27 November 2011

The Hyderabad 10K

This morning I ran my first race in years -- the Hyderabad 10K. My experiences in India over the last year led me to expect a lot of exuberance with much less attention to detail than there would be at a race in the United States. And I was pretty much right.

Chip timing was offered for the amateur ten-kilometer run, which impressed me at first. So did the online registration process. However, when I went to the Expo yesterday to pick up my bib and chip, even though I brought the printed-out registration confirmation, they had me fill out a new registration form -- with all the same information on it -- then they went onto the computer to check my online registration. They asked for my id card but didn't actually look at it. The online registration had said to be sure to bring the credit card you paid with as your proof-of-purchase, but they didn't ask to see it. Also, during the race, as a backup to the chip timing they were writing down bib numbers and times at the five-kilometer mark and at the finish line they stopped me to ask my name as well. If this is all computerized, all you need is my chip! And why the redundancy of filling out new registration forms by hand when I have my printout? They looked at it and threw it away!

The race only started five minutes late, which was earlier than my friend and I expected. We'd been running the course for the last few weekends so had an idea of how to pace ourselves for the times we wanted. I actually felt great and went a little faster than my training runs. I kept thinking that I couldn't keep it up, until I noticed that kilometer markers didn't quite match my Garmin and maybe the race would be finishing sooner than I expected. When a particularly chatty runner started bothering me with only two kilometers to go (even though my Garmin indicated a half-mile left), I used the upcoming finish line as an excuse to say "Great job, finish strong!" and zoomed ahead for a good finish. (If he was able to chat, he should have been going faster, too!)

My goal was to keep a ten-minute pace and my final time was fifty-seven minutes! My Garmin tracked the distance at 6.04 miles rather than 6.2 miles. I'm curious to see my official time once they get it posted. I didn't notice a finishing clock at the line. The 9K Corporate Fun Run/Walk was starting as I finished and the line was crowded. They didn't have great crowd control and eventually they gave up keeping a finishing chute open and free of walkers. When my friend crossed the line a few minutes after me, she said she'd been walking and pushing people out of her way to make it to the finish. She may have finished in under an hour, but the walking crowd at the line took her several minutes to get through before she actually crossed the finish line in about one hour and three minutes. Also, once we finished we had to cross the road in front of all the walkers to get over to the refreshments table. Sorry Hyderabad, even with chip timing and starting only a few minutes late, you lose points for a messy, crowded finish line.

Now I don't know what to do next. I'd like to tackle a half-marathon if I can find one. I may have to travel for that. The Bangkok marathon and half-marathon have been postponed to my birthday in February. I like Bangkok and I like my birthday...


Jami Mari said...

Thanks for a great post about racing outside of the US. Here in the states racers would have been livid with that experience. I wonder where the perfect blend of community AND accurate race timing exists.

Fabiha said...

Welcome to Hyderabad. I just came across your blog and liked your post. I am from Hyderabad. I had participated in 10k run last year so I can relate to you. Everything you said about it is so hilariously true. Anyway happy staying in Hyderabad :)

Ice Man said...

I do agree with you cause I too have gone through the same experience. I came from Madrid on Saturday to take part in it (the second year) thinking that it would be better this year. What a fool I was to think that things would change here. It's worse than last year and I'm still looking for the results. Looks like it's all just a show (chip, 5k marker etc..)


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