ICT 10 KM Marathon :25/03/2018

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ICT 10 KM marathon: Sunday, 25th march 2018

(Photos Credit :Chinmay Mhatre,
Sahil shikalghar,
Varun katoch)

Running a paid 10 km marathon usually not quite appealing to me. Our one standard loop in Borivali National Park (water station near main gate till Kanheri steps: more than 12km) is far superior and simply incomparable to any 10 km route.

It is also challenging as you have one killer incline which comes exactly midway.

Most of the runners go for 10 km for three reasons.

  • Newbies : who are just venturing into the world of running so 10 km races are quite ideal for them.
  • Serious runners aim for PBs or very serious runners aim for podium. Some smartly weigh the competition and aim for the 10km races where they are sure of their chances of a podium finish.
  • Some of the 10KM races are qualifiers for 21.1km races.

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Also getting up early, traveling to the race venue, parking and finally returning from 10km race require similar efforts to that of 21.1km.

Usually for 10 km, I prefer BNP as it is home ground.

There is still one main attraction: running in the new geography, which just cannot be replicated. One has to be there to enjoy the new route. An organised race makes your run more enjoyable, secure and you have one official record!

Institute of chemical technology ‘s ( ITC ) 10km marathon is allowing the runner to run in and around wadala including five gardens area.

What is surprising is the registration fees of Rs 300. At this price it must be one of the most economical race in a metro city like Mumbai.

I ask Sheila and she is also ready to run in central suburbs.

Bib collection is quite easy as our own BNPGR members are pacers. Falguni and Arsalan are leading 75 minutes and 50 minutes buses.

Running with Arsalan during Holi run was quite interesting as I could run with him and Divya , I could effortlessly complete 10km in 66 minutes.(https://shaileshharani.com/2018/03/04/holi-in-life-colours/ )

At the end of run I had asked Arsalan to lead me for a 10 km run within 60 minutes .

Unfortunately in ICT he is leading a 50 minutes bus. This is way beyond my dreams .I ask him to talk to 60 minutes pacer.

When I ask him to help us with BIB collection , he willingly agrees .No questions asked . No if or buts .” Yes I will do it !”He even offers to bring the bib to my home or office. Asking for help regarding BIB collection within runners community can be quite interesting. Some love to help . Some are so resourceful that they take care of dozens of BIBs. Some smartly avoid. Some remain confused . Some confuse you by saying they want to help you but at the same time throw numerous logistics related queries which only makes you wonder “ oh why did I ask for the help ??”

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D-day minus one:

I am returning from work from vasai. I call up Arsalan. Luck seems to be in my favour as our timings are matching .He is returning back with bibs and has taken train for the same. Soon we meet at Borivali station. He has arranged quite a number of bibs. Over a glass of sugar cane juice , he briefs me about his latest business venture of garments. Inspiring to see someone getting into entrepreneur mode at such a young age.

He also guides : “ Prateek will be pacer for 10km. Please try to reach by 5.15 am and you will be able to park in any of the lanes near ICT.”

D-day:

We are up by 3.30 am .We leave in time and reach ICT by 5.15 am. Reaching early helps as we get parking just in the next lane. As we are walking towards main gate I look around to see dozens of car dropping runners and finding place for parking.

It’s dark and we are trying to find hold up area. The walk towards the holdup areas take us around the campus. All stone , gothic buildings remind me of our College of engineering , Pune.

Of course COEP is spread on huge campus area and is not congested. ICT ( the earlier UDCT) is in Mumbai and every sq feet is important.

ICT(UDCT ) is blessed with rock solid alumnae. Being one of the oldest premium ( and kind of monopoly for many years ) institute ,” who is who” of Indian chemical/pharma/paint industries has her/his routes in ICT.

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Soon we are in astro turf area. They have divided runners into different zones. The segregation is age wise. We meet Varun at the entrance. It’s great to see running coaches at the race venue to help and support their students/prodigies. It really helps and inspires.

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The coach has to sacrifice his time and energy in morning hours to be with his runners. Inside the astro turf we meet Aaadesh with his fitizen team. Nishant wishes us all the best .He has also recently joined fitizen. With all the young coaches around it looks like today is going to be PB ( personal best ) day for many !!

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Soon a group warm up session is conducted. It is a unique warm up . A warm up session designed on the theme of Indian folk dance steps.

Soon we try this innovative way of warm up which has little bit of maharshtrian folk to Punjabi bhangra to gujarati garba steps.

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15 minutes before start , all the runners are told to move towards the start line. This leads to confusion. Till now organisers had effectively segregated runners age wise ( as desired by them )in different hold up area. Now we all have merged. What follows are the futile attempts by young team of organisers /chemical technologist to introduce separation technologies ( read techniques ) The road till main starting point involves moving around the buildings.

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At one point Sheila and myself move aside to join the required age group. Soon we realise there are only 6 or 7 of us who are trying to listen to the verbal appeal and trying to move aside ,just to see vast majority rushing towards the start line

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Indians are trained since birth to reach the first position/start lines. Our DNA is getting evolved. Do whatever it takes , but just move ahead, try to be in the first lot.

The age wise start project fails and everyone is on her/his own.

What adds to the confusion is the delayed start. The race starts beyond 5 minutes to the start. By the time humidity and heat builds up. We are in a small lane , waiting for the race to start.

Many of the runners are still confused on concept of Only Gun time. Many are not aware of timing mats at the start line. People waste initial minutes just to locate timing mats.

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Soon we are running. Scene remains crowded and after some manoeuvring I am able to catch my desired 60 minutes bus near maheshwari udyan circle.

I introduce myself and soon Pratik realises that he has one chatterbox in his bus.

Pratik usually runs with dombivali –kalyan group, but avoids getting branded in any sub groups. He was a pacer for 60 minutes bus last year and is repeating his act. As we are running he remains interactive to his team : “Shabbash !! You guys are doing good !! One km done , 9 KM to go, Water station to your right , keep on your left !!”

He is one of those runners who creates the magic which can make you feel running is “effortless fast walking “

Soon I am asking about his bucket list . Maheshbbhai always finds my questions too Direct when I am interacting with strangers or some one with whom we have just introduced ourselves. At times he remains alert : “ now this guy will ask anything , better run away or stop him “

But I do not do this with any pre conceived ideas. I am just curious and want to know. Pratik is quite frank and easy. He tells me about his this year’s wish list . He is planning to run Berlin marathon and soon going to start serious training .He has remained more faithful to half marathons so Berlin full marathon will be very dear to him.

When I enquire about Dr Oak ( the regular at comrades ) from dombivli. “Oh we keep meeting him during our Sunday runs, but he doesn’t run with us “ he says with smile on his face.

Soon we are joined by Kartik from Lokhandawala runners.Pratik and Kartik know each other as they keep meeting each other at various events.

“Kartik calling kartik “ is the way in which Pratik calls him out.

“batman “ is one more nick-name kartik is known by . He is a sub two half marathoner and still running with us. Pratik jokingly asks him “ Arre, why are you not running fast ? “

It seems Kartik is not enjoying ..”it’s just not happening “ is his expression.

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Soon we get one more entry . Runner from prathna samaj area joins.

Unfortunately he starts with his SOBO ( south Bombay Style )

“ where do you stay ? he asks Pratik

“ dombivali :

“Oh so far, and u have come all the way to run ICT marathon” ( central Mumbai )

Pratik takes it coolly but I do not appreciate an irrelevant diversion to our talks on runs/bucket list/favourite race routes/a pacer’s strategy to motivate the team

A typical SOBO compassion ( read arrogance ) is least expected.

I soon start discussing about SOBO ‘s favourite themes…by underlining their supremacy with typical SOBO dialogues.

“OH borivali national park? Oh we did come during school picnics…isn’t it next to Ahmadabad.”

On the serious note few of them may not even know or it can be very difficult for few of them to comprehend that even today hundreds of people travel hundreds of km every day just to reach Mumbai for job/work as they come from pune/nasik/navsari/vapi (this doesn’t apply to all sobo’s ..but based on my interactions..no offense intended)

We are running now in five gardens. 2nd Water station is positioned here. Nishant is there and he is noting down bib numbers. Once again he wishes us good luck.

The first water station was on footpath near large round about.

Our route repeatedly takes us from the main road to the footpath and back on road. Runners have to be careful as they have to manage uneven surfaces and at one place it is quite slippery due to water and cement-sand slurry.

The inside lanes are quite interesting .Old buildings, bungalows, new constructions, Della tower all juxtaposed to each other. Your visual journey is constantly amazed as old gives way to new.

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On route arrangement:

Apart from two water station there is not much on the road. The traffic is not blocked anywhere. As we are running the vehicular traffic is free flowing. The race is happening as Police is not forced to stop traffic anywhere ( except our start point/end point )

Most of the vehicles are considerate except BEST buses. They just don’t like runners in these morning hours. At main junction they try to dodge the runner/s in the competition of “ who will cross first “

There are no KM marks anywhere .For you , your Garmin/smart watch is the only guiding thing.

Occasionally you do hear one of the fellow runners mobile app where invariably a female voice {and never a male voice:I wonder why… Too much fundas of advertising drilled in?… But informing about your pace and km can not be in dramatic (read seductive voice) voice… A good male voice can be as effective} saying “ current pace 7 hours 10 minutes, average pace 7 hours 40 minutes”

The most funny part is the lady takes too long time to voice out the statistics and if your curiosity becomes too strong , you hang around a little more reducing your pace so that you remain within audible range for a longer time.

We just touch-kiss and leave Dadar TT circle.

As there is no traffic control at times it looks more like group Sunday runs and it does not give feel of organised marathon.

Beyond 6 km , I find myself at ease . Soon naturally due to traffic we are almost running in single lane kind of formation and I find myself running ahead . For some time I remain confused. Shall I reduce my pace and rejoin Pratik?

Before I am able to decide , I am joined by Kartik.

Soon we get a long stretch where we both are able to run side by side. Soon we start talking. Kartik has natural fast pace and running with him makes my pace a bit faster. For almost 2 km he gives me company and all of sudden declares “ not enjoying today’s weather and voluntarily reduces his pace.”

I find myself running at steady pace amidst runners who are feeling the slow down effect.

Most of the lanes have still some greenery, but there is no breeze.

The old bungalows now have towers , blocking most of the natural breeze movement.

We run on wadala truck terminal kind of road twice, which has steady flow of large trucks.

Just before 500 metres ( no marking ) I meet Arsalan

“ Just 500 m to go …”.go full stream is the message.

I search for energy dose…try to push but cannot find enough strength to increase the pace.

Usually I am able to increase my pace in last 500 m (to even 800 m) in most of the marathons, but today I have goofed up. My Garmin’s last activity was not saved, so my today’s Garmin readings are royally goofed up As per my Garmin I am running some 20 + km ..and I have wasted enough of my energy to decode my readings…I have also misjudged the last 1 km ( the probable one ) as I have not understood the route towards end . It seems I had tried to increase my pace much earlier than usual 500 m distance and got fizzled out by the time actual call came.

Somehow I complete my 10 km distance.

Later ICT informs me about my PB :00: 56:35

It is obvious that this wonder is only because of Arsalan .

Soon I search washroom at recreation cum gym building and freshen up.

I come back at the start point and wait for Sheila. She completes her race with “ at ease” kind of expression.(she has completed her 10km in 67.01 min, improving her previous timings)

We move towards medal and refreshment area .

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As we are waiting for our friends we try to complete most of our post run stretching exercises.

Soon we are joined by Falguni and Vishwasji.

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Post 1st group photo session we move inside the astro turn area to be with bigger BNPGR group and we have round 2 of photos.

We are in dilemma. We are in famous khau gali(foodie area) of central Mumbai. A lot of famous south Indian eateries are in this area. Do we have our breakfast and then go??

We decide to go straight home. Let’s have our breakfast with our daughters is the common conclusion.

Later in the evening daughters treat us with 3 course deserts treat: all home made by them

Great way to celebrate your run at home!!

…………………………………………………………………….THE END

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