Rice over pasta elite athletes

Jan 19, 2014, 02:29 IST | Ashwin Ferro

Diaries from the Mumbai Marathon 

Rice over pasta for elite runners
Rice is normally considered a no-no for weight-watchers. However, it was interesting to see the supremely-fit elite African athletes yesterday fill their plates with rice for lunch ahead of today’s Mumbai Marathon. The Saturday before a Marathon is known for its pasta party since the dish is rich in carbohydrates which is a necessity for distance runners. However, few know that most elite runners prefer rice over pasta. “Rice is a very common diet among most of us because it has a lot of carbs (carbohydrates). Pasta also has carbs but we don’t get pasta anywhere and everywhere. Rice is more easily accessible,” Kenyan elite runner Patrick Korir told SUNDAY MiD DAY even as he preferred to have a rice-rich lunch at the athletes lounge rather than the pasta party.

Through MiD DAY’s timely intervention, tea vendor Ashok Patil’s wish to run the half-marathon was fulfilled. He is seen collecting his bib. Pic/Atul Kamble

No one can escape Head TC Lalita
India’s elite women’s runner Lalita Babbar, who is eyeing her hat-trick at the Mumbai Marathon today, is a Head Ticket Collector with Central Railway. Though her distance running commitments hardly leave her any time for duty, she says that she enjoys work whenever she is on field. So, is it tough for ticketless travellers to get away from this distance running queen? “It’s not just tough, it’s impossible to get away from me,” she boasts. “I don’t normally get posted, but whenever I do, it’s quite an interesting experience. Not a single ticketless traveler has been able to run away from me,” she told SUNDAY MiD DAY. For the information of ticketless travellers, Lalita is stationed occasionally at Central Railway’s head office at Ghatkopar station. 

Elite athletes turn water-savers
Their athletic prowess notwithstanding, all African athletes hail from very humble backgrounds. It’s no wonder then that most of them were seen yesterday taking heaps of free mineral water bottles from the athletes lounge back to their individual hotel rooms. “Mineral water in five-star hotel rooms are not complimentary, after all. And these athletes look to save every penny of what they earn,” informed one official accompanying the runners. 

Markers’ positions need to be precise
Even the slightest of errors across a marathon course can affect the overall course record, and that’s what has happened in the Mumbai Marathon over the years. Elite athletes co-ordinator Jos Hermens explains: “This is only my second association with the Mumbai Marathon, but one major issue I noticed last year was that the km markers were not placed correctly. Markers are placed at every km across the 42km full marathon course. However, at many places, the markers are kept 20-30m ahead or behind the correct spot, and this makes it difficult for the athletes and their coaches to pace the race accordingly. And this in turn affects the overall timing of the race. This time though we have tried to place the markers as accurately as possible. So, hopefully we’ll have a good course record this year.” 

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