2015 will be the 9th year for the Kaveri Trail Marathon. During these 9 years we have witnessed this event become bigger and better supported by the love of runners who have participated, some, even for 4 and more years! Here, we have put together some feedback given by KTM runners which, needless to say, makes us want to keep making the KTM a truly one –of-a-kind experience.
“ I keep coming back to the Kaveri Trail Marathon because I’ve developed this sense of loyalty towards Runners for Life. They’ve given so much to the community and I am happy to give that back. Besides, the KTM route is one to be envied if you don’t run on it.” – Ashok Nath
“The KTM is a challenging route. I keep coming back because I have this thrill of knowing that I have improved year on year. It’s a tough route, no doubt that that makes the KTM so alluring to me.” – Vaishali Kasture
“It’s a fabulous trail. It’s muddy, it’s green, beautiful birds and a lovely river flowing besides you.” – Khushi and Prahllad Bulchandani
“The scenery was plush green throughout and this is definitely the most beautiful marathon I’ve ever run in.” – Sachin Bharadwaj
“This was my first run in India and it was great. The motivation from the people along the route gave me the power to finish.” – Jerome
“I enjoy this trail because it’s totally natural. There are cows and buffaloes along the route. Some people might not like that but I do. Plus, there’s the landscape. The best part is that you can go in the end and chill in the water.” – Pankaj Rai
“I’ve been running the KTM for 7 years and I keep coming back because I love and the route and I really love the friendly atmosphere.” – Rachel Carter
“I really enjoy KTM – from starting at sunrise with the sound of birds waking up, to running along the river.” Says Rachel Helen Carter who has been running with us at the Kaveri Trail Marathon for 7 years and she has podium finishes for every one of them. We had the privilege of interviewing her and finding out more about her relationship with running.
- You’ve been running the KTM with us for 7 years. What makes you come back year after year?
I really enjoy the KTM – from starting at sunrise with the sound of birds waking up, to running along the river, enjoying the trail to the friendly atmosphere provided by runners cheering each other as we pass and great volunteers. It’s a really nice run and it’s a great weekend away for me.
- Which podium finish has been your most memorable one at the KTM?
One of my most memorable finishes was 2013. That year I had missed a long time goal to break 3:30 in July (Gold Coast Marathon). I ran KTM really well and discovered that with 5km to go I was going to break the 3:30 barrier. Then as I was coming up towards the finish line, I realised that I had the chance of running 3:25 – I was very happy when I crossed the line – I had run one hour faster than my first marathon time.
- What goes through your mind on the morning before a race?
Get up, c’mon Rachel get up, OK get dressed, eat something, pick up your bags, get to the start….. That’s what is going through my mind. Then when I get to the start, I am thinking about who I will meet, catching up with people having a last drink and visits to the bathroom. It’s a great time for socialising.
- Were you athletic before you started running?
Yes – I’ve always been into the outdoors. I’ve enjoyed climbing, kayaking and trekking since I was a teenager.
- Are you the kind to follow a running plan to the T or you make it up as you go along?
I like to make it up as I go along. Most days everything works and there are a few when I just haven’t got it in me. Last year I started KTM not knowing if I would run the whole race or pull out at the half way mark (I had been sick leading up to the event). I started off with a realistic pace and made a decision around the 19km point to keep going. I ended up walking a bit and then decided to see what I could do in the last 10km. I really enjoyed greeting everyone along the way and seeing how many smiles I could get.
- Do you run alone or with a group?
I don’t like running alone. That can be really hard – there have been times where there haven’t been any other long distance runners in Ooty. Right now I have a great friend I go out with on Saturday mornings – we chat and it’s a good time to catch up. Mike cycles with me when I want to do a long run and I like to get groups of our students out on shorter runs.
- What are your lifetime running goals?
I set myself a goal after my first marathon to go under 3:30 (as everyone at the finish line was saying things like ‘Mumbai is so hot, it added 30 – 60mins to my normal time’). I achieved that goal and haven’t set a new one. My aim is to explore new areas and enjoy different events. I really enjoyed running 100miles over 5 days a couple of years ago and I would like to do more stage runs like that. I need to fit running in with my responsibilities and family so I can’t go and do everything that I like the look of!
- When it comes to running, what is the measure of success in it?
Enjoyment. I believe I have had a good run (event or training) if I have had fun, enjoyed getting out and either spent time with people I care about or made new friends.
- Why would you recommend someone to run the Kaveri Trail Marathon?
It is a great experience. There are plenty of people to encourage you, great views, a friendly atmosphere and it’s a good weekend away.
“When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world” — George Washington Carver.
It all started in May 2007, with a bunch of enthusiastic runners telling Runners For Life that we should use our years of experience of conducting fortnightly runs to organize an Ultramarathon. The first in the country. The idea fired the imagination, of course!
Plans were on, full swing. A core group of runners were meeting weekly, to discuss the future of this Ultramarathon. Madhu Avasarala, the man behind the idea commented, “We need a full-fledged training run. One month before the Ultra. In similar trail conditions. Tougher terrain than the Ultra. So it serves as a great training run.”
Jugy, our secret weapon and Lord of the Trails responded, “You should try this trail along the Kaveri that the Hash guys have run on. It’s beautiful.”
And just like that, Kaveri Trail Marathon was born.
The Hash guys got us the first RFL event t-shirt. The white KTM 2007 tee. With sponsorship from Atkins. Runner and designer, Athreya Chidambi came up with the logo – an Egret, since the route went close to the Rangathittu Bird Sanctuary. And we were set!
Over 150 runners left Bangalore, bleary eyed, at 2 am from MG Road, travelled the distance by bus, stopped at Fort View for a loo break and on to the trail. Uncharacteristically, for an RFL run, we started a few minutes late. Mainly because we were waiting for one of the buses, which had a flat tyre, to catch up.
Families of team RFL volunteered to get the event going – so we had mums, dads, siblings and spouses handing out water, cleaning up litter, setting up umbrellas, handing out first aid… it was truly a wonderful community experience.
The run was flagged off by the RFLers. Distances offered: half and full marathon. Timing was done manually. No, really. College kids with pens and clipboards wrote down bib numbers and timings. And the guys would punch it into an excel sheet and publish it to the RFL Googlegroup community!
The run was murderous, to say the least. The sun was out. The few brave hearts who did the full marathon were heroes.
We headed back to Fort View Resorts, for brunch. The Hash guys had beer on tap for those who fancied it.
Once back, there was fighting among runners to be the first to come home and write about their race experience on the Googlegroup. There were photoblogs capturing the beauty of the trail – Sudhir Palayil’s being one of the notable ones.
We decided that people loved KTM as much as they loved the Ultra. And that it deserved to be up there as a separate event. So, we decided, the third Sunday in September will always be the KTM date. 270 participants. Addition of 10k to the distances run. Timing was manual. Some of the volunteers from the previous year’s Ultra ran.
By now, we had tons of people writing evocatively and taking stunning pictures of the event –Sudhir, Manoj Bhat, D, Anita Bora… all poured out post run creativity online and really helped cement cult status for KTM.
Over 700 participants. Suddenly, the pre-race pasta party was less of “Hi, how are you? All set? What timing are you hoping for?” and “hail-fellow-well-met” camaraderie to hesitant and shy “Hi. What’s your name? Have you been running long?” kind of interactions.
The race saw relatively mellow weather. People were shocked to see the sun disappeared for large parts of time. And made the most of it! Since then, runners hope for lovely, sun-less, breezy weather. But Kaveri has not yet obliged.
Suffice to say, Kaveri Trail Marathon has gotten bigger and better every year. It has been oversubscribed to, the past 3 years, with as many runners as the course can handle.
We hope to keep the glorious history of KTM going from strength to strength… with a little help from our running friends.
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Thanuj Kumar from Mysore has been running with us for over the past 2 years. In 2014, not only did he participate in his first trail run at the Kaveri Trail Marathon, he secured 1st place in the 10k race. Read on to know Thanuj’s running secrets. .
Q.1 For your trail training, what made you choose the Kaveri Trail Marathon?
It’s mainly because of three reasons, Firstly, it’s the month in which the race is organized, September. This month brings along with it a season of lush greenery and sunlight that makes the route look so gorgeous. Second, it is the trail itself. One may think the route being a trail one will be easier to run on but the KTM trail is a whole lot tougher than what one thinks it to be. The challenge of the trail is what makes me so enamoured by it. Third of all, it’s the organizers and the enthusiastic participants that make this event so memorable.
Q.2 What was your training and nutrition regimen like?
My training involved 2 days of easy/ tempo runs, one day of long running and 2 days of sprints. I prepped myself with an occasional workout in the gym,. I am a vegetarian. I sometimes eat 2 eggs a week. Besides this, I really don’t follow any special nutrition plan. ‘Eat natural’ is my mantra.
Q.3 How did you celebrate your win?
I lifted both my arms wide open and crossed the finish line. After catching my breath and heaving a sigh of relief, I went back to pace other runners to boost them up towards the finish line.
Q.4 Your first love, Road or Trail?
It’s neither, actually. My first love is track. I have been a middle distance runner since my school days and on any given day I would choose track racing. Next comes trail running as it gets you closer to nature that stimulates energy to help you go the distance.
Q.5 What’s your advice for people who not only will be running their first 10k but also for their first time on a trail such as Kaveri Trail Marathon?
I would say do not push yourself and simply enjoy the run. Concentrate on completing the race. That’s all. Relax, post the run and click many photographs. The KTM is a wonderful trail to run on. You can really just have a good run keeping your timings and personal bests out of the way. Run taking in the nature that the route has to offer. Post that you can take home the memories and I can assure you, you will want to come back again and again
As running gains popularity in India, runners, both veteran and beginners are exploring newer and diverse routes to arrive at an optimum intersection of a run and adventure.
The route of the Kaveri Trail Marathon extends alongside the river Kaveri through splendid views of trees and paddy fields. This trail, though cited as a tough course to run on, offers tranquillity and a gush of nature in every direction.
So what makes running on a course like the Kaveri trail so alluring?
Here are 10 reasons we could think of :
10. Running on trails gives you cleaner air to breathe
9. On a trail, you enjoy freedom from the sound of traffic
8. Wouldn’t it be more fun to rest by a tree-side than on the road-side pavement?
7. Trails offer more challenges such as higher elevation and hills
6. Running on trails works out more muscles thereby strengthening you more
5. You will be able to focus on yourself better rather than focusing on dodging the next person you are likely to bump into on the street
4. It’s cooler to run among trees than it is to run among buildings
3. Trail running is easier on the knee than on tarred roads
2. Trails cannot bore you
1. Why else but the Kaveri Trail Marathon?
What are your reasons to run the KTM? Let us know.