Mawana Sugar Marathon 19th Feb 2012 – Race Report
First and foremost, I did a PR of 1:55:09 for a Half Marathon today at the event, coming in at the 25th position in the Veterans category. This is a 10min improvement over my earlier best. Also makes me a sub-2hr Half Marathoner!
One thing for everyone. The Mawana Full Marathon is intended for “Elite & Fast Runners Only” since the course closes after 4hrs. A lot of people crib about this without understanding this fact. On the other hand, the Mawana Half Marathon is for “Amateur & Slower Runners” since it uses the same route as the full (2 loops v/s 4 loops) and is effectively open for 4 hrs. Having put that to rest on to the race report –
- The event website – Very bare information just elementary stuff like registration, prize money and a bit on course open timing. Nothing on the actual course or rules and regulations. UPDATE: I have now discovered that the link from the Mawana Sugars website which I was referring to for the above comment was landing on a wrong page. The actual link is http://www.mawanamarathon.com/mawana/index.htm which is quite informative and has all the relevant information.
- Online Registration Process – Very smooth. Basically a simple straight forward form. Once filled it would automatically generate a bib number and confirmation which needs to be printed out and carried to the bib collection one day prior to the event. No payment required while registering online.
- Bib Pickup – I was expecting chaos but suprisingly a smooth process. First step for online registrations was to pay the registration fee of Rs. 50 (this has to be the cheapest marathon in the world!!) and then go to well marked counter to colect your running bib. Upside was a standard “marathon sling bag” and surprise surprise a very nice white dri-fit T-shirt with a nice event logo on front and back. Also this time they had a D-Tag disposable timing strip for everyone. Ample instructions and rules and regulations also in the bag alongwith a route map. Route map did not have distances or facilities marked.
- Pre-Run – Reached around 6.25am. Again was surprised that things seemed fairly well organised. Lot of counters to keep your bag. Completely cordoned off area at India Gate (the start and finish point). Large holding areas. Ample, and mostly clean, mobile toilet facilities although I think the ladies may disagree on this one.
- General Atmosphere – A lot of rowdies and college/school crowd who made a lot of noise during pre-run and at the start point. But overall not too bad once they had been left loose. Since this is an AFI event the timings are used as qualification for “sports quotas” (more on this later). And so a lot of young testerone loaded “boys” turn up!
- Facilities during run – Water was available throughout the run at almost every 2.5km or so. At one point I saw Electral. At several points there was also salt and lemons. No other energy drinks. No mobile toilets on the route however post CWG games there are very clean public toilets available almost every 3-4 kms on this route. (On a personal note – this was the first time I didn’t take a pee break)
- Problems during run – 2 loops for the Half was great since it allowed you to judge your finish in the second loop very well. However the problem was there were NO distance markers at all!! You were only sure that one loop was 10.55km and that around the U-turn (on Parliament Street) was the 5.2km ish mark. In hind sight I am glad about this since it meant I was doing less tracking and more running!
- Problem number Two (not relevant for honest runners) – The cheats had a field day at the end of Rajpath! There was a u-turn at Vijay Chowk, a loop back of around 200m and then a left turn. There was no timing mat at Vijay Chowk ! Several of the people (read as cheats) who were looking at “sports quotas” or just wanting a good timing certificate merely jumped over to the otherside and skipped about 800m in total (there friends shouted out to them – “Aage mat nahin hai, Aaja”.
- Weather & Course – Fantastic. Couldn’t have asked for better conditions. Was cool for the entire half that I did. Course was flat except for the slight climb from India Gate to Vijay Chowk (but then you get the downhill benefit later).
- Post Race – No medal except for position holders. No refreshments (come-on they charged Rs. 50). However vendors selling all sorts of stuff were present and another Rs.50 would get you a hearty meal if you wanted it ! Several runners later headed towards Andhra Bhawan (500m away) for an all you can eat meal !
In short an excellent run. Full paisa vasool. Highly recommended for anyone wanting to run a PB Half Marathon or a sub-4 hour PB Full Marathon.
Maybe a sub-4hr Full Marathon beckons next year !
Run India Run.