Paul V’s Mumbai Half Marathon – Part 2

Race day started with the alarm waking us at 4.15. We prepared sleepily and had a banana for breakfast before getting into the car at 4.45. The trip to the start line took about 45 minutes and we were herded into our various starting places.

Peter was in the C start and me in the D. C was for expected times of 90 to 120 minutes and D was for 120 to 140 minutes.  There were 16,000 runners for the half marathon and the buzz was good. There were very few Westerners running and so I as  an old man and a Westerner was a novelty and I felt like the local freak show as everyone wanted to chat and shake my hand. But it was all good humoured and they were very welcoming and pleased that I had made the trek from Australia to their city of which they are very proud.

There was a countdown and the race commenced at exactly 6am. The first hour of the race was in the dark and it was a good experience. The opening three kilometers were over a bridge and parts of this had no street lights so we we ran by moonlight. I settled into a 6 min per k pace, which was my optimistic goal. Monisha and myself ran together for the first twelve kilometres but then we hit a hill and I was unable to keep up.  For the next couple of k’s I could see her, but then lost track and was alone – well with 16,000 others actually. I slowed down towards the end and the last two k’s took forever! In fact the last 100 meters felt like an eternity.

The route was interesting as most of it was along the waterfront. We did run past one slum where the early morning slum dwellers watched and must have been convinced that we were all mad. And I am sure that they were right too. Fortunately the pollution that had hung around the city for most of the week largely cleared by Sunday morning as there was a strong wind on Friday and Saturday. However there were a few sections where I found breathing somewhat difficult and the odours were, well, quite disgusting is the only way I can describe them.

There were water stations every 2 or 3 kms along the way and at some of these fruit and biscuits were also available. Although the race started at 6 am there were still crowds cheering us along. At a bend  about a kilometre from the finish the crowd was seven or eight deep and they made plenty of noise. There was music through loud speakers, live bands and chanting crowds along the route.  Some groups were dressed uniformly and may have been religious. Every one was having a day out and there were happy and smiling faces in the crowd. I received many calls along the way of “well done old man” or “keep going old man” and it did give me some encouragement to keep going.

I was happy to finish in 2 hours 15 mins and 14 seconds, crossing the line and immediately finding a seat. The Indian runners were great and many people came over with water for me and they all wanted to chat. It was difficult to talk but I did appreciate the silver service – so different to a Sydney Morning Herald Half from a couple of years ago when we were restricted to one bottle of water each.

There was no harassment to keep moving along when you finished as the finish area opened up to a wide expanse where medals were given out along with a kit containing fruit juice, chocolate and an apple. A young beggar benefitted from my pack. There was a large massage area where anyone who wanted was given a two minute leg massage. The medical tent appeared busy and I saw a couple of runners being carried in on stretchers.

After the race I went back to the hotel which was nearby and watched some of the race coverage on TV.  The marathon started at 7.30 am.  The race was televised live with the coverage starting at 5am and going through till midday. The top 10 places in the marathon went to Kenyans and Ethiopeans with 8 Kenyans in the top 10 in the mens race and 8 Ethiopeans in the top ten in the womens race. The winning time in the men’s marathon was 2.09.33 and in the womens race it was 2.28.08.

Later in the day I talked to several of the top ten finishers and they all said that the pollution was a problem and that for them breathing had been difficult. And for them it was a good payday. The prize money was not a fortune by international standards but for them, even the minor place getters won enough to live on for several months in Kenya and Ethiopia.

I might just make this an annual pilgrimage. It’s a crazy city, but the people are wonderful and the race is really well organised.

For more information visit the website: http://procamrunning.in/scmm/

18

MARATHON – TOP 10 Men

RANK BIB NO.
NAME
NATIONALITY FINISH TIME

1

10

EVANS RUTO

KEN

2:09:33

2

4

LAWRENCE KIMAIYO

KEN

2:09:45

3

9

PHILEMON BAARU

KEN

2:09:58

4

11

STEPHEN CHEBOGUT

KEN

2:10:56

5

12

ISHHIMAEL BUSHENDICH

KEN

2:11:18

6

14

JUILIUS CHEPKWONY

KEN

2:11:37

7

1

EVANS CHERUIYOT

KEN

2:12:08

8

6

HAILU MEKONNEN

ETH

2:12:17

9

17

WOSEN ZELEKE

ETH

2:12:54

10

7

KENNETH MUNGARA

KEN

2:14:13

MARATHON – TOP 10 WOMEN

RANK
BIB NO. NAME NATIONALITY FINISH TIME

1

51

DINKNESH MEKASH

ETH

2:28:08

2

67

GLADYS KIPSOI

KEN

2:29:53

3

63

BIZUNESH URGESA

ETH

2:30:00

4

52

ETALEMAHU KIDANE

ETH

2:31:53

5

53

ASNAKECH MENGISTU

ETH

2:32:42

6

54

ABERU MEKURIA

ETH

2:33:21

7

61

EHITE BIZUAYEHU

ETH

2:33:48

8

59

TSEGA GELAW

ETH

2:34:35

9

62

ALEM KIFLE

ETH

2:35:13

10

58

EUNICE KALES

KEN

2:36:02

HALF MARATHON

TOP OVERALL MEN

FINISH POSITION BIB NO. NAME NATIONALITY FINISH TIME

1

8035

INDRAJEET PATEL

IND

01:04:56

2

8001

SOJI MATHEW

IND

01:05:45

3

8015

MAN SINGH

IND

01:06:17

4

8005

BALIAPPA A B

IND

01:06:23

5

37022

DEEPAK KUMBHAR

IND

01:06:38

TOP OVERALL WOMEN

FINISH POSITION BIB NO. NAME NATIONALITY FINISH TIME

1

8051

SUDHA SINGH

IND

01:18:24

2

8052

KAVITA RAUT

IND

01:21:15

3

8059

KIRAN SAHDEV

IND

01:21:57

4

18542

Aarthi Venkatesan

IND

01:22:53

5

8058

HEENA MALI

IND

01:24:08