A look at numbers from India’s biggest marathons

Two big marathon or half marathon events happened yesterday, which gave me an opportunity to look back and figure out which are overall the biggest events in India (chip timed finishers only), which include half marathon or a marathon run. The results did surprise me.

  • #SCMM was a no-brainer, topping half and full marathon counts.
  • #TWCM was a surprise, being the #2 in this list and leading the 10k numbers.
  • Two of the events here are running community organized events. Chennai (#TWCM) and Hyderabad (#AHM). Kudos!
  • #ADHM was another surprise, I would have thought it had the 2nd biggest timed participants. Apparently not.#AHM say they are the 2nd largest marathon in India. I will give them the benefit of doubt. My list below says it’s #SPBM, by a margin of 1!

Re-emphasizing again, I have not considered data for 10k only runs in India, some of which are really big, and will make it into this list, but they don’t have a HM or M event.

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Random Musings – Hidden Talents?

So today my society tower guard finally lost his patience and asked me how much I run daily. “10km?”, he asked. That put me under immediate pressure, realizing that the 10k’s are not really regular training distance for me, and even less frequent these days.

He pressed on, “kitne time mein karte ho 10km?”. I replied, “50 mins”, and then immediately got worried that he might take me as a very slow runner, and quickly corrected it to “48 mein ho jata hai”, going into my race day timings. Then I thought again, hell with it, and said “46 mins mera best time hai”, conveniently forgetting the extra seconds I took for this distance at ADHM16.

Then I grabbed my chance to grill him back. “Tum daudte ho? Kitna karte ho?”. “1600” was his reply. Damn man, this guy seems to know his stuff! “Distance kaise pata 1600 hai?”, trying to catch him off guard. “Gaadi sey naapa hai”, he was not giving me a chance yet. So, I threw my final dice, “kitna time nikalte ho 1600 ka”. “5 mins”, he says nonchalantly. Damn, this guy is either damn fast, or maybe he does not know his stuff yet, throwing some random numbers at me. I tell him my mile time, “6:30 mins”, almost apologetically.

“Mere saath daudoge?”, I pester. He has got me interested, and I would really like to get this riddle solved sooner than later. “Society ke 2 round 1600 honge”. “Yahan nahi daud sakte saab”, I understand his predicament, running within the society, being a guard here, may be a concern for his superiors and something which he thinks is not realistic.

Never mind, I need to get this fellow to run and so asked him for running outside somewhere, and if he is really as good as he says, would probably take him to run at some of the local events that I do. He didn’t seem too excited about the idea, but I won’t blame him. These runs are more to satisfy our hunger of doing something better than nothing physically, and may not mean much for him. In a few days, I will have my answers hopefully.

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I ran 21.1 km. Did I run a half marathon?

Recently, I posted this question on Facebook to see what others think of this “sensitive” topic. Specially those who are into the habit of running the distance and then proudly announcing the same on various social media forums. Interestingly, and quite unexpectedly, I got a real mix of responses, both for and against.

My view on this is very straightforward, or so I would like to believe. A lot of people say it depends on the situation, or the effort, etc, etc, basically, that the answer is not cast in stone. That I totally cannot believe, it has to be either a yes or no. I simply believe that if you run an organized half marathon race, an event, then you ran a half marathon. Otherwise, what you have really run is just 21.1 km, or to put it in other words, you ran the “half marathon distance”.

To check my views against an established audience of runners (not that my running circle on Facebook is considered any less established), I posted this on letsrun.com running board, the largest and most popular running forum in the world. Folks on letsrun.com had a more one-sided view of this, almost everyone suggesting that just self managed training runs do not count as half marathons.

Posting on letsrun.com has some side benefits. You always see some snarky and some really funny answers, the audience certainly has a great sense of humor. So, for your extended reading pleasure, I am taking the liberty to pick out some gems for you and posting them here. Enjoy 🙂

  • Yes, this counts as a legit half-marathon, and as such comes with responsibilities. You now must display a 13.1 oval decal on the back of your car.
  • After work, I ride my bike home, then run it into the garage and immediately hop into a shower. Does that count as a tri, or am I tri-ing too hard?
  • It’s the year 2061. You sneak into the pharmacy area of your old folks home and pop a few dozen viagra. You wheel the first blue haired lady you can find in to your room and do the deed. Turns out it was 91 year old Cindy Crawford. Did you just nail a supermodel? No. No you did not.
  • I have run 1 half marathon and 2 full marathons. I am going to start telling people that I have run 5 half marathons.
  • No, you didn’t. A half marathon is exactly 21097 meters in miles this is: 13.109068 miles. So if you stopped at exactly 13.1 miles, and we assume your method of measurement is accurate, then no…..no you didn’t run a half-marathon. aint it a-shame, to be shot down in flames!
  • and finally, a more logical one: Running “A half marathon” is running in an organized event, on a certified course, with official timers and other runners on the course at the same time, and you get an official place.
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State of GPS Running Watches in India

What brands of watches do runners wear when running half marathons and marathons in India? Are phones still popular despite the inconvenience of carrying them around while running? What brands lead the way in some of the biggest events in India?

I have been thinking of doing this for a long time, and finally, I was able to do the data lifting required to get the runner’s data available publicly from Strava, and get a sense of what devices do runners use when running marathons. So, with that out of the way, lets get down to business, shall we.

ADHM 2016 Runners Data: Summary

656 runners were identified as using some sort of GPS device on them. For reference the number of finishers at ADHM was 7732, so we have data for 8.5 percent of the finishers. To clarify, 656 does not represent the actual number of runners who had GPS on them while running, but is likely a big subset of that data. Would I be able to get more accurate numbers of actual usage? Yes, it just needs more time investment and data digging. But when I started on this article, I was more interested in the breakup of these numbers, how phones vs watches stack up, and the relative share of the brand presence. Maybe some day, I will dive deeper.

So, how did things finally stack up? Truth be told, I was a bit surprised by the high use of mobile phones, both Android and iPhones. Almost half (46 percent) of the users with GPS on them used their mobile phones for the purpose. Garmin continues to lead in the overall GPS watch market with 33.1 percent, given their presence for a long time in the country. But the recent entrant, TomTom, have built up a sizable presence with 15.9 percent, in a relatively short time. What’s more interesting is that other players in the market like Fitbit, Suunto and Polar are hardly a factor with very limited presence.

DeviceRunnersPercentage
Phone App30346.2
Garmin21733.1
TomTom10415.9
Fitbit111.7
Suunto121.8
Polar10.2
Other81.2
Total656100

ADHM 2016 Runners Data: Detailed

Detailed data provides more interesting stats. One is the high percentage of iPhone users, compared to Android users in spite of iPhones just having 2% of the India phone market. Runners seem to have a higher percentage of iPhones compared to the overall iPhone users market share, and they are not afraid to use them on their runs!

The other interesting data is the TomTom watch being the single most popular watch model in the Indian market, by a big margin. Truth be told, they do have two models in the market, TomTom Runner and TomTom Spark, but Strava reports them as one. Even if that would not have been the case, TomTom would be the leader here.

DeviceCountPercentage
Strava Android App16725.5
Strava iPhone App13620.7
TomTom GPS Sport Watch10415.9
Garmin fenix 3426.4
Garmin Forerunner 220314.7
Garmin Forerunner 235253.8
Garmin Forerunner 620203.0
Garmin Forerunner 310XT182.7
Garmin Forerunner 920XT172.6
Suunto121.8
Fitbit Surge111.7
Garmin Forerunner 15111.7
Garmin Vívoactive111.7
Garmin Forerunner 22591.4
GPX81.2
Garmin Forerunner 73560.9
Garmin Vívoactive HR50.8
Garmin Forerunner 1040.6
Garmin Forerunner 23040.6
Garmin Forerunner 910XT40.6
Garmin Forerunner 40530.5
Garmin Forerunner 2520.3
Garmin Forerunner 41020.3
Garmin epix10.2
Garmin fenix 210.2
Garmin Forerunner 61010.2
Polar M40010.2
Total656100

SCMM 2017 Runners Data: Summary

We have a higher numbers captured here compared to ADHM, 928 runners. I focussed on getting the data for full marathon runners, but I am sure what I actually got was a mix, half and full marathon runners included. SCMM had 4680 marathon and 11991 half marathon finishers, so we are looking at data for 5.5 percent of finishers, compared to 8.5 percent I got for ADHM. This probably means I missed capturing more half marathon runners data.

The one surprising figure here compared to ADHM is that mobile phone usage at SCMM was lower by a massive 10%, from 46.2 to 36 percent. This means that the Mumbai audience is probably more exposed/aware about the GPS running watches, which would not be surprising to those who follow the two markets, and have seen the efforts of the brands in these markets. This 10% drop in the mobile phone usage is complemented by a 12% higher share for Garmin, who command 45.3% in Mumbai, a reflection of having a stronger vendor presence over a longer period of time.

DeviceRunnersPercentage
Phone App33436.0
Garmin42045.3
TomTom12413.4
Fitbit151.6
Suunto181.9
Polar20.2
Other151.6
Total928100

SCMM 2017 Runners Data: Detailed

One aspect which surprises looking at the detailed stats is how some of the highest priced model lead the charts, TomTom being the exception and the leader. For example, Garmin Fenix 3, and Garmin Forerunner 235 lead among Garmin watches, in spite being two of the costliest watches in the Garmin stable.

What’s perhaps more surprising is that the Garmin entry level variants, the Garmin Forerunner 10 and 15 hardly have any significant presence. For a marathon, this is likely because a typical marathon runner would perhaps avoid at least a Forerunner 10 as it would be difficult to make it through a marathon with the watch still running, due to the lower battery capacity. But, for a half marathon I was expecting these numbers to be much higher, but surprisingly are not. Which probably means that novice runners or runners happy with a decent basic functional capability set, and those looking at value for money options are sticking to the king of VFW, the TomTom Runner and Spark.

DeviceRunnersPercentage
Strava Android App20321.9
Strava iPhone App13114.1
TomTom GPS Sport Watch12413.4
Garmin fenix 3616.6
Garmin Forerunner 235606.5
Garmin Forerunner 920XT454.8
Garmin Forerunner 220404.3
Garmin Forerunner 310XT313.3
Garmin Forerunner 225293.1
Garmin Vívoactive212.3
Garmin fenix 2181.9
Garmin Vívoactive HR181.9
Suunto181.9
Fitbit Surge151.6
Garmin Forerunner 620151.6
Garmin Forerunner 15141.5
Garmin Forerunner 910XT141.5
GPX141.5
Garmin Forerunner 230131.4
Garmin Forerunner 735121.3
Garmin Forerunner 1050.5
Garmin Forerunner 2550.5
Garmin Forerunner 63040.4
Garmin fenix30.3
Garmin Forerunner 40530.3
Garmin Forerunner 61030.3
Garmin epix20.2
Garmin Forerunner 21020.2
Polar V80020.2
Garmin Forerunner 3510.1
Garmin Forerunner 41010.1
GPX File10.1
Total928

So, that was a quick gist of what I found looking at the data. Did you notice anything interesting which I may have missed, do share in comments below.

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Rio Winner Eliud Kipchoge To Run ADHM 2016

 

kipchoge

This has got to be the biggest news ever at Airtel Delhi Half Marathon.

ADHM gets the biggest name in distance running for 2016 edition!!! Eliud Kipchoge won the marathon at Rio Olympics and is the third fastest marathoner ever (2:03:05), behind Dennis Kimetto (2:02:57) and Kenenisa Bekele (2:03:03).
* Winner of World Marathon Majors (WMM) series title last season
* Leads this season’s WMM over Bekele
* Has an average marathon finish time of 2:04:22
* Has won 7 out of 8 marathons he has run till now

He is already being labeled as the “Greatest Marathoner of All Time”, and possibly a candidate to break the world record at the next Berlin Marathon. Well, ADHM is a half and Kipchoge doesn’t have strong half credentials yet, so we’ll see how this one goes.

Can’t wait to see the man himself.

Kipchoge says he still wants to break the marathon world record but won’t put a timeline on an attempt. He currently holds the second-fastest time in history, a 2:03:05 he set in April at the London Marathon. He has also won the Chicago and Berlin marathons.

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