It’s a great pleasure to share my international marathon participation experience. A seasoned runner always dreams of running in different events, climate, marathons and different geographical areas.
While being in India I got chance to run in and around Pune and Satara. I had never dreamt of running an international marathon. However I got lucky enough to do so because of my relocation to UAE in Nov 2016. Being new to hot scorching climate I didn’t participate in 2017. However after getting adapted to the environment and persuasion of our beloved Dr Yogesh Satav Guruji I decided to participate in RAK HALF MARATHON 2018.
Here marathons are not heavily advertised like India. Registrations are strictly online through a third party web portal. Registration came at heavy dent in pocket of 5000/- INR. It was really painful to pay such a huge amount as cost in India is just 25 percent of this. However the service I received from organisers was awesome. Running kit received at doorstep through a courier service. T-Shirt was of highest quality compared to the t-shirts I have of various marathons. All the information and instructions were crystal clear. In spite of cost being high all 5000 registration got sold out in just few weeks.
On the race day the arrival instructions for out of station runners were properly displayed and they were guided well. Traffic was diverted smartly and ample of free parking was made available.The enthusiasm was clearly seen everywhere. Volunteers were doing their best to place the runners in respective categories. More than 75 nationality people had taken part in the event. Got to see half of the world conglomerated at one place. This was icing on the cake. Music bands banners were making environment more vibrant. People could be seen around excited and doing warmup in groups. I wasn’t knowing anyone but could chat with few international buddies and share running experiences in respective countries.
Our Runaholics T shirt was shining bright in the crowd. Few people got curious and asked few questions about Runaholics and I proudly shared information about our group. Flag off for Elite Runners along with their escort vehicle was done at 6:30 am. Most of the elites were from Ethiopia and Kenya. For others flag off was done at 7 am. The King of Ras al Khaimah was present to do the honour of inauguration of marathon. Female runners were quite good in number. People were carrying hifi gadgets, latest gears shoes. Most of the runners were looking fit and had set aggressive targets. Climate was pleasant but humid. Route was very scenic and traffic diversions were very professional. Volunteers were working hard to make runners feel as comfortable as they can.
I had not run long distances for quite a long time before this event but I was sure of my fitness of completing the run. The vibrant environment pushed my mind to set target below 2 hr 10 min. There were no pacers like in India. First 5 kms were done with ease chatting around with people in crowd. I was continuing to run below 6 min/km without paying attention to hydration which is the most important part frequently endorsed by Yogesh. I decided to take water break at 10 km station. I managed to cross 10 km station in 59 min which was quite good for the target which I had set. While stopping for the water break I decreased my pace suddenly to 6 km/ hr from 11 km/hour. This lead to severe spasm of my left calf muscles. I guess if I had given proper attention to my hydration the spasm would not have occurred. I immediately did stretching to relieve the spasm and started running again. But the calf muscles were not in cooperation mood. The pain was very significant with each impact of foot on road. After 12 km (71 min) I wasn’t able to run at all. I thought of giving up the marathon. But I could push away all the negative thoughts of giving up and decided to complete the marathon at least walking for rest of distance. After walking 2 km felt a bit better and pain decreased. By this time it was hot and humid. After 15 min I started running again at slower pace and continued Run- walk – stretching cycle for rest of the distance. With all the support from volunteers and cheering people around I could cross the finish line at 9:22 am with chip time of 2:20 hrs and Gramin time of 2 hours 17 min which was 10 min more than the set target time.
I was happy to complete my first international marathon but I would have been elated if it had been injury free. Post run received nice Souvenir and good refreshments. Lots of happy faces around were congratulating each other and discussing the excellent management and hydration support throughout the route.
After reaching home I was surprised and ecstatic to see so many messages on Runaholics group tracking my run live and discussing about probable reasons for slowing down after 10 km. I felt like being at home with my Runaholics family. I can’t express my gratitude for the love and appreciation I received from the Runaholics family.
Overall it was a nice experience to participate in an international marathon and represent Runaholics on overseas platform