Running the TCS World 10k Bengaluru during a heatwave

The TCS World 10k Bengaluru on Sunday was a tough race that took place in heatwave conditions. A runner describes how it felt to participate

Shrenik Avlani
First Published2 May 2024
Elite athletes take part in the TCS World 10K Marathon, in Bengaluru.
Elite athletes take part in the TCS World 10K Marathon, in Bengaluru.(PTI)

The latest edition of the TCS World 10k Bengaluru, held on 28 April, had a completely new route, including a new starting point and a new finish line; this was probably due to the ongoing general elections. TCS World 10k Bengaluru (promoted by the same company that does the Tata Mumbai Marathon and Delhi Half Marathon) is often considered as India’s biggest 10km race. This year, 28,600 runners participated in the race.

For the first time in the run’s short history, (it began in 2008) runners didn’t assemble inside the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, the home ground of Bengaluru FC, for the start. Nor did the race pass through the iconic Cubbon Park. It was also the first time that the race was run in such hot conditions as the city, like much of the country, is in the grip of a heat wave. 

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Bengaluru hit a high of 41.8 degrees Celsius this week, the city’s fourth hottest day on record. With no rain for two weeks to offset the heat, the Indian Meteorological Department issued a heatwave warning in the city till 5 May. This necessitated an early start at 5:10am, which, thankfully worked out for participants. Anyone who wanted to push for a target time could do so before the sharp sun brought on the heat.

However, this meant that the competitive races with pro runners started later in the day, under the increasing force of the sun. Kenya’s Peter Mwaniki won the men’s title, finishing with a timing of 28 minutes and 15 seconds, while fellow Kenyan Lilian Kasait was the fastest woman crossing the line in 30:56. Kiran Matre was the fastest Indian man setting a new race record of 29:32 and Sanjivani Jadhav, who holds the event record for Indian elite women, bagged the top spot with a 34:03 finish. 

While many experienced runners stayed away from this race, newer converts to running did line up for their first race. Aruna Sujit, a 47-year-old architect and urban planning expert, who ran her maiden 10k race on Sunday after about four weeks of training, was impressed and happy with the run. “The arrangements were on point and the feeling of running with thousands of runners was exhilarating. There were plenty of water stations and volunteers were handing out bottles to the runners, there were musicians performing and thousands of people were running together happily,” says Sujit.     

The new race route, which ran along the edge of Cubbon Park instead of through it, went past the Vidhana Soudha and wrapped up near the Ulsoor Lake. The best part of the race was the post-race resting area, which was humongous. This ensured there was no crowding as the day progressed and more and more runners came in after completing the race. Since everyone had plenty of space, the mood was jovial and runners displayed immense patience and great civic sense as they waited in queues to click pictures with their medals. 

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This was my first race since December 2022 and the only reason I signed up for it was because I was trialling a new training programme by Run Dot. This was also the first time I was using my Nike VaporFly Next% 3 for a race, and I was curious to see how they performed (they are terrible at handling sharp turns, and don't have great grip while running on wet surfaces).

While training for the race, I ran distances of 10km twice a week every week. However, none of them had been a threshold or race pace 10k. Each of those runs included about 5-7km at a high intensity and the rest was a warm up or cool down run at an easy pace. I was confident of completing the race, but I wasn’t sure if I could maintain a good pace for the entire distance. 

In any race, the first couple of kilometres are usually pretty crowded: Everyone has fresh legs, heart rate is manageable and lungs are full of oxygen. It is around the 2km point that a lot of runners start slowing down because either they have come out too fast, or they’re beginning to run out of breath. 

So, I didn’t push too hard at the start, but with fewer runners around me at the 2.5km mark, I started putting in some effort as I didn’t have to weave in and out of the way of other runners. My mind was also busy discovering the new route as I had not recced it in advance. Before I knew it, I had run all around Ulsoor lake and had just a couple of kilometres left. 

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It was now that I tried picking up the pace but quickly realised I won’t be able to hold it till the finish line, so slowed down a bit. However, with the last kilometre remaining, I wanted to check how much the built-for-speed, carbon plated shoes helped. 

Instead of holding back, I started striding and the bounce-back at the toe-off was strong, helping me go faster without me having to put in too much effort. Luckily, my legs and heart were able to handle this extra speed and I crossed the finish line wondering how much faster I would have gone had I been wearing the latest Nike Alphafly 3 or the Adidas Adios Pro 3. For now, I am still celebrating my very own new race record. 

Shrenik Avlani is a writer and editor and the co-author of The Shivfit Way, a book on functional fitness.

Also Read Great workout gear for the summer

 

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