and finally a Sub 4 marathon

I’m happy to share my race report for the recently concluded Standard Charted Mumbai Marathon 2016.

How did I get here?

Yr. 2011, I started running just for the heck of completing a marathon in Sub 4 hrs – as time progressed I was dragged into the big Ultra Marathon black hole.

2016 was a lucky year to start with an awesome run.

I ran the SCMM for the first time in 2014 and finished the race in 4:19 mins.  It was my PB at that time and I distinctly remember jubilation accompanied by severe pain in my quad and calf muscles at the finish line.  I gave the 2014 run a miss since I had single minded focus on running my Comrades 2015 up run and didn’t want to run too many marathons.

When I ran the Bengaluru Marathon in October 2016 I tried running faster than my usual marathon pace and at the ended up discovering few things about the running dynamics.  Even though I was really strong till around 35 kms I had to slow down to finish the race with a lot of walking / running combination but eventually got closer to the sub 4 hr.

Sub 4 was still a dream for two reasons – firstly, it was the reason (something unimaginable few years back) for me to start running and secondly, to get the advantage of moving to the D batch in the Comrades marathon.  Thanks to my brother for sharing the idea of running the SCMM this year – when I had almost given up that the registrations were over by end of October.  The outstation registrations were open and within the next 30 mins I secured a slot, booked the flight tickets also knew where I was going to stay in Mumbai.  It was a perfect opportunity not to miss.

The Mumbai trip

I landed in Mumbai at 6.00 pm and hopped into a kaalipeeli to go to Colaba.  After negotiating through the western express the car quickly hit the sea link.   The ride was a perfect road recce and reminded me of the year 2014 when I ran my first SCMM

Carb loading + pasta party & the Colaba mosquitoes 🙂
At 8 pm, a bunch of runners got together at the NOFRA campus market and had ordered everything that we could find there that would build up the pre-marathon-night-carbs.  The White Pasta served had every single ingredient that would aid a Marathon runner.  Fresh vegetables including broccoli, tomato & carrot, white cream, simple and flavored garnishing; everything served hot – it was extremely delectable.

Unfortunately, it was one of the longest days and a toughest night with barely 30 mins of good sleep.  Thanks to mosquitoes and the roaring of a snoring room mate (another runner I shared the room with).  In the morning I got up with a feeling that my day was already screwed up.

Start line
I got up at 3.15 am and quickly grabbed my pre-marathon special fuel.  My wife had packed a brown bread sandwich soaked on pineapple jam + freshly ground peanut butter carefully packed in my son’s blue sandwich box.  I had some electrolyte and took another bottle of water to stay with me till the start line.  After a fresh cold water shower and sliding in to my running gear, at 4.00 am all the runners assembled to board the Navy bus to drop us at the CST.  After reaching CST, with a 15 mins warm-up I slowly marched towards the start line. 

Its a wonderful feeling to go through at the corral while walking closer to the start line (this time a “A” which got me closest to start line mat).  Brushing shoulder to shoulder with all the other anxious runners – I was waiting at the start line thinking about my plan for the race.  I was feeling confident about my training and the preparations that ran up to this marathon.  The only nagging thing was about my sleep and lack of rest the day before.  I decided to ignore them and give my best attempt this time and also enjoy running through the Mumbai roads.  Few 100 thousand volts ran through my nervous system at the moment I thought a sub 4 and to see the finish line with a 3:58 and something.  I thought nothing less than that would be acceptable to me.
The race & results

After a roaring start at 4.40 am, I quickly settled to my target pace and picked my rhythm.

I reached the half way mark in 1:55

I finished the marathon in 3:53:41 making it my fastest full Marathon with a PB by 14 mins from my last Full Marathon in October 2015. Mumbai has suddenly became my favorite course now.

Finish Rank: 288 / 3657 Finishers
Category Rank: 53 / 720 Finishers
Gender Rank: 273 / 3366 Finishers

First half time 1:56:48 & second half 1:56:53 making this race a very good even split.

0-10 kms 0:55:05
11-20 kms 0:55:05
21-30 kms 0:54:35
31-40 kms 0:55:33
Final 2.5 kms 0:13:25

My road to sub 4 since 2012 (the year when I ran my first full marathon)

Yr.     Full Marathon finish time
2012      4:52:26
2013      4:28:41
2014      4:24:22
2014      4:19:00
2014      4:15:41
2015      4:07:35
2016      3:53:41

Thanks to my lovely wife and our children for their affection, love, care and a huge motivation behind my running. Of course, how can I forget all my running buddies who were there to cheer me, motivate me and pat me whenever I did something cool.  With a sub 4 hr finish, I’ll be advancing to the ‘D’ batch in the Comrades Marathon

…apart from being my personal best I also have a double delight to advance to the ‘D’ seeding in the Comrades 2016

Race timing chart from timingindia.com

and the beautiful finisher Medal to adore the Wall of Honor inside my home

now I advance to the D pen – this will certainly help me to save additional 2-3 minutes at the 2016 Comrades Down Run Start @ Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

This was my notes from Runkeeper for my first ever recorded 10k run in 2011 – after 5 years since I started running I achieved my PB – in between I wandered too much into the Ultra Marathon space :). It was great to revisit my goals and also achieving it.

@the finish line – thanks to Gopinath for this picture – behind me is the CST station


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