Bed and Sudip started early this morning with chick peas, rice, some fruit and tea. Sudip was in a buoyant mood, ‘I’m looking forward to the race’ he said cheerfully. Bed wasn’t in such a good mood. He’d had a bad dream – his father scolding him for running, that he won’t earn an income from it.
But races don’t wait, and off to the start we went. An entirely new experience for Bed and Sudip as they were squashed and squeezed in the bunch of front runners, a loud PA system with dance music, thousands of people milling around. All this and they kept focused on the job at hand, and after the first few kilometers they were third and fifth.
We next caught up with them at 39km and the leaders had spread out over the course. The big Swede was striding out in the lead in an incredible time, and still looking strong with the hard part of the race about to begin.
Bed was maybe 20 minutes off the lead, and had been battling with a stomach upset (the food? the water? who knows….). But it was still an impressive 2 hours and 50 minutes to that point. Sudip was 10 minutes behind that, struggling over the tarmac road. Both were still well in contention, and keeping up with the fast pace of the leaders.
Ramesh and I headed to the finish line to wait, anf the first runner we saw was the incredible Swede. Just over 5 hours 45 minutes – that’s two marathons in a row, both under 3 hours. Incredible. And the organizers were determined to get a good 5 minute interview before they even let him sit down!
Bed was our first runner to come in – cheering, waving and looking in trouble. His stomach had been causing him problems for the whole race it seems, and he was very disappointed with himself. I said well done and all he could reply was ‘not well done sir’. I thought he was going to cry.
Sudip was a little further behind – he crossed the line and his legs cramped up. He had had problems since the tarmac section at 39km. An 8km section rising 350m in altitude – it had tightened his legs so much that h had struggled on the hill.
They were a little over 7 hours, which was a surprise for us all. Still, with the problems they had, which e did expect at some point, they have done well. These two runners were both in the top flight and in very good times – these will be posted once the organizers confirm them.
Right now both Bed and Sudip are disappointed, they feel they could have run better, faster. They could. They do have the talent, maybe not yet the experience on tarmac and at racing Europeans, but the ability and determination is definitely there.
Tim is still running, we saw him at 39km after a little more than 4 hours and he was looking strong. Michael has finished his marathon over the Alps in 5 hours.