Reporting on Pacing Failures at the Mumbai Marathon 2019

Pauper Puru and Prince Ramon – 2hrs invested – Health Unlimited

The Messenger is Back

From darkness…

Ever since my “Being a Pacer, Choosing a Pacer – A Guide” I have published a table once a year after the Mumbai Marathon on the performance of official pacers selected to set the pace for other recreational runners for various target times.

The reason for my tabulated updates after the race are outlined in the 2016 report and some lessons from pacer failures are outlined in the 2015 report. The 2017 report includes my 2-hour FunRunParty Bus’s maiden voyage. Today I present you my report for 2019.

The previous Sunday, 20th January, it felt great to be greeted throughout the race morning of the 2019 edition by runners who had used my freely available pacing bands. Even the tiny proportion of runners who decided to race with a pacer would have done well to use one of my pacing bands. For the Mumbai Marathon, they were first released in 2016republished in 2017, and then for 2018 and again for 2019. To see why I think they are calibrated brilliantly read this.


The Prince & Pauper

The theme for this year’s party bus with me was “A Long Healthspan for Prince and Pauper“. The message is fairly simple:

Financial wealth is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for excellent health!

More about that soon.


Don’t Shoot the Messenger

Almost 90 runners pre-registered their interest to make history and run on my FunRunParty 2-hour Bus and many others joined along the way. [You can watch the promo PostPreview film based on the 2017 run.] The goal was to party along the entire route and, as promised, we had lights, music, dance, and other action.  Wine, however, was not served – nor was beer! Everyone who was part of it had a wonderful experience… so, success was achieved on the ‘fun party’ dimension! And, our bus finished bang on target time! If only I could be pleased about the rest of the pacing buses…


OK, so here are the results in three separate tables for the 10Km, half marathon and the full marathon.


Mumbai Marathon 2019 – 10km Race – Failure of Pacers


Half Marathon

Mumbai Marathon 2019 - Half Marathon - Failure of Pacers
Mumbai Marathon 2019 – Half Marathon – Failure of Pacers


Full Marathon

Mumbai Marathon 2019 – Full Marathon – Failure of Pacers


Why are things still going wrong?

…to Light!

It was Republic Day yesterday in India over the weekend. Why can’t we get the country’s biggest running event to have better pacing performance? [No, don’t blame Modi!] To have 13 pacers fail to finish before their deadline is not a joking matter. To have almost a fifth of the pacers in the full marathon failing again this year is not a joking matter! More than half of the pacers for the half marathon failed – so we had more failures than last year (2018), more even than the previous year (2017) and the year before that (2016) and even the year before that (2015)– again not something to take lightly! I’m now beginning to worry that people will think the whole exercise is a big joke! And, then, laugh!

I realized that I was probably the only one out of 20,000 runners that noted that the official elevation maps were wrong – showing the Bandra-Worli Sea-Link as a flat road (yeah, try convincing a runner of that!). My guess is that most runners don’t really care about details like I do – so no one really complains. The culture of jholjugaad, and chalta-hai.

I took over 210 trips on Mumbai’s local trains between the race last year, and this year. I daresay I am proud of the reliability of that service! And I paid the equivalent of only 4 race entry fees for mostly First Class (compartment) travel for those 210 trips! I don’t need that PhD in Finance to tell me that this smells of a clear case of a mismatch between price and value! Three Cheers for The Indian Railways!

So, What Next?
Presenting this table each year seems to not affect the outcome in the next year. But, it is still worth my doing so for the running community. On the bright side, do look out for more interesting articles from me, based on things that are more important in life than running on a road for hours.

Wait for the messenger!


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.


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