13th Kathmandu Marathon is coming; go hit the road


Attention Kathmandu: The 13th Kathmandu Marathon is on December 21, go hit the road!

Marathons are gradually evolving as one of Nepal’s fastest-growing group events with the number of participants increasing every year.

Some run without any agenda or a reason while for others, it simply is a way of life. You could be running for a cause or to achieve your personal goal. You might be a newbie or a registered veteran- doesn’t matter if this is the first marathon you’ve endeavoured or the 25th time that you’re taking those lengthy laps. Just make sure you get the most of your 42.195-kilometre experience.

Readying yourselves for the run

If you want to enjoy race day and if running a marathon is your goal, you need to plan weeks in advance. “It’s an endurance test, so take appropriate precautions because risk of injury is high and training is tough,” says Alok Khatri, a fitness expert.

Khatri, who coaches performance-centric athletes, believes training for a distance-run may take anywhere from two to four hours every day in the week. He further added, four days of intense training and three days of strength training is vital because it can improve the runner’s performance. Khatri monitors athletes and works on their endurance.

“There is no need to change your food routine because it all depends on your daily activity. However, it is recommended to avoid intense training a week before the marathon,” the fitness expert added.

Khatri believes it is very important to taper for a marathon a week before the event. “Once you’re in shape to run a marathon, spend your last week stretching, work on your core.”

People experience various aches and pains while training for marathons. “To keep this in check, steady pace should be kept and Rated Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale should be monitored to measure the intensity of the exercise where one should never go over six on a scale of 1-10. Even high-level athletes maintain this pace,” said Khatri. Fitness trainers try and maintain the pace of an athlete to make sure they are determined during a race to reach the starting point.

To avoid injuries, runners should pick their running gear wisely, learn to time themselves, get into comfortable clothes, manage their speed, and control their breathing. “If you invest in a pair of good shoes and your training is on point, you’re good to go.”

“Running longer distance without proper gear may result in injury because of limited movement and can lead to plantar fasciitis, a tissue inflammation at the bottom of one’s foot that runs from the heel to toes,” Khatri concluded.

More on the marathon: Management and Participation

The marathon will have six categories — full marathon (42.195 km), half marathon (21.098 km), wheelchair marathon (3 km), school marathon (5 km), corporate relay (42 km), and family-run (3 km). The family-run category was added to the marathon bandwagon this year with an aim to bring families together in a sports event.

The upcoming edition of the marathon will begin at Tripureshwar and end at Dashrath Stadium, passing all three districts — Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur.

During the recently concluded 13th South Asian Games (SAG) held in Nepal, Kiran Singh Bogati won the gold medal in men’s marathon by finishing the race in 2:21:07. Likewise, Pushpa Bhandari became the first Nepali female athlete to bag a marathon medal, a silver, by finishing the race in 2:50:11.

“Over the years, the number of participants has been increasing,” said Bagmati Rai, executive director of Prosports, the company which organises the event.

Organisers say that about 500 volunteers will be mobilised along the route and traffic police officers will also be stationed for support. Around 15 water stations will be installed along the route.

Rai, sharing her woes, said she had a hard time making the government officials understand how a marathon and a race are two absolutely different events.

In a country like Nepal, organising a marathon calls for a lot of planning and management, which is not possible without government support. Rai shares that she had even requested the government to take ownership of the event. “A lot of private organisations, however, are supporting the Kathmandu Marathon.”

Marathons are also becoming more popular among non-Nepali runners. 150 foreign nationals are expected to register for the upcoming run, said Rai. Japanese national Kazuaki Naganuma, a veteran runner who is no stranger to Kathmandu Marathon, is participating for the fourth time in this event.

Naganuma, in very fluent Nepali, said, “I love Nepal and have many friends here.” The 60-year-old runner has trained many athletes from 1984 to 1986 including legendary marathon runner Baikuntha Manandhar.

“When you complete a marathon, there is a sense of achievement, and the race becomes beautiful where you compete with yourself,” said Siddharth Rawat, an Indian merchant navy officer and longtime distance runner who has participated in marathons in different parts of the world.

Marathon, for Rawat, is a way to get back into the running routine that he stopped long back due to unavoidable circumstances. “I am passionate about running and every time I go out for a run I remind myself of an ultimate goal – to hit that finish line on a marathon day. I run for the love of the finish line.”

Rawat, whose best timing so far has been one-and-a-half hours for a 21-km run, believes running is the best form of meditation and there is no workout quite like a good hard run. “You are your own judge, so know your limitations as running gets you more disciplined and focused,” added Rawat. “I run with no fear. I feel like if I make it here, I can make it anywhere.”

A four-time marathon runner in Kathmandu, Rawat believes that the marathon fee should be increased in order to avail more facilities as well as ensure safety. He says that the more fee you pay, the more facilities you will get. Contradictory to this, others are of the opinion that hefty fees (Rs.1000) would discourage some from participating in the event.

Speaking about the event, General Secretary of Nepal Olympic Committee and a chief organiser of Kathmandu Marathon Nilendra Raj Shrestha said that he worries traffic management might be a challenge and is requesting the concerned authorities that traffic be brought to a halt for two to three hours during the event. There have already been 6,000 registrations and organisers are expecting a minimum of 10,000 participants, he concluded.

Run Kathmandu, Run!

Kathmandu, now if you are inspired to run, go hit the roads on the marathon day (which is on December 21, in case you forgot) on a what could be a very-very ‘Kathmandu-winter-morning’ where a mass participation will be witnessed.

Train hard, take precautions, eat healthy, follow the advice of the experts and when you cross that finish line- remember to celebrate, and don’t stop there…

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