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Vol. 101

RUNNERS FOR LIFE The Race Report Special

Vol. 101

Three varied and wildly exciting race reports!

Dream Runners Chennai Half Marathon Race report by Patrick Pitchappa of Pacemakers.

San Francisco Marathon

Viju Parameshwar relives his San Francisco marathon experience

Puma Urban Stampede, Bangalore 2013 RFL runs you through the Puma Urban Stampede, Bangalore edition, 22013

Hello runners! The RFL newsletter is back, after a self-imposed break, due to the traffic jam our event season induced mails were causing to all of you. J Never let it be said that we don’t worry about you feeling spammed out! We are taking advantage of the lull and are back with the race report special. Here are the three race reports – -­‐

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Dream Runners Half Marathon 2013 by Patrick Pitchappa of team Pacemakers. This spirited account really brings forth the sense of camaraderie and fun that the Pacemakers guys have while training. San Francisco Marathon by Viju Parameshwar. Viju’s report of the run will make you feel like you were there yourself.. the fog rolling in, off the Bay, running

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past Embarcadero… highly evocative! Puma Urban Stampede by our inhouse seeing eye. You know, the usual RFL stuff!

If this doesn’t get you started on a pumped up training routine, we will eat our dri-fit caps!


Vol. 101

Dream Runners Half Marathon, Chennai Race report by Patrick Pitchappa It all started with a phone call from the Dream Runners group in Chennai to Coach Kothandapani (Pani). Coach Pani is the Coach of the Pacemakers running group in Bangalore. The phone call was to request Coach Pani and the Pacemakers group to participate in the Dream Runners Half Marathon (DRHM) scheduled to be held in Chennai on July 7, 2013. It was just January 2013 and there was still 6 full months to go. Coach Pani was undecided at that point in time. But the Dream Runners were persistent. Whenever a member of the Dream Runners group visited Bangalore, they even stopped by the Pacemakers training to invite them for the DRHM. The Pacemakers: The Pacemakers running group was formed in early 2012 by a group of runners in Bangalore.

This group of runners was better known for their maverick 12M12M challenge in the year 2011. 12M12M stood for 12 Marathons in 12 Months. The group actually did 13 Marathons in 13 Months starting from Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon (SCMM) 2011 and ending with SCMM 2012. Coach Pani and Thomas Bobby Philip (Bobby) along with experienced runners like Neera Katwal formed the Pacemakers group including the runners that did the 12M12M. The Pacemakers aimed at participating in famous marathons / running events of India such as SCMM in Mumbai, TCS 10K in Bangalore, Celebration Half Marathon in Mysore and the Airtel Hyderabad Marathon.

Image courtesy: Patrick Pitchappa The DRHM was not in the Pacemakers schedule for 2013. But the Dream Runners’ persistence paid off and Coach Pani agreed to field a Pacemakers team at the DRHM 2013. Coach Pani himself took care of the travel reservations and the race registrations. The hotel arrangements were also made.

The Pacemakers started training for the DRHM 2013 after their incredible success in the TCS 10K 2013. The Pacemakers training schedule is usually as follows: - Tuesdays – Interval trainings at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bangalore - Thursdays – Tempo runs at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bangalore - Weekends – Long runs - Once a month – Hill training at Nandi Hills

Image courtesy: Patrick Pitchappa

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Vol. 101

Image courtesy: Flashbulbzz Photography Getting to the run: July 6, 2013 - 32 runners from the Pacemakers arrived at the Bangalore City raiway station to board the Shatabdi Express to Chennai that departed at 6 AM. In the process, the Pacemakers actually got an extra hour of sleep because Coach Pani’s training usually starts at 5 AM. It was like a college excursion. Every Pacemaker was highly enthusiastic and raring to go to Chennai. Some of the Pacemakers were participating in their maiden Half Marathons.

Although we reached 45 minutes later than the scheduled time, the train ride was filled with laughter and general leg pulling.. The train reached Chennai about 45 minutes late, thanks to our efficient Indian Railways. There were 32 runners in total that made the trip to Chennai. It was a challenge to reach the hotel as one group. So, Coach Pani decided that the entire team should take the local train to the hotel. The local train ride turned out to be a very interesting and successful too.

The Dream Runners work like a dream: The Dream Runners showered the Pacemakers with the best of hospitality. As soon as the Pacemakers reached their hotel rooms, the Dream Runners made arrangements to hand deliver the goody bags, bibs and DRHM 2013 tshirts at the hotel rooms.

This led to the Pacemakers getting really good rest to their feet the afternoon and evening before the race.

The hard part of the DRHM 2013 was waking up at 3ish AM on Sunday, July 7, 2013. But, the euphoria pushed the Pacemakers through. Their pre-arranged cabs arrived at their hotel and off they went to the race starting point. Then, Coach Pani started leading the Pacemakers in his unique warm up regime. The overnight rains had raised the humidity level a bit in Chennai and the Pacemakers were well warmed up for the DRHM to start at 5 AM. The run: There is always a positive difference in running races arranged by a group of runners. The Pacemakers did not fail to notice that all along the 21.1 Km loop of the DRHM route. Firstly, it was fabulous teamwork by the Dream Runners. They proved that they are a close-knit group and it was on full display on the race day. The Dream Runners and their family members that manned the water stations did a fabulous job. There was no shortage of anything that a marathon runner needed at the water stations.

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Vol. 101 Water, glucose, Band-Aids, bananas, salt, lime and biscuits were aplenty. The Pacemakers were very grateful to the Dream Runners for providing all this support so seamlessly! The medical help that one runner from the Pacemakers group received at the finish line was excellent. The Pacemakers thank the Dream Runners for quickly calling for medical help as soon as this runner collapsed. He doesn't remember anything from the time he collapsed until he came back to his senses. The medical team did an excellent job in restoring this runner back on his feet. It was dehydration that caused this runner to collapse. He had under estimated the Chennai humidity. It was this runner’s maiden HM as well. The biggest highlight was, Nanjudappa from the Pacemakers team won the flagship event at the DRHM 2013. That's just a feather on the Pacemakers’ cap, which they will display proudly, forever! Nanjudappa clocked whopping 01:14 hours to win the gold medal among 800 plus runners that ran the DRHM. The Pacemakers take this opportunity to thank the Dream Runners group for a superbly organized Half Marathon event.

Those who have worked on event organizations know that it takes hours and hours of hard work to successfully organize a marathon. Stupendous work from the time the race was announced until the race completed on July 7, 2013! The coordination between the volunteers, the patrol team, the podium team, the water stations, the Chennai Police, the Chennai public and the sponsors was done amazingly well by the Dream Runners team. One pitfall to be mentioned was the "Finish Line". Many thought that the football goal post just before the finish line was the actual finish line and slowed down there. But, the real finish line was about 50 m ahead. But ,that was just an exception! The Pacemakers returned to Bangalore with nothing but praises for everybody in the Dream Runners team. Needless to say, The Pacemakers and Coach Pani will make the DRHM an annual running event on their yearly race schedules and will be training harder to keep excelling in all future DR Half Marathons. Race Report by Patrick Pitchappa

San Francisco Marathon Race report byViju Parameshwar “The Marathon that Marathoners fear” – Wall Street Journal When I signed up for the San Francisco marathon -my third one in 9 months (I ran Bombay in January a fortnight after my daughter, Ashwati’s wedding) I was thinking only about the beautiful surroundings and family and friends in the area. When I started training in March, I saw the elevation profile on the web site and realised I may have bitten off more than I could chew –steep hills all the way. Anita and I arrived 3 days in advance to try and handle the 12.5 hours’ time difference. She had entered the 5k run. With an early start to the race we had to move to a hotel downtown the day before the race. After getting into town, we asked a cabbie to drive us along a part of the course to actually see the slopes.

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Vol. 101 After more than an hour of driving, our Latino driver could not get to the actual course but we saw sufficient slopes to give me serious worries –the Prius was struggling uphill; how would I manage running? Meanwhile the driver kept up a running commentary—“Why yu wanna to do this?”, “It’s bad for your health to run”, “Where yu come from?” “India” “I know that –I mean here, San Jose? Yu computer guy, no?” “No I came from India to run the marathon” “Yu pulling my leg, I don’t believe yu, all the way for a run?.. Naa!” At the Expo where we picked up our bibs, a prominent banner proudly displayed the WSJ quote above –as if I wasn’t adequately psyched already! Ads said a video of the course would be shown but after waiting an hour for it to start and with no one able to say anything about it we gave up. The general organisation of the Expo was good other than the video issue. It took no more than 5 minutes to find one’s counter, get the kit and running shirt as well as register the chip. Every counter was manned by Chinese origin kids –mainly girls--from high school (building their CVs for University admission?) To answer a friend’s question, I checked the website for the winner’s time in previous years and the course record – all around 2:25 which is 20 minutes slower than other marathons. This further convinced me that I should forget about achieving any specific time and just walk up all the major hills. I told Anita to come to the finish around 5:15 to 5:30 after my start. I had dinner at 8 pm and went to sleep by 9 after keeping all the kit ready for the next morning in the hope of getting 6-7 hours of sleep in preparation for the run. Run start was at 0530 am and they had warned runners to expect a delay of 30-45 minutes for extra security post the Boston Marathon bombings.

Image courtesy: Viju Parameshwar

I planned to leave the hotel before 0430 to walk the 20-25 minutes to the start area. I slept well till 1045 pm and then jet lag and a churning mind kept me awake all night. I tried Yoganidra and everything else I could think of to sleep, but my mind kept returning to the picture of those steep uphills! Walking to the Embarcadero through downtown San Francisco at 0430 at a chilly 10 degree C, seeing dozens of other runners converging from every side street was uplifting. The start area was anarchy – security points, gates and barricades everywhere, huge lines in front of the porta loos! We were herded into enclosures depending on our expected finish times. Once in, no exit allowed. Soon it was clear that they were starting the race in batches with a 10-15 min lag between batches.

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Image courtesy: Viju Vol. 101 I was in batch number 7 so it would be 90 minutes or so after my entrance into the sheep pen before we could start and the need to pee became critical! Meanwhile everyone in the pen was warming up fairly violently! A Chinese guy doing karate kicks was threatening to decapitate me while various other ladies were doing jumping jacks, stretches and what have you in the very limited space available. I kept as still as possible to conserve energy, hands in pockets and hunched shoulders against the cold. The announcer kept up a cheerful patter “Goooood Mornnning San Francisco” “A brilliant day for running – as my friend Frank Shorter used to say – a no excuses day!” followed by a loud band and some cheerleader girls kicking and trying to look cheerful at 5 am in the dark! Having established that he was a friend of Frank Shorter (the God of US running, gold medal 1972 Olympics in the marathon credited for setting off the running boom in the US), the announcer kicked off batch after batch and finally we were off at about 0640.

Flat start along the pier and the bay, waiting for the first loo! Everyone was running way over the planned speed for the batch. In spite of reining in, first 3 km way too fast! After the first climb, across from Alcatraz, loos at last! Long line, 5 minutes lost, filthy but job done and off again at speed to make up for the lost time. Bright sun beating down, the beautiful park “The Presidio”, then the first serious climb up a path far steeper than cars can manage for over 1 km climbing to the Golden Gate Bridge. Many walking up, I’m still managing to run. Across the bridge, cars whizzing by, runners have only one lane with people running in both directions. Have to watch carefully and dodge other runners all the way across the bridge and the beautiful views from the bridge I was so looking forward to were missed! To the viewpoint on the other side and back across the bridge again. Steep uphill along the Pacific and suddenly the famed fog starts rolling in and it gets chilly again. The first few spectators now visible well bundled up. Long steep descent, full pelt downhill. Uphills through some depressed residential areas and we are directed in groups along a series of parallel roads to enable traffic to operate. 18 km done and time much faster than my best previous marathons –what’s happening here? CanConsectetuer: I maintain this?

Then a long set of circuits within the Golden Gate Park with constant ups and downs. First half marathoners end their run; second half runners start theirs and join us. Beginning to get tired, pain in the bum from the ups and downs. Fog now seriously cold. Still going at record time with 28 km done. The next few km through crowded areas of Haight Ashbury. Image courtesy: Viju Parameshwar 6


Vol. 101 Constant turns –every turn shows you a new hill. After a dozen of them, spirit getting broken. Beginnings of a groin strain. Forced to walk for the first time after about 30 km. No longer fun, put one foot in front of the other, shuffle along. Many bikers with grey pony tails and muscled arms with tattoos in charge of directing traffic encouraging us along. Scattered groups of women with handwritten signs to cheer the runners. One says “You’ve got great stamina! Call me. My # xxxxx” Another “Keep going! Keep going! She said” Back to the bay in an area of warehouses, 3 km to go all flat now, bright sun. Spring in my step again, around the baseball stadium with plaques on Barry Bonds 500th homer sunk in the pavement, past the dude who asks “Whatchall running for?” Bay Bridge in sight, under it, along Embarcadero, Finish in sight my name called from the side and I see Arun, Nisha and Varun waving and then Anita and JP. Clock stopped at 4:46:56. WOW! Just 2 minutes slower than Berlin and 3 minutes better than Bombay! The marathon to fear was done!

Image courtesy: Viju Parameshwar

Heartfelt thanks to JP and Lata, Shobha and Raj, Arun and Nisha for looking after us so well during our trip and Anita for all the support. Race Report by Viju Parmeshwar

Consectetuer: Sed venenatis, augue non

Puma Urban Stampede, Bangalore 2013 The Puma Urban Stampede, RFL’s corporate relay race returned for its 9th edition. Into its second year in great partnership with Puma, the Puma Urban Stampede has gone national, hitting three cities the last year and planning for four cities this year.

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Vol. 101 What makes the Urban Stampede awesome fun is that it introduces new runners into our ever-growing community. People tentatively come and run the 5k, realize how easily they have managed to do it and return for the 10k at KTM and Auroville, the 12.5k at Bangalore Ultra. And before you know it, they are lean mean running machines the year after! Well and truly bitten by the long distance bug. This year, continuing our streak of ever increasing registrations, we had 500 teams register. 480 of them were present on D-Day, at Clark’s Exotica, on 4th August, 2013. And boy was that a great sight! Close to 2000 runners, all raring to go! What a thrill!

Image courtesy: Flashbulbzz Photography

Consectetuer:

Here is how the event panned out. Sharp at 7am, the race was flagged off. Teams took off, in turns, to navigate the 2.5km long out-and-back course, at their fastest possible speed. Here are teams with top honours. As always, the tight and together team at Toyota Kirloskar overran the podium. These guys train together ALL YEAR!

Sed venenatis, augue non

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Vol. 101 Men’s Team

Position Category Timing

TOYOTA KIRLOSKAR MOTOR Pvt Ltd (393)

1

Men’s

TOYOTA KIRLOSKAR MOTOR Pvt Ltd (394)

2

Men’s

TOYOTA KIRLOSKAR AUTO PARTS (254)

3

Men’s

01:14:27 01:17:56 01:24:15

The power packed women’s team from Goldman Sachs fiercely guarded their position of supremacy becoming two time Urban Stampede champions. Women's Team

Position Category Timing

GOLDMAN SACHS (194)

1

Women's

01:53:38

IBM INDIA PVT. LTD (319)

2

Women's

01:54:33

JDA (611)

3

Women's

01:56:01

In the mixed category, the winners from the previous two categories returned for a double slam dunk. The Goldman Sachs mixed team took home the gold!   Mixed Team

Position Category Timing

GOLDMAN SACHS (196)

1

Mixed

TOYOTA KIRLOSKAR MOTOR Pvt Ltd (598)

2

Mixed

TESCO HSC PVT. LTD.

3

Mixed

01:27:01 01:27:57 01:28:54

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Vol. 101

Image courtesy: Flashbulbzz Photography

Image courtesy: Flashbulbzz Photography

Wondering what kind of time records did the fastest people set? Here you go Fastest Man: Ashwith – Toyota Kirloskar Motors Pvt. Ltd. – 00:17:05 Fastest Woman: Laura May – Goldman Sachs – 00:22:04 In all the appreciation of the top contenders, let us not forget the great show of grit, will and determination put up by all of you runners out there, who ran your hearts out! Now is the time for us to do a bit of flaunting as well. RFL’s mixed team came in 8th overall, with Nishant doing a time of 19:07! And 50% of our parent organization ran! Every year, at RFL, we ask ourselves, “what can we do for our customers, that we have not done before?” This year, our big wins were -­‐ -­‐

The instant timing information. You could get your timing details real time! Here’s hoping the future looks bright for instant timing data. The Cardio carnival – we had many sports and health businesses pitch tent to talk to you about their offering – to round up your cardio experience. We had a1000yoga, Cyclists For Life, Feet Off Ground in the sports segment. And of course, the popular Akshayakalpa guys, who won hearts with their organic buttermilk.

Now is also a good time to call out the ‘not-so-good’ aspects. We had what our hungry-but-stillhumourous customers called ‘Food Stampede’. Sorry folks, we could not make sure that all runners got food immediately after the run and some of you had an unfair wait, before food arrived. It was an unforeseen problem that caught us also on the blind side. The good news, though, is we work hard to not make the same mistake twice. That means, the food situation will be watched hawk-like, by half a dozen of our people, come next Urban Stampede! 10


Vol. 101

Image courtesy: Flashbulbzz Photography

Three cheers to all you people who came and made the Puma Urban Stampede so special and so wonderfully etched in our minds. Here's looking forward to seeing you at many many runs to come! New runners, welcome to being runners for life. Old runners for life, run on!! Team Runners For Life

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