Archive for 7:12 pm

Auroville revisited

February, 2016 · By admin

2011 was the last time I had done Auroville, due to travel and work I seemed to have missed doing this run over the years. That year was a turning point and it started with Auroville. I did a 3:30 for the full that year. An improvement over the last few years where I did a few ultras in the hope of getting faster – but with no luck. That’s the year I got a custom plan (the first time I ever got a plan). I won’t get into the details as this is a post about Auroville and why there should be more races like this.

I didn’t really train as much for this run as I did for KTM and Ultra. I went into in knowing that I was running it more for pleasure than to race it. I had only done one 20miler in Jan/Feb which gave me a rough indication of my level of fitness – a 3:10 would have been great but I was happy for anything under 3:15.

I didn’t see too many familiar faces this year, which was good in a way as it meant that there were more people doing trail running (which I think more people should do more often).

goodluckGood luck on the morning of the marathon! If it isn’t it they will at least wake you up!

Morning of the run (5AM start) I was able to get to the venue thanks to the RFL gang who were running as well (namely A2, Madiha, Dillo & Appu) as they got us a motorbike from town to commute. It made it that much less stressful knowing that I didn’t have to figure out how to get to the start.


The run started almost on time 🙂 ten minutes really doesn’t make much difference at that time. I was pleased to see a couple of familiar faces – esp. Rishi.

We were lucky to have volunteers (what makes this race special) on bikes show us the way. The first few miles went by pretty fast or they seemed, and a few of us lead the way. I had to keep telling my self to slow down as I knew the humidity would hit me soon enough.

About 7 miles into the race I was running on my own. It was still dark so there wasn’t much to see except for the bike leading the way. So that was my only focus point.

Nearing the half way mark it started to get bright and I now had more things to look at – familiar things that I remembered from 2011. Not much had changed on the course – it had only gotten better. All trail – no road! I presumed that once it was bright that our lead vehicle (hehe! it did feel like that) would retire and we would carry on.

I was lucky – Andre my lead rider kept ahead of me for the second loop. I felt very important. Especially when he moved people out of the way and shouted ‘marathon runner coming please move to your left’. And promptly people moved to their right ( I feel for this being directionally dyslexic myself!). But everyone did give me way and cheered me on, which was a fantastic feeling – I would say as good as having a crowd cheering you on.

The trail had started to get quite busy mid way through the second loop with the half marathoners and 10k converging. But Andre was very meticulous in his task of clearing the path.

Mile 20 and my legs were starting to feel tired. I was hoping that they weren’t going to cramp again. Andre was like this ball of energy – he didn’t seem tired and kept announcing  ‘fast runner coming please give way’. At this point my pace had dropped considerably and there was a clear time lapse between him saying it and me appearing. I could see people looking to their right and not seeing anyone and wondering what he was on about!

I was happy to see the the sign to the finish. My legs had started to cramp – which made me reduce my pace and the humidity had started to take it’s toll. If it wasn’t for my legs being tired I think I would have liked to go for another loop (I’m sure Andre would have abused me in French). So I was pleased to finish in a decent time of 3:12 (1st overall) all thanks to Andre!

So can’t wait to come back next year. Andre – hope to spend time off the trail this time 🙂

Thank you to Auroville for organising such a super event and to all the volunteers.

My only recommendation to the organisers is to have more dustbins at the finish. It was sad to see so much rubbish being thrown on the ground. Runners should also make a conscious effort to not throw things anywhere and everywhere.

Auroville & running –

  1. Marathon start – they give you torches but carry your own and leave it at an aid station close to the start so you can pick it up later.
  2. Book accommodation 2-3 months in advance
  3. Best race to do if you want to have fun – really sweat it out and not stress about time.
  4. Don’t expect chip timing, medals etc. This year they gave out candles – what makes the race unique.
  5. Drink early in the race so you don’t lose too much water / salt towards the end
  6. Try not to carry your cups with you and drop it along the route – carry it to the next aid station or don’t carry it at all. Cleaning up after a marathon deserves as much appreciation as running one.
  7. Smile – it’s not a chore, enjoy it. The best thing about trails is you’re away from the noise & pollution of cities – take off your head phones and listen to yourself and everything around you. Best time to clear your head! 😀

What next? Your guess is as good as mine!

But here are some of the races I’ll hope to do this year:

  1. TCS 10k (12 weeks away so start training! – If you’d like to get coached – join us )
  2. Javadu Ultra 50k – loved it last year – so will do it this year
  3. Sohra/Cherra marathon (tentative)
  4. AHM – half
  5. KTM (full – 10th year anniversary)
  6. A 100k event if it happens in Oct – my return to 100k after 6+ years if it happens
  7. SPBM – half
  8. Bangalore Ultra 50k – 10th year anniversary and looking at bettering my time.
  9. A few halves & 10k along the way

Enjoy your year of running!

#running #trailrunning #auroville #happy #mizuno

Shoes: Mizuno Wave Hitogami 2

Apparel: Race ready

Nutrition: 1 gel – Cliff shot gel

Some photos courtesy paranoiddandroidd