#642Marathon Review @extremesportskw @q8sportevents

Yesterday marked the first Marathon to be run officially (or unofficially) in Kuwait, and by god it was a game changer.

From the beginning, the 642 Marathon was the first to offer distances to suit everyone’s running appetite, with 5, 10, half and full marathon runs, everyone was bound to find a distance suitable to them.

It served as a refreshing change to start form Souq Sharq, as opposed to all the other races starting in Salmiya; mainly Marina Mall, although there was that one time RunQ8 had their inaugural first 10K in 2010 from the scientific center.

I had signed up for the half marathon, my wife for the 5K, and several friends for the 42.

There in lay the problem; the 42, the supposed crowning achievement of the 642 marathon, was a debauchery from the get-go.

Initially slated for the runners to begin at 7:30AM for the marathon and 8:30AM for all the rest, the marathon was delayed to start with all the others. This caused a problem in the space-time continuum in that a 5K takes an average of 30 mins, a 10K takes 60, a 21K takes 2 hours and a 42K takes 4hours, meaning the marathon folks would be running until 12:30PM, when the sun is at its highest point and the heat unbearable, even in these calming winter days. Also, the winners of the previous races would have to wait for the marathons to complete for the awards ceremony to take place.

Second, the organizers did an amazing thing in closing off the entire road side, as opposed to a single lane, for the runners to run in. This should have been utilized to its full potential by having people use all three lanes to separate the to and fro runners groups. This was not done and caused a problem initially at the first turn around from Mubarakiya onward and then the turnaround where the runners were put back on the Gulf road.

Third, as everyone is embracing the growing trend of tracking their runs to become more efficient, everyone is using GPS. GPS requires clear view of the sky to work properly. The run inside Mubarakiya albeit a lot fun, was a dead zone for GPS and several watches, phones etc. lost signal, throwing all runners paces off.

Fourth, the loop arounds that the marathon runners had to do were extremely boring and lacked what every marathon should contain, engaging scenery and a one shot activity with minimal turn arounds.

Feast your eyes on the Dubai Marathon map for 2014:

Screen-Shot-2013-02-19-at-9.41.13-PM

 

The 642 marathon had the runners doing a loop at 12KM (with the 21) then again near the start, then again at chilis (like rats in a maze) to finally run back to the finish line.

Fifth, the sharp turn at the top of the bridge. The finish line should have been placed in front of Souq Sharq, to make the final dash towards the finish line a straight line.

Sixth, no energy gels were provided before the 12K mark.

Seventh, the roads were opened to cars at the second ring road at 11:30AM with runners still on them.

And finally, as a person that was injured and bleeding through my shoes at the finish line, I found the medical preparedness of the volunteers to be thoroughly lacking as I had to walk back and forth from the finish line to the registration tent and back before someone came and provided me with band aids.

Other than that, the race was perfect. The availability of water and sports drinks for runners was spot on, the booths were all very helpful and the overall atmosphere was encompassing of the bond between sports-folks, that of congratulatory admiration. Many a hi-5 and thumbs up were shared between crossing runners, proof that we may be competing on the asphalt, but we are all united in our quest for better health and wellness.

Definitely looking forward to the next 642 sponsored run, in hopes that they will take the constructive criticism provided by the runners into consideration.

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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