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Along the Spice Coast

Ramesh Kartha, the race director of the Spice Coast Marathon talks about the just concluded race this year. 

In the land of endless greenery, a special marathon that meanders through the streets of Kochi through all the historical locations of the Muziris. Ramesh Kartha, Boston Marathon Finisher and race director shares his thoughts about the race.

There is a unique feature about the Spice Coast Marathon, where you have designed it to pass 42 monuments, how did this idea come about?
The idea of 42km with 42 landmarks came about while thinking of a unique way to bring our race to runners. Kochi has a rich heritage of many hundreds of years. There are artifacts of many cultures that can be seen all over this place within a small geographical area. That’s why we thought of the idea of a “running tourist” who might get a different perspective of both Kochi and running while doing it.

The Spice Coast Marathon has also gained fame for being a Boston qualifier, but this year with a change in course the runners didn’t get the opportunity to qualify? What changed?
We had two strong reasons for recommending a course change this year. We had some bad patches in the previous courses with respecting lighting and road conditions. We also have Kochi Municipal Corporation as our active partner this year and they preferred the race being conducted more towards the city to engage more people and sights.

The race also is one of the few without prize money so do you attract elite runners despite this?
Since we do not have any prize money for our event, we hardly see any “elite” runners in the conventional sense. However, we would like to think of every runner as an elite, hence we welcome runners of all ages and abilities.While many of our local runners are repeat participants for obvious reasons, we also have loyal supporters from outside Kerala and abroad who have participated in every edition.

What best course timing did you see this year?
The full marathon saw the best time of 3:14 hrs and the half marathon had a best time of 1:16 hrs which are very impressive.

Why should this race be on every runner’s yearly running schedule?
This is purely a runner’s event. We celebrate road running in its purest form. You can see the passionate team from Soles of Cochin doing everything we can to make this a long-cherished experience for every runner. The volunteers are excellent, the cheering zones by the Depart of Tourism are enthralling and the sights of the historic Kochi are breathtaking and of course, the medal 🙂

As a Boston Finisher yourself, how challenging is the Spice Coast in comparison?
Spice Coast course is challenging due to the location it’s in – the humid Kochi. While November weather in Kochi is reasonably cool, the humidity can still be high and challenging. The course is quite flat, so it can be fast if the weather cooperates.

Lessons from this year that you would like the share.
Our biggest single-most challenge this year was the course finalization that got dragged into the final week with all discussions and approvals with the authorities. We plan to start the process early next year, even though a possibility of any last minute changes can’t be ruled out. Overall, the feedback we received about the event this year has been mainly positive.

For every passionate runner the Spice Coast Marathon is a must finish at least once in a lifetime. But once you run it, you just might come back every year.

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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