Airtel Delhi Half Marathon 2008- Event, Experience and Learnings

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We took part in the Great Delhi Run in the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon 2008 on Sunday, Nov 9, 2008 in New Delhi. Was that an experience!

We’ve participated in multiple runs and athletic events across the world. If we were to sum up our experience at this event, it was less of an athletic event, and more of a branding event for Airtel. To let it lose, it was a sham of an athletic event. Lets see why:

Advertising, everywhere: Since they advertised so aggressively for it, they were probably trying to recover some money- in the process, the event was overloaded with corporate advertisement. There were people carrying huge Airtel hoardings, blocking the whole route, so if you were behind them, there was no way to cross them. DHL was advertising some ‘jumbo box‘ of there’s, so they had a bunch of people taking up the route again.

Like this, there were multiple companies trying to advertise- huge hoardings, noisy slogans, very intrusive and in your face advertising. So, if you were at the event for anything besides a leisurely walk, it was a disaster. We were planning to run in the Great Delhi Run, and it was a frustrating experience.

Event Organization: The organization was bad. First, we could not locate the starting area. Then, there weren’t enough organizers to answer questions, or enough directions pointing you to the Start. Once you cross the start line, there were thousands of people taking part so it took a while to start running. We got to the event at 9.20 a.m for a 9.30 start time. We could only cross the start line at 9.58 a.m! The passage ways were so narrow for the number of people participating, that there was no chance of moving fast.

Volunteers: The volunteers for the event were trying to cheer on, but some of them were so enthusiastic in their cheering, that they were on the running route, which was anyway crowded with participants and advertisers!

Distance Markers: The distance markers were not visible with the crowd. In fact, even after running it, we’re not sure of the distance we ran. We estimate it at 6-6.5 km.

More Issues: Then there were water stops, handing out water bottles. Some of them were so enthusiastic, that they were in the middle of the track. The streets were strewn with plastic bottles. To clean them up, poor kids were running across the track while the event was on. Then, there were cops in the middle of the route trying to keep it secure, but also coming in the way of runners. So, it was less of a run, and more of an obstacle course.

Post Run Issues: Post the run, the food lines were incredibly long, so many people left without getting any food after the run. We couldn’t find any buses to take you back to the parking lots, so we had to cab it.

The only upside was that there were people on the side who had come to watch and cheer people on!

Learnings from the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon event:

If you plan to participate in the Delhi Half Marathon event in 2009, please learn from our experience and take this tips:

- Get there at least 1.5 hours before time, to ensure you have time to park, commute to the event, find the start line, and get there early enough, so you’re not stuck behind the advertisers, and slogan shouters. Since you will get there early, carry some food and drink with you, to ensure you have enough energy and are properly hydrated.

- Take part in the half marathon instead of the Dream Run (or the Great Delhi Run), if you want to really participate and be able to run.

And last but not the least, don’t have any expectations from the event.

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  • kiran

    fantastic summary. I would agree 100%. You would find a link of your blog on my next post. what was your timing?

  • Fitho

    Thanks, looking forward to it!

  • kiran

    check the post

  • tomeck

    Does anyone know if the 2009 New Delhi marathon is planned? on the run is scheduled for February 2009 but since the website is unavailable and there is no registration provided, I assume the event is cancelled.
    I am doing a trip to India in February’2009 and it would be a great to run the marathon on a different continent, but Delhi is the only possibility for me. Any news on the 2009 event?

  • Fitho

    tomeck, we’re not aware of any marathon in New Delhi in Feb 2009. Stay plugged in- if we hear about it, we’ll post it here.

  • Pingback: Airtel Delhi Half Marathon - 9th Nov - Been there, done that. « Footprints of life

  • neha

    i am 22 a lean girl but iam still dedicated to whartever i do, i want to prepare for half delhi marathon 2009, please help i need to win this race at any cost, i need that prize as well iam expecting a lot , do reply and sugest

  • Rizlaten

    Welcome to India. If you want to run on a competitive basis you should never ever run a so called awareness and fun event. Stay on the beaten track of european runs. This is first of all a sponsored and fun run/event, nothing more and nothing less but to try to get people moving and ofcourse this is an event which is not organised by Sports Management but by a business entity so you can expect advertising and a lot of people who think they are at the right place to help you.
    Never ever forget where you are and what kind of event you are going to participate in.

  • J.B.Singh

    I want my participation Certificate as well as my photograph while running

  • J.B.Singh

    Photo of JB Singh

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