When you have more than 44,000 runners participating in a marathon, problems are bound to surface if the event is not proper organised.

On Sunday, the elite runners of the Mumbai Marathon slammed the organisers after they clashed with many casual runners during the course of their race. Even the metro construction work proved to be a hindrance and the inability of the pacers to help set the race according the desired pace didn’t help either. 

Casual runners prove difficult

For women’s gold medalist Amane Gobena of Ethiopia the amount of casual runners interrupted the elite race at regular intervals. “It was a quite difficult race as there were a lot of casual participants in other non-competitive events) on the road. It was difficult to concentrate,” said Gobena. “At one point I thought that I will break the course due to the amount of people,” she added.

The runners also missed their drinks thrice while on the run. “It was difficult to get water also and there were too many corners,” said Bornes Kitur of Kenya, who finished second. The 2017 champion missed receiving water at the 5km, 15km and 30km mark. “The metro construction work was a problem. The last kilometer was difficult as there were a lot of corners,” she added.

India’s Sudha Singh also complained about the amount of people on the track. “I didn’t face issues getting water bottles during my race but one of the major hurdles during the race was the joggers,” said Singh.

Pacemakers don’t do their job

If the metro construction work and amount of people on the running track wasn’t enough, the pacers appointed for the race also did not do a good job. The pacemakers are a group of runners who helps keep a speed target for the runners. In the men’s elite full marathon run, the first pacemaker dropped at around 15km, which was unexpected with the second at 25km. The last dropped out at 28km.

It was Joshua Kipkorir, who finished third in the men’s elite category that began setting the pace. “The problem was the pace makers. They did not want to push, I had to tell them to push. One dropped around the 15km, one dropped at around the 25km mark. It was a difficult race,” said Kipkorir.

Shumet Akalnaw, who finished second backed Kipkorir’s. “The pacing was not quite what I expected. The pacemakers were not really setting the pace because most of the times, they were running like intervals. Pushing and stopping and pushing,” said Akalnaw.

“Actually, I was aiming for the course record and till 30km I was doing well. But the last 12kms saw the pacer also running slow, which caused a disruption in my plans,” said India’s Gopi T.