Chennai Trail Marathon-2013

Since I am writing this post before

1) Uploading the photos on Facebook,

2) Muscle soreness is over

3) My race apres beer is yet to leave the system

The following can be fresh of either hallucinations or wonderful memories..

It was my first trail race in India. Well I can’t ever compare this to the “Bridger Ridge Run” which was the true race which made me even consider running. Anyways, I love trails, I love nature, I love mud, I love green and that is why I call myself “Green Monster”. So I was pretty excited about the Chennai trail marathon, around Cholavaram lake. The photographs the organizing team had posted were very inviting.

After the Bib collection on the eve of the race, we decided to camp at the Gojan College right next to the starting point of the race, turns out it was a great decision, since the access road was horrible and it would have been idiotic to try to reach there in the morning for the 5:30 am start for the half marathon.

Turns out, weather gods have other plans..!!!

Dance

So, we had our food at a nearby small town which had a stage setup for political meeting with dances as “attractions”, though after the dance got over, the crowd watching the tamasha just started to drop down.. It was like, the people neatly dissected bone from meat.

After our dinner, we went to the College and checked out the starting lines and got ready to settle and sleep on the floor of a half-constructed building. It was hot. It was humid, there was not a sign of a breeze. We had gotten mosquito coils and laid it and tried to sleep, after a while we did doze off… And then, AND THEN (the second “AND THEN” to add effect).. it started pouring. It was true to the idiom of “cats and dogs”. ~~~long story short~~ we moved from the floor of that building (it was true to being a continuous verb) and slept in an open classroom on the tables in a nearby building.

Start line..

The sleep was decent enough for all of us. We woke and was ready for the start and then heard about the one hour delay. I was excited for the challenge of even more mud and slush that waited me. But, the volunteers were working hither and thither as all the markers and pointers were lost in the rain and they had to re-route certain areas apparently. There was also the trouble of pools of water were the marshals on bicycle will find it hard to keep up with lead runners.

In the end, it was an enjoyable race after all, lemme point out the positives and negatives..and then get back to the post..

MusKles

Positives first,

1) Great organizing of the event despite tough conditions.

2) Great adaptability at the weather challenge of last-minute.

3) The photo was taken for everyone during medal presentation.

4) The t-shirt was nice..

5) volunteers were very friendly at aid stations, they were wholehearted at what they were doing..

6) Cheer and support at the finish point at this remote location was good though it dwindled towards the end. (We stayed near the finish line till 10:00am.)
7) The local drums band were good. I like “dappan kooth“!
Now  the negatives:
1)The absence of mile markers
2) The U-turn point was not clearly marked, as I ran past the volunteers at the U-turn, they had to stop and make me realize that I have to turn back and run. Nobody was recording and verifying runners at the U-turn point.The 10K runners also went past their u-turn point.
3) I didn’t personally like the BiB on flex material. Though it looks good on photographs, I still prefer the feel of paper.
4) We had bought food coupons for our guests at the Bib collection venue, it was of no use as nobody was checking it.
5) Also, the route was 1-1.5km short of 21.1kms.
Well, considering the tough conditions, they did a pretty good job. no denying that fact. Braving rain, mud, darkness and a remote place without much official support was an exemplary effort by the CTC team. Thumbs up. Also, they gave Chennai a taste of what it feels to run on open fields, out in the rural area, on open trails, to be one with nature. Though I would have preferred it to be 100% trail with more hills. My first time half marathon runner friend enjoyed every moment of his painful odyssey, he later revealed it to me and how it felt different from running on streets dotted with buildings and cars. Though my stopwatch which I hastily stopped after the race and “appeared funny” on the photographs showed a PR timing, it was not a “full half-marathon”
Stop that freaking Watch..!!
Thank you CTC for giving Chennai and runners a glimpse of our wonderful planet.. Go Green..!!
-Santoreeves
P.S: Saw a blog post from an organizer/volunteer. Nice take LINK