When I go to the starting line in Bengaluru TCS World 10k 2019 on Sunday, the 12th edition of the race, I will be more excited than usual. In addition to butterflies, of course. From 16,046 runners in the open 10k category, I will be one of the 3000 runners – I will run for the first time on unknown roads away from home in Mumbai. More importantly, this will mark the beginning of an eight-month period that I hope will culminate in my first marathon on the Tata Mumbai marathon in 2020.
This race will be my first major milestone in hitting the reset button after my last half-marathon in January. In general terms, 10km is a significant achievement, a step towards bigger things, in the progression of the distance for which the distance runner believes that it can be conquered. According to my colleague Sharde Ugra: "10K is respectable, feasible, but it is still a serious distance. Something to strive for. That is, beautifully, the distance in range."
Starting in 2008, TCS 10k is the third of four races in India organized by the sports company Procam International. Procamov's breakthrough into the world of running distance began with the Mumbai Marathon in 2004, when the founders of Anil Singh and Vivek Singh "got inspiration" to bring a big city marathon to India after attending the London Marathon in 2003.
Anil says that Procam has been very clear from his inception in his approach. Current events that they wanted to promote, in terms of city selection and distancing the signatures of the event, had to have a clear identity and that they would not be comparable, and therefore in competition, with each other. With the success of the first edition of Mumbai Marathon, Procam went to Delhi, where then Chief Minister Sheila Dixit wanted the city to have its own unique event. "That's how Airtel Delhi Halfmarathon, the world's first half-marathon, was born in 2005," says Anil.
"When we finished, we decided to go ahead and get 10k, so TCS World 10k number 1 10k on planet Earth. Then we decided to do the fourth event, which is Tata Steel Kolkata 25k in 2014).
Anil explains that his 10k statement on the world is based on cash prizes, field size, and organizational standards. He gives a similar rating for the marathon in Mumbai. "Today, the Mumbai Marathon is in the sixth place in the world, roughly," before clarifying that there is no real ranking system among the world's marathons. Anil's assessment of Mumbai is based on a number of different factors. "That's all. These are the media, hospitality, prize pool, field type, terrain size, promotion, television, etc."
Although there is no official ranking system, roadmakers compete for prestigious categorization for their events. IAAF Road Race Label Events are races that the International Federation of Athletic Federations (IAAF) declares "leading road races around the world" and have three labels – gold, silver and bronze. Gold Label events have the most stringent requirements, including the presence of an international elite area and a route measured by the AIMS standard, among several other criteria. Proclamation events in Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi are three of only 42 Gold Label races in 2019, with marks to be evaluated each year, while Kolkata 25k is a race for a bronze sticker.
The presence of the elite – 95 of whom will drive to Bengal on Sunday – is the key to the status of Gold Label, but thousands of enthusiastic amateurs create buzz around the event, making it attractive enough to think about waking up in the wicked hours on Sunday morning to travel to the starting point and run .
According to Procam's participation numbers, from the first edition of 2008 to this year, the number of amateur racers in all categories increased from 19560 to 24235 – an increase of around 25%. Although this may not seem like a particularly sharp jump, since more than 12 years have passed, what is interesting is the breakdown within individual categories. In 2008 there were 6204 runners in the open 10k category, while this year there were 16046 registered runners for open 10k – more than 2.5 times since the first edition. An additional 800+ participants registered for an open 10k this year, compared to 2018. From 2008 to 2019, the size of 5km majja (fun) running has fallen from 11669 to 6596. I assume that those participants were pleased with their progress in 5k to take the challenge of 10k.
A short time spent at the event fair – usually a large event hall where rackets can be reached only after passing through the maze of sponsors – makes the field's diversity and motivation quite clear. As Ankit Gujjar, a 21-year-old student in the city who will lead the World 10k for the second time. Ankit started to run for fitness purposes, so far he has made a dozen 10km drive, and after a 62 minute personal record, this time he looks under 55 minutes.
At the other end of the spectrum is Mala, a 45-year-old mother of two children who has been running for more than 10 years and this time will run her 10th consecutive World 10k. The combination of boredom and jealousy inspired Mala to move as she watched her husband, a marathon, trained at Stanford when she was in the United States. Good day with friends from her club. The small has osteoarthritis and, despite being almost permanently injured, says it will definitely run for 'sentimental reasons'. and is just looking forward to a pleasant ride.
Listening to the story of Mali, as well as those of other runners, as with the 37-year-old bankers who were running to lose weight, he now led two full marathons and watched the 40 minute finish time, I can not help but I'll be inspired. For a long time I struggled with regularity and it is difficult to reconcile my desire to run fast, relatively speaking, with the need to slow things down and learn to enjoy running more. After a long internal return and coming how to approach the weekly race, I think I finally have a strategy – to enjoy running and not watch the watch.