So what did we think of the 2018 Airtel Delhi Half Marathon?
The half marathon was on Sunday.
The dust has settled.
The results are out, the medals proudly flaunted on social media.
We’ve all done at least one recovery run.
The euphoria is still there, for sure.
But I think emotions have calmed down enough by now, for a balanced assessment of the race to be made, and that it is now fair to do a short ‘n sharp balance sheet of this flagship race.
I’m not talking about running performance here – for example, mine felt good while I was running, but proved to be only average in the end.
I’m talking about how a major event of this prestige and nature was conducted.
THE CHANGE OF TIMING
We amateur half marathoners and – for the first time – 10k runners started at 5.00.
Yes, you read that correctly.
5 o’clock in the morning.
Reporting time 4 o’clock.
Get up at…in my case 2 o’clock in the morning.
The change of timing for our race was, I understand, so that the elites could start at 7.00 in order to beat the heat. The race was brought forward from November (it’s usual time slot) to 21 October, to beat the infamous Delhi pollution.
I feel for the organisers, I truly do, trying to balance health vs weather vs pollution vs heat vs the elites vs TV viewership vs all we thousands of amateur runners.
I feel for them. Truly.
But 5.00 in Delhi in the winter is DARK.
And the street lights were not enough. There were 2 stretches where it was downright dark and I slowed down to a snail’s pace, terrified I was going to trip. I know I wasn’t alone in this, because I’ve asked others.
Dear organisers, if you’re going to make us run in the dark, then GIVE US EXTRA LIGHTING. It’s really not rocket science.
Once it got light – about 5.50 – then everything was fine, and the temperature was brilliant.
If we could’ve started at 6.00, everything would’ve been perfect.
FACILITIES ALONG THE ROUTE
Water stations, energy drinks & snack stations (didn’t use them), medical stations (didn’t use them, thank goodness), music – all was great and as it should be for such a major event. One water station gave me my bottle opened and minus the cap which meant I wasted a lot of it and had to throw it sooner than normal, but that was the only niggle.
No issues. Ditto for the timing mats. Everything just fine & dandy.
I didn’t eat after the race. The thought of idlis and whatever, immediately after a run, does not appeal. I had a banana from the goody bag and headed home to eat. So I cannot speak to the food.
I used the loo once, on Lodhi Road, thinking it would be OK so early in the race, since I was lucky enough to get an early start slot.
It was beyond disgusting.
Absolutely, stomach-churningly revolting.
No water in the flush nor in the tap. NO WATER IN A LOO?
No toilet paper.
Obviously no light.
I leave you to imagine the stench, and the horror of having to deal with this in the pitch dark.
RACE T SHIRTS
I collected my race T-shirt on Thursday, along with my bib, and (as in previous editions of this race) I gave the T-shirt away immediately to one of our staff.
Yet again, women were given men’s T-shirts.
But this year, enough of us grumbled on social media to galvanise us all into doing something, and letting the race organisers and the sponsor know, that to treat women runners with such disregard is unacceptable.
Many women are returning their Ts to the organisers.
I’m not sending mine back because I’ve already given it away to our cook. I have no problem in his wearing it, none at all, but that’s not the point.
Give women a woman’s T-shirt.
Or let us opt out of a T at registration and reduce our fee accordingly.
One of my running friends, Juby George, started the protest in a FB post, on the day before the race with these words:
Dear fellow female runners, voice your discontent on your timeline with a size comparison photo and let they organizers know what you are going to do with the over-sized tees you got…
Let this be the last time organizers (of an IAAF gold label race) treat us this way… and let there be an option to deselect race tees in the future…
Some of us took comparison photos, like so, showing our usual T against the Puma race T:
I have a suggestion.
Next year give all the men womens’ fit T-shirts and see how they like it.
A good event.
So well done Procam for that.
But there are still things that must be addressed, like the fact there was no water in the toilets.
And the poor lighting.
And the oversized, mens Ts that irritated and alienated a lot of women.
MY HOPES FOR ADHM 2019?
A 6.00 start.
Either a T-shirt that fits or the ability to opt out.