We made our half-marathon debuts on 28 October at the Vodafone-sponsored Delhi half. It was, on the whole, an exhilarating experience, especially the feeling of having run 21km—the one-way commute both of us make to get to work daily. Yet, some of the joy of crossing the finishing line was soured by organizational glitches. Here are a few which we hope will be addressed next year:
• The event could have started earlier than 7.45am. This would have allowed the slower runners to finish before the heat set in.
• A number of runners complained that the route for the shorter event was merged with that of the main race towards the end, cramping the serious runners.
• Companies should have properly briefed the participants they had sponsored. For instance, a group of overly boisterous people sporting Ford T-shirts, were throwing water and water bottles wildly in the air, making the track wet and slippery and impeding the progress of other runners.
• While there was enough water available along the route, medical facilities, supposedly managed by elite institutions, were woeful.
• Medical support stations were inadequately manned by trained personnel.
• While there were enough tents in the loop leading to the halfway mark, there just didn’t seem to be enough on the way back, especially when one hit “the wall” after the 15th kilometre.
• One of us, who felt hypoglycaemic towards the 16th km, couldn’t find glucose/or glucose substitutes and was instead offered a medical spray for aches and sprains!
• Perhaps the worst experience was the lack of nutrition packs and water at the finishing line.
• We had to wait for a couple of hours to get our certificates and return the timing chips at the end of the race because the printers weren’t working.
The event organizers, when contacted, said they had received full cooperation from the Delhi Police and every effort was made to ensure law and order. Anil Singh, managing director, Procam International, which managed the event, added there were fully-equipped ambulances and medical stations en route as well as adequate nutrition packs and water. He, however, admitted to a problem with the printing of certificates and inadequate training of volunteers.
(Ravi Krishnan finished the race in 3 hours 2 minutes and Sanjiv Shankaran clocked a time of 3 hours 4 minutes)