Delhi Half-Marathon: Well Done Delhi

November 1, 2009

The organisers of the Delhi half-marathon could not have picked a better time for the run.

The 7:30 am start on a late-autumn Sunday was perfect weather to run. Besides the chill, the air had its fair share of enthusiasm.

The runners represented a cross section of society in the Indian capital, which also has a vibrant expat population. And yes, this is Delhi so the “pushers” (the same kind who never let people alight from a Metro train before they get in) were also present. But once the runners were spread out, there was some camaraderie on the roads.

One question on people’s minds was — “Where are the Africans?” For kilometres, there was no trace of the elite runners. That was until we saw them running past the 14 km mark while most others were nearing 7. That’s when Delhi’s runners turned into cheerleaders, clapping for their elite counterparts.

I never ever thought I’d associate the word “class” with “Delhi” but I have been surprised before.

Maybe, Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram’s request to the people of New Delhi to be better behaved is actually working.

Very few cities in the world can match the scenery of central Delhi. Among the highlights were crossing India Gate and running near the President’s House and what is called the North and South blocks (housing India’s home and foreign ministries respectively).

I don’t want to heap too much praise on the organising of the event but it seemed almost flawless.

Delhi might just be able to do a good job of hosting the Commonwealth Games next October, although I know of two 15-year-olds who ran the wrong race for eight kilometres before they realised they were running the half-marathon and not the 7-kilometre Delhi Dream Run.

And yes, I enjoyed the 21 km run clocking a little more than two hours.

4 comments

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Cheers Ajay for successfully completing the half-marathon! I would not go so far as to say Delhi is at the moment ready to pull off the Commonwealth Games smoothly because it hosted a flawless half-marathon. But if I draw a comparison to all things Indian, I am sure we will have major hitches, cheating contractors, traffic wrecks, bureaucrats with nervous breakdowns like husbands of expecting wives, and yet in the end we will meet the challenge with grace. God willing.

Posted by rituparna | Report as abusive

Firstly congrats on completing the race. The difference between this event and the commonwealth games is that the half marathon was apolicitcal, so despite its sucess, I would keep expectations low for commonwealth games, considering the amount of politics involved.

Posted by Vivek | Report as abusive

Flawless? Class?? You’ve got to be kidding me! This was my third year at the Delhi half, and this was undoubtedly the worst year. First, the crowds to see SRK kept the runners back – we didn’t even get started till 7.45 am. Then on the run, Delhiites were – well, Delhiites, pushing, shoving and elbowing, tossing water bottles and changing directions without checking if they were in someone’s path. And the runners had to be the cheerleaders becoz the rest of Delhi can’t be bothered to show up. There were also vehicles and pedestrians intruding. Of course, the last stretch was the worst, with the shorter run coinciding just when we were at our most tired. Airtel must realise the star of the run is the runners themselves, not some film actor. And Procam must get its act together – it does a great job in Bombay, after all. As for people in Delhi – come to Bombay, see how we run a marathon.

Posted by Rina | Report as abusive

The delhi half marathon was successful but it still had many loopholes. First of all they didnt even announce the names of the veteran winners and neither called them on stage while they should have taken special care of them. Young people in their early twenties running a half marathon is no big deal but people in their late forties and early fifties completing the race in less than 2 hours is a big deal.

Posted by Kamal Dip Singh | Report as abusive