Home > Important_Day, Links, Photo, Running > Aug 28, 2011 – Hyderabad Marathon

Aug 28, 2011 – Hyderabad Marathon

September 1, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

It’s taken 4 days now for the euphoria to ease. I don’t ‘rate’’ my runs, but now, looking back, if I were to rate my runs, the Hyderabad marathon could easily be right at the top of my all time favorite runs.

The whole weekend was building up to be extremely memorable right from the time I got to the Madras station and scanned the charts stuck on the compartment – and found half the bogie filled with friends. It was fun right from the time the train pulled out, playing games, pulling each others legs and sharing food around. Special mention – Ridhima’s pasta.

I will not much elaborate on how much of my ignorance and Hari’s general knowledge skills were on display that evening.

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We (Ram, Senthil, Ramesh and I) soon discovered that the Hyderabad autos and cab drivers are equal to their Madras counterparts in ripping commuters off. We soon reached the vast and spread out Jubilee Hills International Centre (JHIC), but the guest rooms were a huge disappointment. It had peeling walls, a musty stink and was very seedy. If one could ignore the massive swimming pool and the fantastic facilities around that building, a heavily mascara’ed, red-sareed, nose-rung clad ‘escort’ lying in those bedsheets would not have been very out-of-place. It was that bad. The guests staying there fit the place almost perfectly as well – all of them looked like Paritala Ravi’s relatives, wearing all-whites (including those slippers) and smoking inside the rooms.

We immediately scouted around for replacement rooms and found that the rooms in the 1st floor were way better. Maybe those white slippers were not used to hauling themselves up those stairs. Tipped the attendants generously and as expected found ourselves in our ‘new’ rooms soon enough. But that was not before we had walked down to a restaurant called Nandini and shocked the waiter there with the amount of food that we tucked into. Senthil, as expected, was in his element, and surprisingly he found a match in Ram!

We walked over to the expo, at St Mary’s college around noon time and immediately were engulfed by the sea of runners out there. Met all our friends out there and it was good fun. I collected my special edition, pacers red t-shirt and almost felt as if I cheating them right there – I had no hope of finishing under 5 hours. I met some other pacers there and they all seemed so professional, having run several marathons and in times which were way better than the time for which they were pacing. Having clocked a 5:18 in my previous marathon (at Auroville, Feb), my only plan was that my run-walk works at least until the 25-27k mark. No plans after that. I had my back-up anyway – my co-pacer Balaji. I was planning on waving him along at around the 25k mark.

Anyway, back to the expo – a group snap and the interview with Big FM here:

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Next stop – Chutney’s. Apparently, a very well known restaurant, recommended highly by Ram (and by Burrp). It most certainly lived upto its reputation. We swaggered out of there, each of us, having shamelessly eaten more food than what could feed a family.

Later in the evening, having failed in getting hold of TT bats, we went through some mild stretches and then went for a long walk around the posh Jubilee hills discussing topics from the mundane money matters to deep philosophy. The walk created some space and we happily loaded more carbohydrates at what was soon becoming a favorite haunt – Nandinis.

Got set for the race and it was raceday when we woke up.


Another cab driver showed off his rip-off skills early on Sunday morning and we obliged as usual.

Reached People’s plaza at 4:30 and it was already a runners beehive. It would have been fun to indulge in those start line games (photos, backslaps, warm-up, find-your-partner) except disaster stuck quite early. Switched on my watch – and it switched off. I switched it on again and it died again. No charge. Brilliant. My only plan (which I had set up elaborately and even tried out) was gone. I just stood there not knowing what I should do next when Shankar and Ramani sir appeared and having understood my predicament, Ramani gave me his new watch. Just like that. Where do they make people like these?

Another small hitch – this was the fancy 405 with the touch bezel and more bells – and I didn’t know how to use it. Every time I accidentally (or otherwise) touch the dial, it seemed to go into some other mode. Dammit! Thankfully, Shankar set it up such that I could see the elapsed time and showed me how to lock it immediately. So, that’s what I had – just elapsed time. But, that was a huge relief.

This was such a nerve racking time that I didn’t even realize that the start was delayed. If anything, I am thankful that the start was delayed.

Off we went, whooping at the start, Balaji on-hand and Ramani sir, Bala and Nitin on board the 5:00 hour bus.

The route is well described here, and I just hope the link remains. The elevation profile is now quite famous, but here it is anyway.


The 1st hour was super. No big climbs, just running through the city, laughing and holding onto the bus passengers while we eased into a decent rhythm. 5:1 – running a comfortable clip (around 10 kmph) and taking our breaks as usual. Hour 1 – 9.3 kms. On target. Already, we had lost sight of Senthil and the Rocket who had taken off as if they were shot off a catapult.

They were lucky. The route loops back to close to start point and just as we got there, we were swarmed by the half-marathon runners (around 800 of them) who had just been let loose. Well, it was also fun in a way because now we sighted more runners we knew including McKinsey Ramesh, Gauthama and Niranjan (who had better buns to follow).

So, it was a bit crowded at the point when day broke and we turned into that long flyover which never seemed to end. This was a funny flyover – I haven’t seen another like this where it climbs, twists, turns, flattens out, and when you expect it to descend, it climbs again! Huh? Finally, we got down and faced a 2 km hill. But, quite frankly, it wasn’t terrible – especially since we walked the tough patches! 😉

There was this really nice patch when the road goes up and down like a sino-curve which was pretty cool.

But, we had lost a bit of time and I was beginning to get a bit worried if we would meet the 18.2 mark at the end of 2 hours which was the mini-target which I set for ourselves. And there came along this nice downhill which got us back on track and some more.

Running with Balaji is like having a live entertainment cum satire show on the move, where all you got to do is to keep up with the entertainment. The things he does are right out of the mad hat and would be anywhere from just being blunt, forthright and irreverent to downright loony! He would give his comments on a roadside hoarding which will have you in splits. Another time, when a vehicle ignored traffic restrictions and drove onto the road  blocked for runners, he got a group of runners to make a human dam and block the car for a quite a bit of time. He encouraged people on the roads and cars and buses to get off and run with us! But the best was reserved for the 2 video camera men – the one who was shooting at the normal face level had Balaji screaming towards him to plant a kiss at the camera lens ala a football player after scoring a goal. The football stunt itself was directed at the 2nd videographer who had the camera down on the road shooting the legs of the runners – Balaji sprinted towards him and mock-kicked the lens, missed (deliberately) by an inch, but succeeded in scaring the day lights out of that man. Photographers were not spared either and were treated to some Balaji specials. Here is the man in full flow:


Great fun running with him.

Somewhere around here, we managed to meet my ‘cut off’ of 18.2k in 2 hours but since we were feeling pretty good, decided to keep going with the 4:1 as long as we could instead of stepping it down to a 3:1. Unfortunately, we lost the people on our bus. Ramani sir had dropped out and so had Nitin. But Bala was looking strong and right on our tail. Got a GU down now and got set for the next hour.

Balaji and I running

At one point, the half marathon crowd ran straight ahead while we peeled away to the right – and suddenly it actually felt lonely! The company of several runners is good – we would nod, clap, talk, push all along and there were a bunch of them, but suddenly it felt different not having them run along with us. As if on cue, the backdrop changed – from a city with IT towers and plush buildings to a laidback village with open spaces, grazing cows and men with lungis.

But it climbed up till my legs screamed despite having switched to a 3:1 somewhere. I got to my cliff which, again was on time, unwelcomingly, at 27k. Dismayingly, I wanted to be here before 3 hours, but we couldn’t make it. We missed it, albeit just by a few mins. This is at a point where I got screwed every single time in my training runs. My nadir. The point when the whole body starts revolting, pushes out demons one after another for my head to deal with. And the road was climbing. Doubts crept in.

The road crested and gave me a half-a-kilometer downhill. Then it veered right, pointed to an aid station and flattened out. I love this course. Another GU. Grabbed a gatorade, shook myself literally and got back into business.

Still on a 3:1 and pushing to make up the time and get to where we wanted to be. It was here that we started looking more and more at watch and then scanning the road ahead for milemarkers, almost willing them to appear. At 3:30, we had done around 31k and it seemed as if we might just make it. Unfortunately, Bala got off the bus here and it was just the 2 of us from now.

Did I tell you I love the course? At the point where the struggle has turned to a battle and pain is the all consuming thought, the course actually forces the mind to awaken to the beautiful environs of the Univ of Hyderabad campus. This place is beautiful. 34-38 kms were inside that campus – fairly flat, tree-lined, with chirping birds and cheering students. We were down to a 2:1 and actually running hard in those 2 mins. Soon, it was quite clear that a sub-5 is going to be achievable. We stepped down to a 1:1, relaxed, enjoyed the run, started joking again and even contemplated going a tad slower so that we would not make it sooner than 3-4 mins before the 5:00 hour time.

The course took care of that again – it exited the Univ and took us through an uphill! But as we got to the top, we had almost gotten to the stadium – 1k to go, 12 odd minutes in hand. Deal done.

Runners with medals around the neck were coming out and cheering us on. They wanted us to sprint to the finish, but all we wanted was to soak in the moment. Unbelievably, there was not so much pain any more. I was still counting down to the walk-break loudly, but there was no one in the bus – there was just the bus with Balaji driving it! It had been his idea to extend the 3:1, and then to extend the 2:1 – he had paced it beautifully.

We laughed, blew kisses like celebrities, waved to everyone and no one, hooked our arms over each others shoulders and sauntered to the finish line – 4:56. Loved the moment.

Balaji and I

[The next hour with all the friends was a blast and so much fun, but having re-lived this finish moment, I got to stop here. Besides, Deepu just nudged me saying I’ve been writing for a while and it has taken me 7 page-ups to get to the top. What a bore!]

CR Group

Photo albums

Shankar’s Picasa album – tagged in a few pics.

Anju Kp’s facebook album – tagged in a couple of pictures, but good snaps overall

Flickr album from Bheemeswara Sarma – #1

Flickr album from Bheemeswara Sarma – #2

Categories: Important_Day, Links, Photo, Running
  1. Dwarak
    September 1, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Awesome run and report! Congratulations.

  2. Anonymous
    September 2, 2011 at 3:29 am

    hey just discovered ur blog thru DM profile… so well written! Awesome report there….could never have described it the way u did 🙂 congrats once again!

  3. karthikpadmanabhan
    September 5, 2011 at 4:53 am

    Thank you 🙂
    @Ridhima – you too. What-a-run!! Too good.

  4. September 9, 2011 at 8:58 am

    Good stuff ! 🙂

  1. July 22, 2012 at 4:52 pm
  2. August 17, 2015 at 4:02 pm
  3. January 23, 2020 at 4:26 am

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