Half-Marathon more runner friendly

Organisers of the Delhi Half Marathon promised participants a much easier run as the course for the seventh edition of the 21 km event on Sunday has been altered and will start and finish from the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium instead of Vinay Marg like last year. The course is very smooth," Hugh Jones, the race director said in a media interaction.

"This year the course will not be that physically demanding like previous years. The roads are wider, smooth and most turns are through slip roads which make it very gentle. In addition the weather will be pleasant and the routes are all tree lined. It shouldn't be very physically demanding," Jones, who is also a former British long distance runner informes.

Athletes will have to thank the much maligned Commonwealth Games for the development. While the road race doesn't make direct use of Games facilities, what has made the difference has been the massive road reconstruction in New Delhi carried out in the run-up to the last year's event.

However, while the gradient of the course is essentially neutral, avoiding last season's flyover on Sri Aurobindo Marg alongside Safdarjung Airport, Jones says there are parts that could provide a bit of a challenge. "The section of the race along Mathura road both rises and falls and should provide some interest. This section of the course will be encountered around the fifth kilometer and then on the return stretch at around the 19th kilometer," he said.

Australian marathon director, Dave Cundy, who is also the event's technical director said he won't be surprised to see record timings on Sunday. "This is one of the best courses around the world. If everything goes well and the weather is fine on Sunday, we might get a good showing," he said. According to Cundy, the new course layout was neccessary to increase public involvement. "While there are going to be a elite athletes at the marathon, there are also a number of people who are getting their first experience of the event. We have a participant who is 12 and another who is 90. Making the course more runner friendly was an essential part of the course design. The easier layout will encourage people to keep running," he said.

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