2-hour Pacing Strategy for the SCMM (Half) 2015

PacePal - intelligent running
PacePal – intelligent running
SCMM Half Marathon - Route Map
SCMM Half Marathon – Route Map

Running a race with an intelligent pacer removes the stress of keeping track of pacing and allows you to focus on various aspects of your running – breathing, gait, cadence, hydration etc. In my previous blog on pacing I spoke about making decisions intelligently whether you are a pacer, a race organizer or racing to a personal best. Guidance is extremely useful when navigating uncharted waters. A pacer in a race is a disciplined guide within an event which has performance pressure. In this article I present my pacing strategy for the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2015, (2-hour bus for the half marathon) and some advice for you, the runner, if you are planning to be on my bus.

PacePal - intelligent running
PacePal – intelligent running

Whatever be your target finishing time for the half or the full marathon at the SCMM, I advise you to check out PacePal on your smartphone when it is released for the SCMM 2015 next week (for Android and iOS). It will allow you to create your own intelligent pacing strategy and produce wrist bands (free of charge) to ensure a successful completion of the race.

The SCMM Half Marathon Course
The 21.1km course is relatively flat. It can be thought of as containing 4 natural laps of different lengths based on terrain and progression of the race.

Elevation Map for the SCMM Half Marathon
Elevation Map for the SCMM Half Marathon
  • 2.5 km from the start, a warm-up segment to the highest point of the Sea Link
  • 10.8 km from the highest point of the Sea Link to Haji Ali, an approximately flat route
  • 1.2 km from the bottom of Peddar Road to its top (HSBC branch)
  • 6.6 km from the top of Peddar Road to the finish

My Pacing Strategy
In any race, because of weaving through the crowds and drifting near water stations, the distance travelled is slightly more than officially stated. Assuming this is about 21.3km for the SCMM as a pacer, my plan is to finish within a tight time band of 1:58:00 and 1:59:15. Drilling down further, by the 4 natural laps, my plan is the following:

2-Hour SCMM Half 2015 by PacePal
2-Hour SCMM Half 2015 by PacePal

Do remember that these are planned paces. Depending on the exact situation (predominantly crowding) along the route, there may be slightly divergences from this plan within the boundaries set, but I will always bring you back on track.

Running with PuruTheGuru
Now that you know what strategy I intend to follow what should you do if you would like to run with me but are not in the same starting enclosure as I am in when the gun goes off? (I am likely to be in Enclosure D.)

If you are in Enclosure A, B or C, you could just wait until I approach with flag waving and then cross the start timing mat along with me. If you happen to cross the mat much earlier and then wait for me to catch up you run the risk of being slower than 2 hours if you finish with me.

If you are in Enclosure E, F, G or elsewhere, then crossing the start mat with me will be difficult if not impossible.  In that case my suggestions are:
(a) use PacePal and the wrist bands to guide you, and/or…
(b) slowly try to make your way through the crowds (do not be anxious, and do not rush unsafely) and as long as you can see my flag waving, you will finish within target time

PacePal - intelligent running
PacePal – intelligent running

Running with PacePal
I am excited about the release of PacePal for the SCMM. When that happens next week, I plan to share my thoughts on it with you.

I wish you well for your days of tapering to race day.


Dr Purnendu Nath spends his waking hours focusing on helping individuals and organizations reach their goals, to make the world a better place. He speaks, writes and advises on topics such as finance, investment management, discipline, education, self-improvement, exercise, nutrition, health and fitness, leadership and parenting.


    • Dear Nitin
      A blast from the past!
      Best wishes to you and yours too!
      Hope to see you in Mumbai in 2015.
      Love and good health
      – Puru


  1. Dear Sir, This Sounds interesting. I am doing my first half and plan to join your bus. My 10K times are in the 54-56 range and am hoping for a sub 2:00 finish. The last lap seems a little faster for me and am hoping your bus will pull me through. Appreciate your efforts.


    • Sounds like you are on-track for a sub-2. Do join my bus without worrying about that last natural lap. Will be a pleasure to take you across the finish line with a smile.


  2. Dr Nath.. I am travelling from Gurgaon and wish to ride the 2 hours bus with you.

    Thanks for the useful information above.


    • Will be a pleasure to have you on my bus. No need to buy a ticket… Just hop on and smile when you approach the finish line!


  3. Hi Dr Nath,
    Very informative indeed. I wish to join your bus. My 10k timing for Pune was 65mins. Coming from aurangabad,
    I hope I can catch up with the pace. Its my first half marathon


    • Will be a pleasure to have you on my bus. No need to buy a ticket… Just hop on and smile when you approach the finish line, even if it’s a few minutes after I do!!


  4. Dear Sir, Hope the bus had a good run. I was looking forward to but missed your bus due to crowding at the start line and started 7 minutes past 6 AM. Nevertheless, PacePal information was useful and I was on target for about 15 KM, including the Peddar hill . But, the last 6 KM, I got stomach cramps and my pace slipped past 6:15 and I managed 2:05:58, which I am happy as this is my first HM. Again, thanks for your volunteering efforts and Best Wishes..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Sreenath! Am so glad you had a good run and just a few seconds slower than when I accidentally ran my first half marathon 5 years ago 🙂
      Hope to run with you soon…


  5. Interesting article Puru and I’d love to adopt such a pacing strategy. I was just curious – if I wanted to adapt this into a 01:50 pace strategy, how should I go about modifying the above? I’m running my first SCMM in Jan 2016 having run my first HM in March 2015 @ Buddha, Noida.



    • One decent first approximation would be to reduce each of those timestamps by 28 seconds. Do use the official 1:50 pacer provided by the race organizers if you want an anchor. Also, ask him (in this case it’s a ‘him’) for his pacing plan.


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