Saturday, January 19, 2008

Mumbai marathon organisers, Procam disappoints again..

Despite repeated protests for two consecutive years, Procam does not seem to have learned anything. They continue to pander to the tunes of TV broadcasters and commercial interests (read sponsors), at the cost of passionate runners & the marathon itself. Just having some paid elite athletes is not going to take the Mumbai marathon too far, you need to build a running culture to seed the industry. They are again starting the full marathon at 7.40am instead of 6.30am, as its not bright enough to to do live TV broadcast. So you actually have the half marathon before the full one, which is nonsensical especially given the humidity and temperatures in Bombay.

The Singapore marathon starts way before sunrise, which makes the marathon so much better and easier. Quote from the Singapore marathon official website - "the flag off for the Full Marathon will be at 5.30am. Organisers said this was in response to feedback from runners that an earlier start will help them cope better with the heat and humidity". Both the marathons have the same sponsor, but the organisers are different.

The Athens marathon has an early start for slow runners. Why can't Bombay learn from such international marathons. Also, the organisers need to actually run and participate in marathons across the world. If that is too much, can they set up an advisory panel of reputed Mumbai runners, who can help them implement suggestions with help from runners without compromising commercial interests.

Mainstream media thankfully has been bold enough to highlight the fact that the number of participants in the full marathon is half of what it was in 2007 (isn't that really alarming?? We have only 1350 full marathon runners this year. What do we need for the organisers to sit up and take notice? A boycott of the marathon by Mumbai based runners??). And the only reason this got highlighted was the fact that finally we have some competition (both in TV and mainstream newspaper space) in media. I had highlighted this fact last year as well, that the number of full marathon participants in 2007 was lower than 2006, but could not support that with credible numbers.

I finally have my race bib with me, its 1196 and am waiting for Sunday morning. I happened to meet some of my fellow runners from GTM (Great Tibetan Marathon) for lunch today and hope to catch up with many more tomorrow morning.


Hormaz said...

Hey Girish,

I completely agree with your comments and do empathize with the full marathon runners who struggle running under the scorching sun..(as i did see today). will quickly update you on my run today.. it went off very well considering it was my very first 21k.. i completed the run in 2hours:06 mins, though i feel that i could have def done better. and talk about running culture in mumbai, i came across some really good runners today:)well i hope to continue this habit and if all goes well a 42k next yr or a under 2 hr - 21k.. hope your run went well..will look forward to your posts on your mara experience. cheers!

Girish said...

Great effort Hormaz. Keep the good work going.
Will be posting more on the Mumbai marathon soon.

Ranjan said...

Hey Girish

Ran into your blog when I was curious to find out the Marathon route in Bombay. (What is the route? I did not find it on the organizers' website) Though, how and whereabouts you guys run and train in Bombay is beyond me. I have been a runner for over 30 years (59 years old now) and the only place I have run in India was in Goa, and I got curious looks from onlookers then. Bombay seems impossible. I just ran my first half-Marathon in New York in 2h25m and it felt great. Maybe I will get motivated for the full-M in NYC. A friend of mine who is a veteran runner is in Bangalore and just emailed to me that he sees young kids standing around smoking and playing with their mobiles, and feels like shaking them up. So, keep it up. Hopefully, the running culture will grow there.

Good luck

Anonymous said...

I ran the half marathon in 2007. If I can remember correctly the start time for that race was 6.45am. The full marathon began soon after by 7.15am. I sure hope this year they make such considerations that you have mentioned for the sake of the actual participants.

If anyone has a half marathon bib number for the 2009 Mumbai Marathon please contact me.
I was shocked to find out that registration is already closed. I plan to train for the race in the hopes of finding a bib.

Keep running,

Girish Mallya said...

Hi Jill. Using someone else's bill is not the right thing to do, it can get you disqualified.

My suggestion would be to contact the organisers and find if you could run for a NGO or cause and use that quota (this is definitely possible with dream run, not sure about half marathon). There is one more option, register for the full marathon which will be open till the last day, as they barely get 1000 entries. And run your own half marathon using the full marathon bib, simple (you will not get a certificate or timing details, but that does not really matter).

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