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?
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 monthtwo 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.