post

Why I am not running the BSNL Bangalore International Marathon

There has been a lot of press mentions lately about the BSNL
Bangalore International
Marathon
which is going
to happen tomorrow. I will not be running it because it is not
intended for people who love running.

Why do I say that?

  1. The Bangalore Ultra Marathon was
    announced eleven months ago that it will be held on December 16, 2007.
    The BSNL Bangalore International Marathon was announced by the
    Karnataka Athletic
    Association

    just about one month two weeks ago that it will also be held
    on Dec 16, 2007. They knew very well that the Ultra is happening
    on the same
    day
    !
    I don’t know what is the inside story, but I think it’s pure
    one-upmanship, they got ticked off that the preparations and
    publicity for the Ultra seemed to be going well.

  2. The organizers of the BSNL Bangalore International Marathon do not
    take running seriously. If they did, they would not organize
    a training camp for just ten
    days
    .
    Do they really think they can convert a new person interested in
    running to eventually run 42 km in just ten days?! If you consult
    advice by professional runners, you will find out that it takes 18
    weeks
    to train for a marathon according to the charts whether
    you’re
    a beginner or
    an advanced
    runner. Talk to any runner on how long they took to prepare for
    their first marathon and you’ll know the difference. In fact, if
    you want to know what kind of preparation hardcore runners do, see
    this marathon day
    checklist
    .

  3. They are not allowing women to run the full
    marathon
    !
    When asked for the reason, they say that they don’t expect many
    women to run it so they decided not to allow it. I have many things
    to say about that but let me stick to facts – there are many women
    runners

    out there, it’s just that the Karnataka Athletic Association does
    not seem to be encouraging about it. Do they know there are women
    runners in India such as Priya who ran 100 miles (160 km) in the
    Himalayas
    ?

As a running enthusiast, these are enough reasons for me to not take
the BSNL Bangalore International Marathon seriously. Instead, I’m
running the Bangalore Ultra Marathon tomorrow.

In fact, there were discussions in the open-for-all RunnersForLife
mailing list regarding postponing the Ultra because of this clash, but
the race director Madhu strictly said
no
.
As an aside, if I’m not wrong, Madhu is a volunteer organizing this
and is not even part of the Ultra organizers company! Compare this
with how the other marathons are being organized.

Even CrossOver who organized the previous marathons held in Bangalore
have postponed it at least four
times

this year! It’s appalling that these organizers don’t take these
events seriously.

Contrast that with the participants in the Ultra marathon who met on
Friday night for
carb-loading
and had a ball of a time meeting other fellow
runners
.

I
attended that pasta party and met a lot of enthusiastic people. One of
them was a guy called
Andrew.
What’s special about him? He’s a 68-year old guy, and the Ultra
tomorrow is going to be his 592nd marathon! That’s right, that’s three
digits. He’s been running since 1976. In fact, he’s flown down from
New York just to run the Ultra. He’s also participated in the
Himalayan run that I mentioned earlier. Now, that’s true passion for
a sport!

As for myself, I have not at all trained properly in the last two
months but I’m hoping that the old routine of running 16 km every
weekend morning will kick back in tomorrow and I’ll hopefully run
well.

Bangalore Ultra 2007

Disclosure: I’m NOT part of the RFL club, just an avid runner. I may
join the RFL runs in future, but I’m certainly not biased towards
them. However, I am biased towards running and runners.

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Comments

  1. The sports establishment in India is awful: they all perform so badly at encouraging their own sports, but only use their power to harm whenever anybody threatens their monopoly. BCCI, AFI, SFI, IOA…

    Ashwin Bhatnagar and me have also started running; maybe we’ll catch an international marathon with you sometime. Have you met my brother Hari in the RFL? He just ran the NY marathon last month.

  2. @Manu: Maybe we will run (sic) into each other someday :) … As I mentioned, I’m not part of the RFL club, but I did hear your brother’s name mentioned while giving out medals on stage at the Ultra, unfortunately I was not in the viewing area at that time and was too exhausted to get up, heh.

  3. valid points! especially the one on not allowing women to compete the full marathon was unbelievable. i’m quite glad i did my (first) long run at the ultra instead :)

  4. Not to mention the postmortem. I dont think there was a single unhappy ultra runner. There have only been praises for the location, the logistics, the participants, the volunteers, the organizers….the list goes on.

    Now find a single HAPPY Bangalore marathon runner. There have only been complaints about the traffic, the dogs, the gender discrimination, the bad organization, the sheer indifference of the organizers…the list goes on.

    I am a bangalorean and really wanted to run the Bangalore Marathon. Its MY city. But it seems like it was made impossible for me to run it. Literally. As a woman I was not allowed to register for it. Sigh!

  5. Prashant Kumar says:

    Good piece. Yes, there is no comparison between the two events. Ultra is miles ahead of any other marathon. And very true point regarding the intentions of KAA or Crossover. The chaos that ensued in yesterday’s BSNL Marathon was expected. Contrast with that the fantabulous experience of every single Ultra runner. Everything there rocked!!

  6. I dint know all these behind-the-scenes politics. I am not a professional runner. I just went, ran and completed the half marathon in 3 hours ;-) .I have never before run even 3 kms on a stretch.. so it was a challenge for me to even complete the race which I did and am happy abt it. So no complaints whatsoever.

    Yesterday, I knew that there was an ultra marathon happening through YahooUpcoming and I was thinking that the ultra marathon organisers were so cheap that they conduct their marathon on the same date that the International Marathon is happening :D

    The truth is completely opposite, Thanks for letting me know the truth :) !!! .. I was not able to see this info on Hindu or TOI and I guess thats what differentiates a blog versus traditional media.

  7. @Kannappan: Thanks for your comment, at least now I know this writeup has achieved its purpose :)

    @all: Yes, Ultra rocked!

  8. Swaroop. Thanks-for taking a moral stand. It is important in life to always take a stand for what is right and I am glad that you did and spoke out.

    Bravo.

    Regards,

    Madhu

  9. chris mcfaul says:

    Hello I was looking to run a marathon sometime in December after a disapointing time in Singapore.
    I tried to enter the lipton marathon for the 30th but this was cancelled and brought forward! Anyhow 3 days to organise flights/visa/enter! BSNL helped a lot as did the Indian embassy in Jakarta.
    The marathon was good enjoyed the route – a bit of chaos at the end and no medals given out. I would recomend it if it happens again in December – if they allow women as the route was good and temperature perfect.
    If the ultra and marathon got together it may work out better – a bit like canberra where it all starts and finishes at same place.
    It was difficult to find any information about either event – and if they are continually changed its impossible for tourists to plan.
    Anyhow first time in India enjoyed the spirit may be back!

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