as second. When I read this, I was really surprised because clearly, there were around 4-5 runners in front of me. Probably 2-3 either gave up or got so slow that I did not identify them among the half-marathon runners that I overtook. But the best of all is that I got a price money of 10,000 INR – approximately 125 Euros. I never won that much money before :-).