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The highs and lows of Sunfeast

HIGHS:

Running the Sunfeast 10K with over 4000 people in the Open 10K category : the energy and the crowd enthusiasm was pretty awesome and we could feel the excitement pulsating through the air as the whole group lined up for the start at sharp 9 am. This was my first run with such a large group of runners and it was great to see so many people out there.

Before the run


Lots of runners from the RFL gang who are always fun to be around (despite everyone’s obsession for times!) were all there. I guess that’s a part of running. What I enjoyed most is the after-race breakfast with nearly everyone trickling into Airlines hotel for the customary breakfast of dosas and idlis.

Airlines breakfast

Watching the Elite 10K Women’s category and the close finish was another amazing moment : these women with their long limbs and sculpted bodies striding powerfully through the stadium towards the finish line : presented quite an inspiring sight! These women don’t run – they actually fly! The (joint) winners came in at 32 mins.

LOWS:

The littering! Why were people throwing plastic bottles everywhere? Where were the bins?! The organization was great otherwise, except for this small oversight. There were NO bins!

Could they not have placed some bins at intervals so people could chuck bottles into them? Of course, Indians being Indians would still throw bottles on the road, but at least the damage done would be lesser.

It was an absolutely appalling sight : at one stage it was like running on a sea of plastic bottles. It was like a competition to see how many bottles a person could chuck – they would have probably done well at a baseball game. At one point, even the folks at the water points were chucking the bottles into the path of runners, whether there was someone to catch it or not.

Why couldn’t people just hang on to their bottles till the next stop or till they saw a bin? What is with us Indians? Because I can’t understand how people can litter the roads in this fashion knowing that they’re creating so much work for someone else who has to clean up after them. Where were the responsible runners?

Having run with RFL, I must say that I’ve rarely seen anyone irresponsible. Not only is everyone really careful about where they are throwing garbage, everything including bottles and cups are collected in garbage bags and disposed of responsibly. At the last Bangalore Ultra, I didn’t see a single bottle being chucked anywhere on the beautiful trail. Left to these kind of irresponsible runners, the countryside would have been littered with plastic.

This on the other hand, being more of a junta run, there was absolutely zero sense displayed by the people running.

Maybe, a better way would have been to hand out water in open cups so people couldn’t carry them along. I am sure they could have thought this out better, knowing the absolutely deplorable habit of littering that we Indians seem to have in our blood.

The heat was another low. I’ve been mainly running under the pleasant shade of the Cubbon park trees and only when we were on the road, making our way from Kanteerva Stadium to Chinnaswamy stadium (and it’s quite an incline!), did I realize that I was absolutely unprepared for the blazing sun.

To say it was “hot” would be an understatement. My pounding head after the run was proof of the fact that it’s getting really hot here in Bangalore and a 9 am start in May is the worst timing you can start. I wasn’t comfortable at any point of the run. Usually after around 2-3 kms (which are the toughest for me), I get into a comfortable groove and can keep going at a certain pace.

That didn’t happen at all. All I could think of was the heat and how to get out of it. There was some respite along parts of the road where there were trees. And I was just thinking that the way they’re cutting down trees in Bangalore right now : we won’t even have this little shade in a few years to come.

AND IN BETWEEN!

Manoj

I’m going to end with something that brought a smile on all our faces. Manoj from the RFL gang ran with this message on his t-shirt. Apparently, he saw a lot of probable candidates registering and decided this was his chance to strike! His offer, I think, is still open!

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29 Comments

  1. The last pic was awesome 🙂

    and hey, I have a little something for you. Come visit my space 🙂

  2. Even the TV commercial for this Run was interesting… Legendary Bangalore auto drivers refusing to come where you wanted to go and a jogger suggesting “Auto bidi, run maadi run” (forget auto, run…)

  3. usha says

    Your account of littering is so typical of the ‘selective modernity’ of new Bangalore. It seems to be that we are picking up concepts selectively. We organize a running event..clean water in disposable bottles (otherwise it hurts our individual stomachs), designer clothes, et al, and forget to address the needs of the community. If we can pick up concepts like running for health/hobby, etc, from the west, why cannot we also pick up their ways of investing in the local community, for example, the way garbage disposal is addressed in those countries? (I am not being politically nationalistic, this is a genuine concern that comes up for me all the time)

  4. @ Mridula: thanks! will have to give it some thought 🙂

    @ Shrinidhi: that was a cute commercial, especially since auto drivers in bangalore are like that 🙂 and chennai too if i remember correctly!

    @ usha: If we can pick up concepts like running for health/hobby, etc, from the west, why cannot we also pick up their ways of investing in the local community, for example, the way garbage disposal is addressed in those countries? – i really don’t know and i can’t figure out why indians haven’t picked up these aspects as well. what stops them?

    @ Kartik: hehe 🙂 that will remain a well guarded secret.

    @ Shrinidhi: haha, yeah, i was too busy running to take photographs!

    @ Paavani: thanks 🙂

  5. If it makes you feel any better, I did look for a dustbin and throw my bottle in it 🙂

    The heat.. it had to be there. Why do you think Sunfeast sponsored 😉

  6. Its nice to read about stuff happening in Bangalore.

    When it comes to littering, I think all it takes is one person to throw something and others just follow suit. Of course this might be an over generalization and I understand that it may not apply to all.

  7. Hola.

    Caught the 10k b’lore run on a sunday morning on DD National. Hung around to catch glimpses of Bangalore streets that was once home to me and thought – thats 10 kms I could never even walk, let alone run!

    Everyone looked like they were having so much fun on the run, even the senior citizens. Nice.

    The heat was exactly what I was wondering about. VJ Nikhil Chinapa did a nice job with the commentary on TV btw.

  8. Pingback: Sunfeast 10K | DesiPundit

  9. Bharat says

    Regarding the littering I disagree with you. Please don’t blame the runners….

    I train hard and long and all I want is to beat my target time, carrying a bottle is first extra weight and second interferes with my running form…All over the world runners chuck bottles as soon as they are done drinking…
    Its the organizers who have to clean it up after the run. The mentality of the organizers is to blame and not that of the runners…

  10. Hi,

    As Bharat says, when we are trying to beat our own timings, it becomes a bit difficult to find a bin to throw away the bottles… Though the organizers did a decent job of cleaning up the litter as soon as the event was over.

    and yes heat was a spoil sport, it sucked up all the energy 😉

    and congrats for completing the race 🙂

  11. you are always running , and wow I think this is a great one and i am so jealous with you having all the dosas and idlis.
    x

  12. calvin says

    i think everyone here is in denial mode, what bengaluru needs at this point is more of a serious community action drive..let us organize mass awarenes campaigns regarding pollution and traffic, not such gala events resulting in pretty much nothing more than a few celeb snaps and glorified progress.

  13. @ Zubin: proud of you 🙂

    @ Kishore: When it comes to littering, I think all it takes is one person to throw something and others just follow suit. very true!

    And now I want a benne masala dosa with loads of chutney – you poor thing!

    @ Rinchen: hola! yes, it was quite a fun affair overall. the turn out was great. and there were lots of elders too participating!

    @ Bharat: it was a small bottle – the ones that you get on planes! surely, that can’t be such a heavy weight to carry. i would definitely blame the runners – it is first and foremost their responsibility to be more conscious of what they’re doing. i don’t know what they do all over the world. but what i saw was quite pathetic. also, most of the faster runners would have broken away and it’s us slower runners who saw the extent of the plastic throwing that was going on.

    @ Srikanth: i appreciate that – i am sure you want to beat your timing – but i found it quite strange that there was not ONE single bin anywhere!

    thanks!

    @ Az Azura: heh 🙂 actually if i could run all the time, i’d be way faster! the breakfasts after the run are good fun!

    @ calvin: i think there’s room for everything and all kinds of activities that people can participate in. so i don’t really agree with that mode of thinking either.

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  15. sandeep s. says

    Nice write up Anita. But you are dead wrong on the whole bottle controversy.

    It has nothing to do with runners being evil anti-environmental types. It is the shortcoming of the organizers that is to blame.

    In any running event around the world (as someone mentioned) people pick up cups of water from a table, run and drink it and then toss the cup or bottle aside. There are volunteers standing by who then collect these and place then in trash cans or bags.

    Please find out more about this and you will see that running events manage their trash quite well if they are organised well. In fact in most large races (London, Boston, Berlin etc) they don’t serve water in bottles, it takes too much time to open and drink. They pour into cups for runners to sip and throw away.

    Blame the organisers, the runners did what they were supposed to..sign up, participate and run.

    But if you talking about garbage in general and Indias attitude towards cleaning up its cities, thats a whole other story.

  16. @ manoj: hey! i am doing you some publicity 🙂 in fact, i will have to charge you commission if i help you succeed in your mission!

    @ sandeep: i definitely wouldn’t put all the responsibility on the organizers. and since they didn’t seem to provide for the required bins, i would have expected people to be a little more responsible. but those are my expectations and obviously have nothing to do with what people are really like! so i think people are equally to blame! i am not talking about garbage in general – that is a totally different can of worms!

  17. Once I ran 5KM – almost 3-4 yrs ago in Chennai campus… my first long run (and only till date).. and surprisingly came in top 20 out some 100 odd ppl.. that too totally unprepared 😀

  18. Hey, I am presently residing in California where the weather is favorable for running. I do prefer outdoor exercises but when it comes to massive workout (including running), remember the JRD sports complex in Jamshedpur. Nothing as motivating as seeing athletes exercising in front of you.

  19. Good write up but I kinda agree with Sandeep regarding the trash disposal. I was one of the runner and I was more concerned about timing than really finding a trash can to chuck the bottle…why??? It’s not because I’m not concerned about environment, it’s because I was aware there were volunteers who were picking up the cans. Atleast when I ran I didn’t see so many plastic bottles on road and I also saw lots of volunteers in action.

    I’ve ran a couple of marathons in other countries and trust me no serious runner (for that matter nobody) ever bothers themselves of finding a trash can…coz they’re aware of the fact that it’ll be taken care by the event organizers. I don’t see anything Indian or Non-Indian about the point.

    My writeup about the event is here:
    http://sachinb.blogspot.com/2009/05/sunfeast-world-10k-bangalore.html

  20. Kishan Bhat says

    I was a volunteer for SAAHAS at the first water station near Jewels de Paragon.

    A couple of us did try to get in touch with the organizers – ProCam 2 months before the event. They did not respond.

    Finally, SAAHAS managed to get ProCam to use the litter collection service. I volunteered to raise some awareness but the response was just not impressive.
    ProCam also denied us a small announcement before the run asking people not to litter and instead use the bins!

    It was distressing to see full and half full bottles thrown. Lot of water was also spilled on the road. Bear in mind this is packaged drinking water. This when there are water related deaths in Bangalore, almost everyday. The ecological footprint of bottled water is huge, and its just an unethical industry.

    While there were 7-8 people from KingFisher throwing away bottles, there were hardly 2 people picking up the litter.

    Its ok for the professional 10k ones (actually they hardly took lot of water. Excess hydration kills your stamina). People from senior citizen run and Majja run hardly cared and freely littered.

    Things that I learnt:
    1. Ethics – matter of convenience (ex: give away 5-6 biscuit packets (trans fats) and Bingo)
    2. Cause – Can be used to lure public (ex: profit in the name of charity)
    4. Free – enough reason to misuse (ex: water bottles)
    5. Responsibility – something that be shrugged off (ex: litter will get picked up).
    I can go on.

    I’d never take part in this type of event. Would rather commute by bicycle and walk to nearby places, which will do more good.

    Finally, does anyone know the Total Dissolved Salts in packaged drinking water? (last I measured it was 16 ppm whereas recommended is 50 ppm, even more when you are running)

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