Getting straight to the point, this race is probably your best bet to score a Personal Record if you are yet to break it this year. Weather is cool this week and the route chosen is fairly easier for all distances. As a runner and a coach, I am thrilled & excited to run/watch runners blaze through the course to set new heights in their running career.
This time of the year, the winds are still the same as North East monsoon winds which means that the winds will blow from North-East heading to South-West. If this is Greek & Latin, in accordance to the course, the winds you experience will be in Chennai-Kanyakumari direction. So, the wind is going to be at your back for the majority of the distance in all categories.
Start slow, as you should in any race, not giving into any temptation. There is a false flat climb in the Anna University road with a fly over which is the only proper climb of the course. Organizing such a long race with absolutely no climb is impossible but the organizers have almost pulled it off here. Don’t whine about this one fly over and the bridge at OMR-ECR link road. Just muster your courage, put your practice into use and run these ups (if you call it ups) with might. With the below information about wind, calculate your pace in different stretches of the course.
For you guys, there will be some head wind after you turn around Ascendas IT park and while running the last 2 km in OMR. Since the running crowd is huge, you might not even feel the head wind.
Runners participating in the HM category are the LUCKIEST in terms of wind, elevation gain, weather and route. The entire OMR stretch is going to be a fast track for you, while you are pushed by tail winds of 14 – 18 km/hour. Not only that, the course is one way and there is a negative elevation, i.e., you start your race at a higher altitude when compared to your finish. There are not many turns to reduce your running speed which is quite unusual for a long race like 21 km. By the time you finish your race, the climate will still be runner friendly. Even the last runner will enjoy a cold weather to the finish. So, I repeat this once again, this is definitely going to be your Personal Record, provided you put some effort.
There is not much of a difference between the HM and 20 miler in terms of elevation loss and weather. Nevertheless, the last 5 km of this course is going to be some head wind. However, this last 5 km head wind stretch will be mild since it is much inside the town. Instead of looking at this as a difficulty, you can feel happier than the FM runners. Since the 20 miler is a fairly new category, any timing might be your Personal Record.
The first half is the same as Half Marathon which you are going to enjoy without a doubt. The next 10 km is going to be tail wind which is also enjoyable but brace yourself for the last 10 km. Generally, human body hits a wall some where between 25 & 35 km after which walking is tough, let alone running. If you managed your breakfast & race nutrition well this far and, in a position, to run the last 10 km, the wind will play games with you and the brain will definitely play along. The wind will be at it’s best against you. The slower you run/walk against the wind, the lesser the relative velocity with wind will be, and vice versa. However, the word is out that the aid stations are going to be special treat for you & 20 miler guys when you are struggling in the last few km.
The Chennai City Traffic Police have been generally very supportive with us runners in the past years and this year I hear that they are going a notch above, doing their best and being pillars of support. Special thanks to the Chennai Metro for arranging 10 special trips to Nandanam.
Don’t forget to enjoy the run. Thank all the volunteers along the way; without them you don’t get such an experience. Thank your race organizers for putting up such a huge show right in the middle of the city. Smile throughout the course and wish all your fellow participants on the course. More importantly, inform your non-running friends, colleagues, neighbours about the race & the traffic block until late morning. We need all the support from the local public.
In case you see me at the course, wave at me. All the best.