Bangalore Ultra Marathon: It's tough. Are you?

29 Jul 2013 06:00
Jean-Loup Fenaux
Focus on a race Interview

Hello, on November 9th 2013, you’ll be organizing the Bangalore Ultra Marathon. Can you tell us where it is located?

The Bangalore Ultra takes place over two days on Nov 9th and Nov 10th on the outskirts of Bangalore city, India. Here the trails are aplenty and vehicular traffic is sparse.

How old is the race and why was it created in the first place?

Bangalore Ultra is 7 years old this year. It was pioneered by Runners For Life (RFL). We had been organizing fortnightly runs for runners in Bangalore and the idea of an Ultra was just getting crystalized in the minds of runners. A lot of friends of RFL insisted that they would pay and attend a run, if it was organized by us in our inimitable style. So, off we went and made it happen. It was a huge success, and became one of the first runs in the Indian long distance running calendar and the first Ultra-Marathon the country had ever seen!

Credit : Bangalore Ultra

What kind of route have you set up for the runners? How would you describe it?

Our tagline “It’s tough. Are you?” sums it up, doesn’t it?! The trail is undulating, typically over a 13km distance that people run out and back on. It’s scenic and challenging at the same time. While the route is tough and narrow, the breathtaking views more than make up for it. All, within an hour’s drive from town, which, in India, is hard to pull off.

How many runners do you expect on Saturday morning? What type of runners do you plan to attract?

We expect around 700-800 runners on 9th November 2013, Saturday morning. Saturday is reserved for only Ultra distances (50,75,100 & the 24 Hour Challenge). So all those who turn up for the run on Saturday morning are serious runners with a stellar running CV ☺

Do you organize other races during the Weekend? If so, on what distances?

10th November 2013, Sunday morning sees the 25k and 12k distance races. These encourage the 10k newbies and the half marathon runners to run longer than they have run before and test themselves.

We also organize runs throughout the year in Bangalore. Till a few months, we used conduct fortnightly runs at various locations across the city of Bangalore. We also have a race called the Kaveri Trail Marathon, another complete trail marathon where the entire route is along the banks of very famous river called Cauvery.

Credit : Bangalore Ultra

At that time of the year, what kind of weather can we expect?

We’ve had a few years with light, gentle rainfall, no sun and decent amount of winds, which the runners prefer, to having the sun baking them. Temperatures at that time of year are around 20 degrees in the daytime, about 15-18 degrees at night. November also sees the occasional rainfall in the evening / night.

Have you planned festivities around the marathon?

We have round-the-clock support. Since the runners are on a course that loops around a start / finish area, supporters set up camp there and supply steady stream of motivation. We have a “food Ultra” happening in parallel, with great-catered food (by runners) being available round the clock for runners. Besides this, for most part of the day, we have stalls with Runners For Life merchandise, brands that retail at our e-Store, other sporting brands that set up stalls, a foot massage place, etc. This year, we are in talks with more people to bring their cardio and related businesses to our ‘Cardio Bazar’.

The race finished, what advice would you give a runner who has never been to Bangalore before? A good restaurant, a fancy sightseeing?

Restaurants: If you’re from the western part of the world and want to rely on the safe, head to Olive Beach, Toscano) for mid-range fare. If you want a flavor of the local food (which is South Indian, not chicken tikka masala etc.), head to Dakshin (ITC Windsor, Sankey Road), at the fancy end of things, or to Bon South" for mid-range fare, or Airlines, Lavelle Road, for a true local dive in an outdoor setting. Bangalore has a lot of pubs – a colonial hangover, if you please. For a truly local flavor, try Windsor pub, Vasanthnagar (great grub too), there are tons of others – ranging from microbreweries to sports pubs… just google your preference ☺. Innumerable food options too, depending on your palate – Japanese to North Indian to anything else you can think of – quite a good likelihood that you will find it.

Fancy sightseeing: Take in the Bangalore walks history/culture/heritage tour – on foot. If you have run an Ultra, what’s walking 2 kms at a sedate pace? Plus, the business is run by a runner. Other unusual sightseeing options are making an early morning trip to Cubbon Park/ Lalbagh, the two quintessential lungs of the city, a favourite with the runners. Superb place for a recovery run!

In a single sentence, what would you tell the readers of ahotu Marathons to make them register for the Bangalore Ultra Marathon?

IT’S TOUGH, ARE YOU?

Credit : Bangalore Ultra

Interview with Nishant Nereyeth – Runners For Life