Posted on October,10,2016
You should run the Satara Hill Half Marathon. It may be easier than you think, or it may be tougher than you think. But, it definitely will be more rewarding than you think!
The Race - The Route - The People
The race is like a beautiful musical composition: A Beginning, A Middle, and The Finish. Get ready for a Concerto with the most universal of forces: GRAVITY. Conserving your energy as you climb over 400m in the first 7km; fighting for inches at a time; the first slow movement of your composition is like sizing up a strong partner. In the Middle, the course eases out to a great extent, but remains tricky. Be alert to gradient changes and you can raise the tempo significantly without running out of steam. And, as you reach the 14km mark, get ready for the Finale. Your partner, The Big G, is truly your ally as you fly down the descent all the way to the Finish line. But, there are no free lunches, and you have to manage the tempo gained. It is not a very short burst, but a long crescendo. You will run out of breath, or bust your knees, or do both if you rush it too much too soon.
This may read like a cliche, but I guarantee you this. Watching the sun rise, and break through the clouds across the plains, as you are slowly running up the mountain, is a zen moment. There were moments when I struggled with the thought of taking pictures for others to get an idea of what I was seeing. And, then, the mind was still; happy to just take it all in. The sights and the smells; the breeze and the drizzle; the sounds of birds and the volunteers and cheering squads; and, the taste of success-within-grasp on the way down. It is an experience that stays with you. And, the best way to refresh the memory as it fades, is to go back and run the hill.
It is the people of the city that bring life to the race. And, the citizens of Satara are proud of their event. The event is almost getting too big for their small city, but they welcome the runners with wide smiles as they make up for the hotel room shortage by opening their homes to the runners for the event. On the day itself, they were out to cheer the runners from as early as 6:00 am. Waving and wishing us well as we ran the streets of their neighborhood. And again when we returned on the last leg of the race. I have to say that the Satara organizers and volunteers are a match for those at my favorite, the Hyderabad marathon.
And, I will someday return to run this fantastic race. Hopefully, with you.