This was the fourth time I was participating in the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon (ADHM) and I must say that my experience has always bettered over the years. Maybe it is because I don’t remember very well what happened the previous year but every year is amazing.
Let me get into the details and take you four years back when I first ran at ADHM. Back then I was 12 years old so I could not participate in the half marathon because you could only participate in that if you were 18 years and above and apparently I wasn’t. This was my very first experience of going to a place like this where there were more than 30 thousand people. Some running, some walking, some even talking.
I was running the Great Delhi Run, as they call it, which was of only six kilometres and I was very well prepared. I was a little disappointed to see that most of the people were walking instead of running and clicking selfies, I thought that everyone must have come there to run but they had some other goals like posting their pictures on all the social media sites and let their friends know that they were there.
But if I talk about my personal experience I enjoyed it. I remember I completed the race in around 36 minutes.
Next year most of it was the same. I was running the Great Delhi Run, people were doing the same thing, I was doing the same thing (running at full strength). The only thing that changed maybe other than my age and the year was the timing, it came down by five minutes. So if you do the maths it was now 31 minutes.
Next year, that is 2016 I didn’t prepare. I don’t know the actual reason yet but I was still participating. I was not sure if I’d be able to complete the Great Delhi Run but my timing was not as good as the previous year, it had gone up. I can’t recall what was the exact timing but it was not as good. Maybe the people participating had also increased and made the way even more crowded but that’s no excuse.
I didn’t go in much of details while talking about the last three years because like I earlier mentioned as you go further ahead you tend to forget the events from the past, so I don’t remember much. But I very well remember this year’s marathon because it happened only 24 hours back. It’s fresh.
Now I’m 15 and ADHM was kind enough to introduce a new category of timed 10k, that is 10 kilometres and this year I was running in this category. But let us go a little back in the story. So the condition of Delhi for the past 10-15 days was not at all good. The air was toxic. PM 2.5 levels which are supposed to be below 60 (I guess) for the air quality to be good were over 400 and even 500 at some places. So you get an idea of what the situation was like. But I’m not going to go into the depth of this matter, I’m leaving that for some other blog.
There was a lot of talk going around if a mass event like this should be organised or not and even the sponsors said that if this problem continues they might pull out from the sponsorship by next year. And it was not confirmed if the marathon was going to be held on the date that was previously decided although it ended up happening on the same date, it was tentative.
Now coming on to the race day. This time things were quite different from the past experiences as far as I remember. Like I said, I was running in a different category this time but I found that people were more serious about the run this time and the only conclusion that I could draw from this was that it was just because it was the longer format of the race. Anyone could walk down 6 kilometres but not many could do 10 kilometres.
This time I did this thing for the first time and that was making a group. What happens is that there are a few experienced runners with flags indicating how much time they’re going to take to complete the race and if you have a target to complete the race n the same time you can be with them. And they actually refer to them as buses which is quite interesting in itself! So I was following the one who had the target of completing in 75 minutes and we ended up completing in 73 minutes.
It is very good to be with a group no matter how small or big because each of them keeps you motivated and charged and it really helped me.
Other than that there was also a Hindi band, Euphoria, performing live there. They were quite cool as well.
All in all, it was a fun-filled experience, when you get that medal of completing the race you get a sense of achievement and it truly feels as if you have earned it and that feeling is not expressible.