Events, Featured Comments Off on Running in the beautiful Chamundi Hills |

Running in the beautiful Chamundi Hills

Deepthi Velkur talks to Ajit Thandur on his experience of organising the Chamundi Hill Challenge and why is it an exciting course for runners.

MYSOORUNNERS were the proud hosts of the Chamundi Hill Challenge 2018, an exciting race that gives you a good experience of up and downhill asphalted roads, winding forest trails, uneven cobbled tracks and steps.

The Chamundi Hill Challenge organized by Enduro events, saw its 4thedition this year and the man behind this is Ajit Thandur. This run includes varying distances of 5k, 10k and 21k.

We got talking to Ajit on his experience of organizing this event and why he thinks this is an event that you must take part in.

The Chamundi Hill Challenge appears to be quite a favorite course? What in your opinion draws runners to it?

The course is not just a regular hill run – it offers a ton of variety during the run. It includes nearly 300 metres of centuries old uneven granite steps and cobbled stones, a 3.5km jungle trail and asphalted road.

One of the points we stress on when someone registers is to enjoy the course. This is a beautiful course and by no stretch of imagination, is it a personal best course.

2018 saw the 4thedition of this exciting run – what kind of enrollment increases have you seen year-on-year?

When we started off, we saw nearly 250 runners in the 1st edition. This year (our 4thedition), we saw over 450 runners. Numbers can be better but the fact remains, it’s a tough course!

What lessons have Enduro Events learnt over the past years that will help you make this event even more popular?

Experience has taught us that we need better management of various aspects involved in organising such a race:

+) Frequency of aid stations depending on the kind of race and course.

+) Ideal needs for each aid station depending on its location.

+) Logistics such as having volunteers on wheels to keep vigil on participants,   accidents, injury to inform the medical team.

+) Efficient waste management to make sure we don’t leave any inorganic waste anywhere on the course.

There are some more aspects but hard to list out the more minute ones.

In terms of promoting the event – apart from social media, do you run any other promotional activities?

Not as far as Chamundi Hill Challenge goes. We only rely on social media.

Only for Tri Thonnur, another event organized by us, we do have weekend swim sessions in the Thonnur Lake. That’s because there are many first timers for open water swims each year.


Organizing an event of such scale requires a lot of a planning, coordination and
governance. Can you please provide your view on how Enduro events goes about setting this up?

There are mainly two factors in organising any sporting event, especially when we utilise public properties such as roads, parks, stadiums, lakes etc.

The first is to seek permissions from various government bodies such as the City Corporation, Police (both Law and Order, Traffic), Public Works Department etc.

This invariably takes time since there are so many offices to coordinate with. So we start work on these aspects a few months prior to the event.
The second is our own internal planning:

  • Routes (choosing the best depending on road conditions, advice from Traffic Police etc)
  • Number of volunteers required (This includes volunteers driven by passion and paid Volunteers…. strange terminology but it exists.)
  • Number of aid stations required, specific needs there. Quantities of water, hydration drinks, fruits, jaggery, salt, lime, etc.
  • Ideal location for ambulance with Medical support team.
  • Medals, Trophies, T shirts ( all to be designed ordered at least a month ahead).
  • Post-race breakfast/brunch.
  • Appointing MC, public address systems, music, etc.

Who are the key team members involved in making this event happen?

We are a team of 5 – Anil, Vijay, Abhilash, Prajwal, Naveen and myself.

Funding and sponsorship are a challenge for most events – how does Enduro events manage to secure this? Who are your key sponsors?

Sponsorship surely is a key to see such events through. This year we had National Public School as our title sponsors. Sparsh Hospitals, Bangalore have been our medical support team and sponsors for 5 years now. That apart, we have a list of local businesses who support us.

For the 3 runs – Tough 21K, Challenge 10K and Majja 5K, do you have a cap in terms of
enrollment?
 

We don’t have a cap so far. But the need might arise if we see more than 1000 runners. 

You obviously know the course very well – what advice would you like the runners to heed so that they enjoy the course while staying safe?

This is a course to enjoy and not one to achieve a personal best. Challenge 21 is two loops of Tough 10 (actually 10.5k in terms of distance). Each loop is about 6.5k of road, 500 m of steps and cobble stones and 3.5k of jungle trail. So we ask runners to be extremely careful while negotiating the steps and the jungle course.

Video Link of the event: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1itgVXJfpSaESnbmEn3RLeIRjAf8nwvn2/view?usp=drivesdk

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Deepthi Velkur is a former sprinter who is trying her hand at various sports today. A tennis fanatic, who believes that sleep should never be compromised.

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Events Comments Off on The Heptathlon |

The Heptathlon

A young Indian woman, with a humble, rural background has suddenly brought into the limelight, an event, well known but hitherto unheralded. Capt Seshadri takes a look at the challenging Heptathlon. 

In athletics, as in life, only a few parts can be glamorous. The leading running stars are, obviously, the fastest men and women; not that we should take anything away from their efforts. Still, there is glory in events like the marathon, the ultimate test of endurance and stoicism. While track takes centre stage, with the finishing tape in the front of the most august audience, the field events and the throws are an integral part of every athletics competition across the globe. Each one of these needs specialised training, commitment, dedication and a great deal of effort.

Combining all these is an oft-forgotten event, relegated to the sidelines, yet requiring a rare combination of speed, strength and endurance. Seven highly competitive events spread over two days, comprises the heptathlon, a name quite naturally derived from Greek, denoting seven (hepta) athlon (feat). It appears that this is a further take from the once popular pentathlon, and is now contested by both women and men, the former vying for honours outdoors and the latter, indoors. Both, however, are dissimilar in the types of competitions.

When it started

The first women’s heptathlon was reportedly held in 1980 and qualified as an Olympic sport in the 1984 Summer Games.  Today, it is part of the IAAF World Championships, and the IAAF Combined Events Challenge decides who is the women’s heptathlon number one for the year. Points are allotted according to performance in each of the events, in terms of time or distance, with the athlete amassing the most points being the obvious winner.

The first day of the competition comprises the 100 metres hurdles, the high jump, the shot put and the 200 metres. With two sprints, and a field and a throw event each behind them, the women go into the second day with the long jump, the javelin and finally, the 800 metres. Naturally, no individual can be best at everything, so it matters little that the champion athlete should finish on the podium in every event. While one school of thought might recommend that the competitor should be above average in all the events, if not necessarily within a ‘first three’ finish, in reality, each athlete specialises in a few of them and makes calculated compromises in the rest to garner maximum points overall. In effect, the participant actually competes not against the rest of the field, but rather, against the score table, a matrix constructed by an Austrian mathematician, Dr Karl Ulbrich, with points from zero to 1,000 and above for every event.

To score 1,000 points per event, each athlete would be required to perform, on an average, something like this:

110 m hurdles                                   13.85 seconds

High Jump                                              1.82 metres

Shot put                                                 17.07 metres

200 metres                                           23.80 seconds

Long jump                                               6.48 metres

Javelin                                                     57.18 metres

800 metres                                         2:07.83 seconds

Mundane figures, to the normal eye, but to the most competitive athlete, an almost impossible task to accumulate 7,000 points. In fact, the women’s world record has been set at 7,291 points, with the athlete surpassing the 1,000 average in just three of the events, her obvious favourites.

The men’s heptathlon, at first glance, appears to consist of much easier events than those for the women, but the competition is extremely intense and the performances in each, marginal. The men hepathletes compete in the 60 m, long jump, shot put, high jump, 60 m hurdles, pole vault and the 1,000 m, the first four on Day 1 and the remaining on the second day.

And finally, for the super athletes not satisfied with just seven events, there is also a tetradecathlon, a double heptathlon, consisting of 14 events, with seven events each day.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Capt Seshadri Sreenivasan is a former armed forces officer with over 30 years experience in marketing. He also a consulting editor with a leading publishing house. He is a co-author of the best selling biography of astronaut Sunita Williams.

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Events, Featured Comments Off on Finishing the Tri Thonnur with Ajit Thandur |

Finishing the Tri Thonnur with Ajit Thandur

Deepthi Velkur in conversation with Ajit Thandur, a triathlete who is the founder of the Mysoorunners and the organiser for the Tri Thonnur.

The moment we hear “triathlon” often what comes to mind is a hard-core challenge like the grueling Ironman, a race consisting of a 3.86 km swim, 180.25 km bike and 46.20 km run. But, on the contrary, this fun sport isn’t just for extreme endurance athletes. A triathlon includes short races spread across 3 disciplines (swimming, cycling, and running) that makes the challenge more engaging and fun.

The 3 most common triathlon races and distance are:

  • Super Sprint – 400m swim / 10km bike / 2.5km run
  • Sprint – 750m swim / 20km bike / 5km run
  • Olympic – 1,500m swim / 40km bike / 10km run

Ajit Thandur, a property developer in Mysuru has always been a fitness fanatic and keeps fit by hitting the gym, swimming and doing 5K runs. In 2008, after his first ever 21K Midnight Marathon in Bengaluru he took to running seriously competing in several half and full marathons. Building on this experience, he ran his first Ultra run in 2016 – a 50K run from Mandya to Mysuru and he quickly followed that up with a 12-hour stadium run covering 82 km.

An ex-triathlete himself, he had to cut back owing to a nasty cycling accident a few years ago but continues to swim at least 5 km a week alongside his regular running schedule. Ajit is a minimalist runner relying primarily on Vibrams and thoroughly enjoys running barefoot when in a stadium. He is the founder of the Mysoorunners – a running group in Mysuru that encourages running and living a healthy lifestyle. He also organizes events like the Tri Thonnur (triathlon event), Thonnur Swimathon and the Chamundi Hill Challenge (a running event) every year.

I spoke with him to find out about their upcoming event The Tri Thonnur on September 9, 2018 organised by Enduro Events owned by the man himself.

Enduro has come a long way from its humble beginnings in 2009 – it must fill you with a lot of pride and joy. How would you describe the journey so far?

It all started with a passion for endurance sports and it is still the passion that keeps it going. Years ago, as a small group, we used to swim in the Thonnur Lake and we wanted to share the joy and experience of the amazing Thonnur Lake with everyone and not just ourselves. That’s how the first edition of Tri Thonnur came into being in 2013 which saw 30 participants.

With each passing year, have you seen the participant count increasing? If yes, how are you working on creating more awareness and getting people to participate?

The participant count for sure has been on the rise year after year. We build awareness through our Facebook page. Apart from that, the discussions and exchange of notes that happen on social media amongst like-minded people is what helps us in spreading the message across.

So far, you have 3 amazing challenges – the Swimathon, the Tri Thonnur, and the Chamundi Hill Challenge. Do you envision adding any other challenges/events / courses to your calendar?

We do plan on adding longer distance challenges to the existing three races. But we have no plans to add new races as of now.

2018 is your 6th edition to the Tri Thonnur challenge – how has this event evolved since it started? What kind of changes have been made since it started?

This event started 6 years ago and we had 30 participants attend who came to know of the event through word of mouth. In the inaugural event, we held the the Olympic distance. Today, we have included the Sprint, Olympic and Half Iron distances with close to 300 triathletes coming from all over the country.

Tri Thonnur has gained the reputation of being the best open water triathlon in India and also the stepping stone for future Ironman aspirants as an ideal first time open water experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In terms of location for the triathlon – why Thonnur?

Thonnur Lake is an amazing water body with clean waters and is extremely safe.

When organizing an event of such scale, you need a lot of planning. When did you start planning the 2018 race and how did you go about it?

We start working on the race a good four months in advance. Our base is Mysuru and Thonnur is a good 40kms away. We need to work on statutory permissions from government agencies, decide on the swim location based on best roads for bicycling, running and sort out the logistics as well.

Part of the challenge – the bike leg is an “open to traffic” leg. How do you take care of participant safety?

Where ever required we seek help from the police to set up barricades to slow/control traffic at junctions. We also have volunteers traversing the bike/run routes on bikes to make sure everything is going smoothly. They do intimate the medical support team in times of emergency or accidents. Sparsh Hospitals, Bengaluru has been our backbone med-support team for 4 years now.

You have a young and passionate team but to manage an event such as this, you will need volunteer help as well. Is this easy to come by? Do you run any campaign to encourage people to help?

Volunteers come from our Mysuru based run group Mysoorunners and ultimate frisbee team Girgitlae. We also appoint paid volunteers from the local village because they are well aware of the routes and the people.

Putting together all the learning from the past 5 editions of the Tri Thonnur – what advice do you have for the 2018 participants on the course?

For many, this may be their first open water experience. My advice to them is to look ahead after every 10 strokes or so to be sure you are heading in the right direction which is indicated by the marker buoys. Also, be careful with the traffic on the roads and do not speed on your bikes when passing through villages. On the run leg, always run against traffic.

What kind of challenges did you face in setting this event up?

The major challenge is with logistics, due to the distance of Thonnur being 40kms away from Mysuru.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Deepthi Velkur is a former sprinter who is trying her hand at various sports today. A tennis fanatic, who believes that sleep should never be compromised.

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Events Comments Off on Why run the Tata Mumbai Marathon? |

Why run the Tata Mumbai Marathon?

Capt Seshadri explores why you should run the most prestigious marathon for Indian runners, the Tata Mumbai Marathon.

The seven islands of Mumbai, when seen as a whole, have a gap in between. Observe closely and you will see the gap as the profile of a runner. This has aptly been captured in the logo of the Tata Mumbai Marathon, an annual event which, like an irresistible magnet, draws 45,000 runners from all over India and from across continents. For those who have already participated, the itch to return is unavoidable; for those who haven’t, here is the bugle call.

On the third Sunday of January every year, the city wakes up to a riot of colours. Women and men, children and senior citizens, and even the disabled, leaning on crutches or being assisted in wheelchairs, all attired in colourful running gear, head to one destination – the Azad Maidan, and with one objective – to celebrate the freedom of running. The local trains and buses are filled with the excited chatter of groups of runners participating in different categories. The intrepid and the experienced will run the full 42 k in anything between 3 and 6 hours. Following them will be the half marathoners, the Open 10 k participants, dream runners covering 6.6 k, the senior citizens running over 4.7 k, and finally, the ‘champions with disabilities’ being cheered unceasingly over 2.1 km. Mumbai comes alive with its trademark spirit.

When it comes to the Tata Mumbai Marathon, or the TMM as it is popularly called, there is no reason to run; only an emotion to experience. Inspired by the London Marathon and with its first edition in 2004, it is today one of the world’s leading marathons, categorised as an IAAF Silver Label Road Race. On this day, elite Olympic and world class runners, business tycoons, celebrities and thousands of amateurs, rub sweaty shoulders to celebrate the spirit of freedom and to contribute to charity. The financial capital of the country opens its treasure chest with a huge heart. As India’s biggest charity platform, this event has, in 11 years, contributed an astounding USD 30 million and more.

This is the day to savour the sights of Mumbai on foot; something that can never be done from a motor vehicle in bustling traffic. The route rolls past the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and the historic Flora Fountain, moves on to the Marine Drive, past Haji Ali and opens out on to the breathtaking view from the Bandra – Worli Sea Link. Crossing the halfway mark, the runners wind past Mahim Church, Jaslok Hospital, the Wankhede Stadium and almost up to Land’s End at Nariman Point. All along the route, cheering Mumbaikars, sacrificing their Sunday morning sleep, line up to encourage the runners, with bands playing popular tunes, folk dances and even an elderly Gujarati gentleman in a beret, playing on his harmonica. This is the true boost to the adrenaline, the real reason to run.

The TMM is probably one of the few marathons in the country that attracts runners and running clubs from every corner of the country. With participants from the deep south of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, from every metro and city in the country and even from far away Assam, it transcends the boundaries of mere running and morphs into a multi-cultural celebration of the spirit of participation.

Can you hear the bugle call?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Capt Seshadri Sreenivasan is a former armed forces officer with over 30 years experience in marketing. He also a consulting editor with a leading publishing house. He is a co-author of the best selling biography of astronaut Sunita Williams.

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Events Comments Off on Best running trails in South India |

Best running trails in South India

You never forget your first trail experience, and once you conquer that, you become addicted to running in the lap of nature, writes Radhika Meganathan.

Letting your feet take you through colourful, picturesque scenery and feeling the rush, the thrill, the sheer joy of running… we know what you are looking for, so here are five South Indian trail races that you must not miss!

Nilgiris Ultra

The 70km terrain of Nilgiris Ultra takes you through “dirt tracks, mountain roads, steep hills, forest roads, mountain valleys and tea estates,” as described proudly by its organisers. You will not only run past shola forests and tribal settlements, but also wind through stunning tea estates and waterfalls. The course flows up and down until the last 6km, so let’s remind you once again that this trail is not for the weak-hearted, but if you are prepared for it, you will be rewarded immensely.

When: December 8, 2018

Starts from: Heart of Ooty town, and ends at Upper Bhavani reservoir

Details at https://www.webscorer.com/register?raceid=118448

Kaveri Trail

There are three categories: 42.2 km, 21.1 km and 10 km, leading you through the famous Kaveri belt. Since the trail forms a part of the land adjacent to a bird sanctuary, runners would be able to see over 150 varieties of birds. As you run, you will be taking in glimpses of wildlife, even families of otters diving for their dinner. Do stay away from the waterscapes and marshy areas, the marsh crocodile is not an animal you want to meet during your run!

When: 24th and 25th November, 2018. Registrations will close once all the slots have been filled, so do not delay.

Starts from: The race will begin and end outside Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary. Transport (paid) is offered from Bangalore and Mysore to the base of the marathon.

Details at http://kaveritrailmarathon.com

Hampi, Badami, and Coorg

When: Go Heritage Run is a crowd-pleasing and award winning organiser of races at various heritage locations in India. Some of their offerings this year cover the historic sites of Hampi, Badami and the biodiversity hotspot of Coorg, taking you through some fantastic natural scenery including forts and caves, forests and ruins. All runs are held only on Sundays.

Starts from: Various upcoming dates, check with the official calendar

Details at https://www.goheritagerun.com/2018-calendar/

Though the two races below do not technically form part of trails, we are including it in this list because they take place in lush green ambience!

Spice coast marathon

God’s own country Kerala plays host for this marathon which has been meticulously designed in such a way that the runner soaks in the key sights and landmarks of the historic beach town Kochi, for every kilometer stretch that they run. In addition to a full and half marathon, there is also a 8km fun run for those who want to do this at their own leisure.

When:  Nov 11, 2018

Starts from: K K Premachandran Sports Complex, Willingdon Island, Kochi

Details at http://spicecoastmarathon.com

Auroville Marathon

Originally a celebration event on the 40th year anniversary of Auroville, this marathon became an annual, non-commercial race with categories of 42km, 21km and 10km. All participants who finish are considered winners, hence it is not a timed race. Go for it, to experience the beauty of a planned township with its red earth and lush vegetation and sustainable architecture.

When: 2nd Sunday of every February

Starts from: Auroville. The route map will be uploaded on the official website two weeks before the event.

Details at https://www.marathon.auroville.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Radhika Meganathan is a published author who is an advocate for healthy living, she practices sugar-free intermittent fasting, all-terrain rambling and weight training.

 

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Events Comments Off on The Comrades of 2018 |

The Comrades of 2018

He just concluded Comrades Marathon had a lot of surprises this year, writes Nandini Reddy

The 89km Comrades Marathon is the world’s largest and oldest ultra marathon race. The event sees 20,000 runners from 60 countries competing to win the coveted race. The allowed time to finish the race is 11-12 hours and every year at least half the number or more tend to finish the race in the allotted time. Runners who apply for this race have to finish a full marathon within 5 hours to qualify. The race was run for the first time in May 1921. This year’s race’s official distance is 90.18 kms.

This is also an inclusive sport that sees many specially-abled athletes compete. This year, we saw amputee runner Xolani Luvuno pursuing his dream of competing in the Comrades with the help of crutches.  He was given 5 hours extra to complete the course.

The Comrades Marathon of 2018 saw the South African’s dominating the leader boards. Comrade marathon saw South African’s finishing in the top positions with timings of 5:26:34 hours by Bongmusa Mthembu in the first spot in the men’s category and Ann Asworth (6:10:44mins) in the women’s category. Mthembu won his 3rd race this day. Ashworth reclaimed the crown for South Africa this year.

What it takes to cross the finish line?

This world race has a lot of preparation behind the marvelous feats of the runners. It firstly required a lot of stamina to cross the finish line and can be daunting as the hours progress.

  1. Apply Vaseline all over your body to prevent chaffing
  2. Nutrition en-route is important so carry your own supplies
  3. Ensure your shoes are comfortable to prevent toe injuries
  4. Right clothes to prevent rubbing and rashes
  5. Take a bathroom break at regular intervals

Unscrupulous athletes are present in every marathon but if you decide to run the wrong way then you are likely to be served a ban.Entering the race with unverified qualifying times and lying about the qualifying times is the definite way to get yourself banned for life. Improving your seeding through false timings won’t get you very far but every year the Comrade organisers face these situations.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

An irregular runner who has run in dry, wet, high altitude and humid conditions. Loves to write a little more than run so now is the managing editor of Finisher Magazine.

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Events Comments Off on Not Another Brick in The Wall |

Not Another Brick in The Wall

Ever imagined what it would be like to run along the Great Wall of China, well you can says Capt Seshadri.

“Unless you have climbed to the top of the Wall, you cannot say you are a man” – old Chinese saying.

The Great Wall of China is reportedly the only man made structure that is visible to the naked eye from the moon, although it is probably now under intense competition as one of the oldest structures in the world, from the new, mammoth constructions in the Middle East.

Competition is not new to this Wall, having been originally constructed to keep out invaders and raiders. The latest in competition, however, though unwarlike and healthy, is the Great Wall Marathon that is traditionally held on the third Saturday of May, falling on the 19th of this year. Having taken its origin in 1999, with a few hundred runners, this extremely challenging course has, over the years, transformed from a full and half marathon, a 10k and 5 k event, to a combination of the latter two to an 8.5 km ‘fun run’.   

The run isn’t all about fun however, with the participants having to negotiate 5,164 stone steps, several steep ascents and descents and, owing to the old age of the structure, stumble over loose stones and rubble. This portion makes for a virtual addition of 6.4 km to the 42 km course. In fact, there is a stretch where people actually crawl up the steps. Now, every marathon has a phase, generally around the 32nd km or so when the runner literally ‘hits the wall’ of endurance. Here, it may be taken as a little more than literal.

The ‘runnable’ portion of the Great Wall Marathon essentially traverses the Simatai section of the Wall and crosses the Huangya or Yellow Cliff pass. Such is the height and the location, that the best respite for the runners is possibly the breathtaking scenery along the route. But the view is not the only aspect of the marathon that will take one’s breath away. Loose gravel and crumbling steps are compounded by sections overgrown with wild foliage. In sectors where the Wall is not traversable, the course drops to trails alongside. The challenges are many and varied and make extreme physical demands on the participants. The steps, the upward slopes and downward gradients, are typically suited for those athletes who regularly do interval training.    

Every marathon, in its present avatar, to encourage amateur participants and reward completion rather than winning, usually has the final batch timed in at 6 hours. The Great Wall Marathon however, sets a time of 10 hours for completion; such is the difficult nature of the course. On an average, the finisher of 4 hours for a regular marathon will require around 6 hours to finish here. This has not been the least bit of a deterrent to over 2,500 participants from over 50 countries. No wonder then, that the men’s record for this run is 3:25:13 and for the women it is 4:12:42. Henrik Brandt, a Danish runner, who has competed in every edition for the past 18 years says: “Some years they’ve almost killed me; but since this was the first marathon I ever ran, I fell in love with it.”

Of the 1,200 runners entered for Saturday the 19th, around 450 will start the marathon and half-marathon. The rest will run the shorter distance for fun.

All and all, it’s just another brick in the Wall. Or, is it, really?  

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Capt Seshadri Sreenivasan is a former armed forces officer with over 30 years experience in marketing. He also a consulting editor with a leading publishing house. He is a co-author of the best selling biography of astronaut Sunita Williams.

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Events Comments Off on Run for Fame or Fun |

Run for Fame or Fun

Capt Seshadri looks at the Santa Barbara International Marathon that can bring you closer to your Boston dreams.

Are you a keen runner? Do you want to qualify for the Boston Marathon? Want your family to enjoy a scenic vacation? And join them after the run? Here’s a simple solution to all these. Just run the Santa Barbara International Marathon.

Beginnings

It was as early as in 1965. Marathons outside of the Olympics were virtually unknown. In Santa Barbara, a picturesque town in California, a group of distance runners created a marathon that was to continue for nearly two decades, till 1984. The debut event saw 27 runners start the race, that began at the University of California Santa Barbara and concluded at the Santa Barbara College. Only seventeen crossed the finish line. The event slowly gained some popularity, and with the start and finish both being shifted to the College, the maximum number of participants in the first series, in the year 1977, rose to 354. Those days, there were no aid stations and no traffic regulations to make the course exclusive to the runners, who had to vie with vehicular traffic on the roads. Over time, the event died a natural death till it was revived by the untiring efforts of a runner couple.

Racing with the Race Directors

Rusty and June Snow, co-directors of the Santa Barbara Marathon, actually moved base from the East Coast to bring this event to Santa Barbara. It took a few years of persuasion and cajoling, but the couple finally brought it off in 2009, on December 6, to be precise. There was both the usual marathon and even a relay event, with close to 2,000 runners participating in both events. After this rebirth, there was no looking back for this dedicated couple who even collected the leftover water bottles and snack bars and donated them to the Santa Barbara Foodbank. The discarded clothing was given to Unity Shoppe.

The thoughtfulness of the race directors was key to making the event a tremendous success, year after year. In 2011, a sum of $ 5,000 was donated to the Community Environment Council, from the simple expedient of allocating $1 from the entry fee of each participant. Commented Rusty: “We need to be thoughtful and protect that place we live and run. One reason people come to run the marathon is to experience the beauty of the region. We want to protect that for years to come, for our runners and for our community.”

The Route Plan

The Santa Barbara International Marathon takes the runners through some of the most scenic routes on any marathon trail in the world. Beginning in Goleta, the route winds through the town and towards the outskirts of the University town of Isla Vista. As the runners close in towards Santa Barbara, they are met with a fairly steep incline. But after they have puffed their way up the hill, they come face to face with the majestic view of the endless Pacific Ocean as they now run down the slopes and onto the finish line at the Santa Barbara City College Stadium.      

The time is early May, on Mothers’ Day weekend, the best season for running or even for leisure activity in this part of the world. Spoil yourself with choices from the full course, the half marathon, or even run the two-person relay. And as the organisers say: “Run with, or for your mother!” Finish your run, relax and head for ocean activities, or hike, bike or chase history. Or celebrate your finish at the post race Wine & Music Festival at the Solvang Park.  

Run the Santa Barbara Marathon. Run for fame, or just run for fun.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Capt Seshadri Sreenivasan is a former armed forces officer with over 30 years experience in marketing. He also a consulting editor with a leading publishing house. He is a co-author of the best selling biography of astronaut Sunita Williams.

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Events Comments Off on Scenic Marathon – Pembrokeshire |

Scenic Marathon – Pembrokeshire

Amid the Coastal Trail Marathon’s, Pembrokeshire is one of the most scenic marathon’s of the UK, that will flag off this Sunday, writes Nandini Reddy.

Pembrokeshire boosts of being the only coastal National Park in Britain. With its jagged cliffs, sandy bays, coastal villages and coves, it promises to offer spectacular views. The course is challenging as well with an undulating terrain that takes one over grassy paths, beach trails and a jagged coastal route. Here you can choose to run a variety of distances ranging from a 10k to a half marathon to a full marathon and then an ultra (55k). This marathon is listed as one of the top 10 ultra marathons in the world. here are some scary climbs on this undulating run, but some epic descents too, and the glorious views of the ocean are guaranteed to take your mind off your jelly legs.

While the finish line is at Little Haven for all, the start lines are staggered along the course. The start times are generally not published and participants are generally given a start window. This is because the route can be a bit narrow at certain points and in order to prevent a bottle neck they use a chipped start, giving preference to elite runners first. The other fun aspect of this run is that you can run with dog. You will be asked to start later than the rest of the group but you are allowed to bring along with dog for the run. The only expectation is that the animal is well-behaved and is on a lead the whole time.

Trail runs like these are not similar to the city marathons because the opportunity to see people or meet support staff will happen only every few kms. Only the 10k participants have one water station which will provide water in cups. The other distances will have to carry their own water containers. The water stations are few and far between but are comprehensive as they provide carbohydrate and salt replenishment options along with spots to refill your water containers. But food at these stations is limited hence participants would need to carry their own.

There is also listed cut off times for participants. Cut offs are along the route; there are no ‘Finish Line’ cut offs. There is also an event prescribed safety kit that you are expected to carry. All participants are notified ahead about the same and it includes mobile phone, cash, first aid, cap, windproof jacket, whistle, foil blanket, head torch, etc. If the runner wants to retire early from the race, they would be allowed to do so at any Checkpoint.

The event does promise an after-party in Little Haven for all the participants, so there is something to look forward to after the run. This is one marathon that is defined as ‘epic’ by runners across the world and is one of the best ultra trail marathons you can experience. Its all happening on April 28 and if you missed it this year there is always next year for which you can start getting prepped.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

An irregular runner who has run in dry, wet, high altitude and humid conditions. Loves to write a little more than run so now is the managing editor of Finisher Magazine.

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