Despite its name, the Goa River Marathon is a half marathon and not a fulll marathon.
Hello, on December 9th 2012, you’ll be organizing the Goa River Marathon. Can you tell us where it is located?
Race is located at a port town called Vasco da Gama (named after the legendary Portuguese explorer, who landed here) in the state of Goa India. Goa is famous for its laid back style of living and large number of beautiful beaches.
How old is the race and why was it created in the first place?
The race is 3 years old. Vasco Sports Club, a people’s club, named after the city, was a club completely involved in football, since the Portuguese for a very long time. Few members got into running in 2008. While training for our first half marathon, we ran in many places in India and then we realized that Goa is blessed with many good routes with lots of scenery, clean air and peaceful settings. There was no race in Goa till then and in 2010 our first edition, we felt that it was time to set up a race with world-class facilities.
What kind of route have you set up for the runners? How would you describe it?
The route, which is a loop, starts and ends at the scenic Baina beach (once notoriously famous for being a red-light area till it was completely cleaned up by a dynamic Chief Minister). After going over a railway overbridge (rolling hill), it moves into the city, onto a tree lined avenue.
About 4km later, there is a steep hill (about 600 meters) leading out of the city, to Chicalim for 100 meters, and then rolling down out of the city. From here on after 1 km it is all green hills on one side and the scenic Zuari River on the other side. After about 10km the route loops back into the city and back to the Baina beach, where the finish line is located.
How many runners do you expect on Sunday morning? What type of runners do you plan to attract?
We expect for the half marathon about 1,300 runners and for the 10 km race about 800 runners. 20% of the expected runners are athletes competing for the attractive prize money in open and veterans categories (both with men and women subdivisions). Prize money is the same for men and women categories.
We have 28 states in India Jammu and Kashmir in the north to Tamil Nadu in the south. The popularity due to the facilities is such that we have participants from nearly all states in India. 70% of the other runners are those who come down to have an enjoyable run, trying to improve their own personal bests. 10% are first time half marathon runners trying to create personal history.
Keeping this in mind every finisher is given a medal and timing certificate mentioning his/her completion time. Timing chips are given to every participant so that perfect timings can be obtained. There are international participants from Asia, Europe, Africa and Americas.
Do you organize other races during the Weekend? If so, on what distances?
There are many beautiful routes in Goa. Once every 3 months we do about 16 km. Weekends are generally for 10 to 12 km. Sometimes runs are organized on the beach where people run distance that they feel like.
At that time of the year, what kind of weather can we expect?
At that time of the year the weather is generally pleasant with no rains. Temperatures in the morning range from 22 to 26 °C (71 to 79°F). It can be humid, so lots of water and electrolyte drinks are provided at the many aid stations along the route (one every 2km) and at the end point.
Have you planned festivities around the marathon?
Generally Goa is known as the party capital of India. So even though the half marathon is organized professionally, we try to create a party atmosphere right from the start point and all along the route. There are stations where live music, DJ’s brass bands, school bands play music to push participants to complete the race or do their personal bests.
The race finished, what advice would you give a runner who has never been to Vasco da Gama before? A good restaurant, a fancy sightseeing?
Go to the Vasco city, have a beer, or go to Bogmol beach have a beer in one of sea side shacks that serve fresh seafood, have a swim, have a beer, have a swim, have a beer……..and enjoy your victory !!
After that there are many resorts in Goa. South Goa is renowned for its beautiful coastline of pristine white beautiful beaches, while North Goa coastline is known for it pubs, nightclubs, jazz bars and world cuisine restaurants.
In a single sentence, what would you tell the readers of ahotu Marathons to make them register for the Goa River Marathon?
If you want to do a well-organized fun race in India, this is the place. The race organizers are runners themselves for whom running is a passion, drug or recreation. So keeping runners in mind, organizers have made every effort to make sure that runners have a good time.
Interview with Rakesh Unny. Rakesh is a 47 years old marine engineer, who sailed the world over for about 12 years. In 2000, he started his own company dealing with shipping activities in Goa. After a squash related injury, he got into long distance running in 2008. Since then, he ran 5 half marathons and one 25 km trail run. He is hoping to take part in a half marathon outside India soon.