The much anticipated race on 17th January 2016 went well - I comfortably achieved my goal of a sub 3:50 finishing in 3:47:15 - 6th in my age category. Really thrilled with the (negative) splits of 1:53:59 and 1:53:16 - first time ever in a FM!. Though a bit fatigued at the end I was able to maintain my pace in the last 10Kms - my slowest Km was 5:27 (apart from 5:33 in the 1st Km) which included the Peddar road flyover stretch on the return. In fact, I was in such a state that I did not even realise when I crossed the flyover. I got quite energised after turning from Marine drive towards Churchgate and ran the last 2 Kms at 5:15.
|Few minutes after crossing the finish line|
After hanging around the finish line with other runners went into the Azad maidan (and unlike last year one did not have to climb up crowded steps to get in) to collect the checked-in baggage, medal and refreshments which was'nt great.
The anxiety level really shot up the afternoon/evening of the day before the race - ate quite a bit of myriad food - almonds,pecans, biscuits, salted peanuts etc. Had a hearty dinner of 4 phulkas and curd race and went to sleep by 10PM. And as always woke up at 3am a few minutes before the alarm went off. Like last year Amit Joshi's father dropped us at Chembur station just before 4am and we took the 4:17 train to CST. We were joined by Bharath another Bangalore runner.
|with Amit and Bharath enroute to CST from Chembur|
After 2 levels of security checks we were in Azad maidan by about 5:10 or so. After checking in my bag, warming up a bit and going to the loo reached Zone A of the starting line about 10 minutes before start of the race. Met Ashok and a few other runners at the start point. A few minutes after the start Satish and I were together. Did the first Km quite slowly in 5:33. We ran together till the sea link which started around the 15th Km this year due to some tweaking in the route. We hit the 10K mark in about 54 minutes and ran most of the sealink stretch together (the sealink was from Km 15 to 19 this year due to some tweaking of the route) at a steady pace. However, I lost S towards the end of the sealink and ran the rest of the race pretty much alone. I ate my first date cake around Km 11 and the second one around Km 25. The litter bins after every aid station was a good improvement - also saw lot of volunteers collecting litter along the route. As always the spirited support and cheering of the crowds was amazing - one of the unique attributes of SCMM which motivates runners to come back year after year. And Mumbai police did a fabulous job in managing the traffic. The organisers ensured that the HM or dream run runners did not hamper the FM runners in their home stretch. I crossed the finish line with my Garmin reading 42.85Km - so in a sense I did a sub 3:45 FM.