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Race Report: Airtel Delhi Half Marathon (ADHM) 2019

Race report of Airtel delhi half marathon 2019 by Kartik Iyer


6 minutes read

Date: 20 Oct 2019
Start time: 6:41 AM
Goal(s): 1h:31m to 1h:32m (1h:31m:30s)

Hydration and Fueling

  • Sips of Fast&Up BCAA + Reload + Activate in 200ml of water from about 75 minutes before the race
  • Carried a 200ml bottle with me to avoid the crowded aid stations initially.
  • 3 gels (F&UP/Unived). 1 gel 10 mins before the start and 1 gel every 30 minutes after that during the race.
  • Water or F&UP Reload once in 20 minutes (on an average) at aid station(s).

Pacing strategy


Procam mucked up the start yet again. They opened the corral gates too early and as a result section A, B and C got mixed up right at the start line. I had to weave my way through a maze of runners in the first kilometer but I had mentally prepared for this.
Actual Time and Average Pace @1km - 04m:24s, 4:24 mins/km
Planned Time and Average Pace @1km – 04m:25s, 4:25 mins/k

2-3 km

Settled into a rhythm in this section. There was a nip in the air and as we did not take the left that we usually do on Lodhi road this section felt more comfortable this time around. I eased into a pace that was about 10 seconds faster than the race pace but did not feel the perceived effort. Crossed Sanjeev Patel in this section and we exchanged high-fives.
Actual Time and Average Pace @3kms - 12m:48s, 4:16 mins/km
Planned Time and Average Pace @3kms - 13m:05s, 4:18 mins/km

4-10 km

Continued at a strong pace in this section. Crossed some familiar faces like Pani Sir and Shailja in this stretch and caught up with Ash early on in this section, ran alongside him or on his shoulders for a major part of this section. I kept reminding myself that I am running at a faster pace than the planned pace and that helped in slowing down a tad bit on this stretch. Had my second gel and finished the remnants of the 200ml bottle around the 10th km. A side effect of this pacing was that I got my 10km PB.
Timing Mat split @4kms – 17m:09s , 4:18 mins/km
Timing Mat split @10kms – 42m:19s , 4:14 mins/km
Actual (watch) Time and Average Pace @10kms – 42m:26s, 4:14 mins/km
Planned Time and Average Pace @10kms – 42m:30s , 4:15 mins/km

11-16 km

I crossed the u-turn feeling strong and continued at the same pace. The mind was doing all sorts of calculations by now and an elusive sub-90 looked possible this Sunday morning at Delhi. Ash slowed down for water but I kept going and now the idea was to reel in the runner in front of me one runner at a time and I did reel in several runners in this section. Towards the end of this stretch around India gate I started feeling the pangs of fatigue hissing at me. Vira was on the other side and shouted out and that kind of cheered me up to keep soldiering on. I doused water / even reload on my head in this section and used water sponges to cool my legs down. I had my third and final gel in this section.
Timing Mat split @13kms – 55:48 minutes, 4:18 mins/km
Timing Mat split @15kms – 1:03:52 minutes, 4:16 mins/km
Actual Time and Average Pace @16kms – 1:08:30 minutes, 4:16 mins/km
Planned Time and Average Pace @16kms – 1:09:15 minutes, 4:19 mins/km



This is where I faltered. The higher pace ratcheted up in the initial sections had done me in. slowly I started fading. Ash crossed me after the 17th KM and then Narender Ram crossed me around the 19th km. I tagged in behind him for the remainder of this section and eventually crossed him in the last km. The perceived effort was telling as is reflected by the HR in a subsequent section. I put my head down and kept moving that final prayer in front of Sai Mandir is what kept me going. Syed Umar cheered me on with 100m to go and I slumped past the finish line. Anything but a strong finish this one.
Actual Time and Average Pace @21.1kms – 1:31:00 minutes, 4:18 mins/km
Planned Time and Average Pace @21.1kms – 1:31:30 minutes, 4:20 mins/km

Key Observations

  • Training – The training in this period leading to the race had been challenging but satisfying as I was able to meet pace targets towards the end of the training period which meant I was peaking well in time for this key race. I did most of my training around 7:00 AM considering that we had a 6:41 AM start at ADHM.
  • I used a cap in almost all of my training runs and I ditched it at ADHM. In retrospect I should have possibly worn the cap to the race.
  • Had a good set of tune-up races coming into ADHM – AHM, Stadium-run, and SOW. They were good confidence builders.


  • During the race, I was thinking about my race and the conversation within was all about how to control my race rather than fretting on who crossed me and who didn’t.
  • It felt good running with Ash though this was not planned at all. There is a certain ease to the way he runs and that rubs off on you as a runner during the race.
  • The extraneous factors such as weather on race day, smog etc. did not affect my preparation for the race. It was a little sunny on the way back and so I feel I should have worn a cap.
  • I looked into the watch only at the key points like the 5th, 10th and 16th KM respectively. By and large I ran by feel.
  • There is an element of fearlessness that has come into my style of racing now. Though it may have cost me a sub-90 in the final analysis I feel more at ease in adapting this approach of going for a target rather than being too conservative.


  • Average heart rate was high. This should act as an indicator of perceived effort and enable me to slow down. “in-situ” this is one thing that I am not doing. Pull myself back when the situation demands that.
  • I am completely beaten up at the finish line. Down on all fours if you will. This really doesn’t fit the definition of a strong finish. This is a consequence of point 1) above.
  • I think I got carried away by the prospect of a sub 90 at the halfway mark. I should have slowed down around the 11th KM, gathered myself and started all over again. The manner in which I finished this race would have been much better and maybe in the process I would have got a sub-90 too.

Running Dynamics

Average Cadence 184 spm
Average Stride Length 1.26 m
Average Vertical Oscillation 11.8 cm
Average GCT Balance 49.5% L / 50.5% R
Average Ground Contact Time 164 ms

Heart Rate

Average HR 185 bpm
Max HR 199 bpm
Z5 60% (54.31 mins)
Z4 32% (29.26 mins)
Z3 8% (7.13 mins)

Races Ahead

  • Thump! (30km) – 01/12/2019 (this will be a training run for TSK-25KM)
  • TSK-25(25km) – 15/12/2019
  • SPCM (32.18km) – 05/01/2020 (this will be a training run for TMM)
  • TMM (Full Marathon) – 19/01/2020
  • NDM (Full Marathon) – 23/02/2020


Kartik Iyer is a running geek, techie and a marathoner. He loves everything running and fitness.

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