Registrations for the race billed as the world's richest and most prestigious half marathon, the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon will kick off in the capital city of India on August 20. The USD 210,000 IAAF Gold Label race, scheduled to be run on November 1, 2009, is expected to attract the cream of the world's long distance running talent.

Promoted by Procam International, the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon route passes some of the world renowned landmarks of New Delhi. Now in its fifth year, the event has seen a steady progression in the number of participants and the winning times of the elite athletes, as well their Indian counterparts. Special efforts have been undertaken to raise the profile of the race in the international long distance racing community and the IAAF Gold Label has vindicated these efforts.

In the first year the event attracted 4000 entries for the half marathon. That number increased to around 8000 in the second year. Ten thousand running places were on offer in the third and fourth years for the half marathon and the figure is expected to be oversubscribed this year.

The male and female winners of the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon stand to gain USD 25,000 each, with prize money scaling down to the first ten places, while the male and female Indian winners stand to gain USD 4,000 each, this separate prize fund also extending to the first ten places.

Last year's race saw an Ethiopian clean sweep with Deriba Merga winning the men's race in a super fast time of 59.15, equalling Haille Gebreselassie's world leading time of 2008, while Aselefech Mergia won a close women's race in 1:08.17, both the winners getting the better of their Kenyan and Ethiopian rivals, Wilson Kipsang and Genet Getanah respectively, just a second separating their times. Such was the pace of the event that the first four men broke the existing course record of 1:00.43 in the name of Dieudonne Disi, while the first eight women were faster than Deribe Alemu's course record of 1:10:30.

Next event date:
2009: 1 November

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Did you know ...

that running in the heat can be life threatening whereas running in the cold can cause body heat loss and discomfort only?

Some runners have likened running in the heat to running an entire race up a hill and if you haven't trained to cope with the conditions, the consequences can be disastrous. The heat should be considered an extra burden and dealt with accordingly. It becomes a particular problem when running in temperatures over 80F (26C) and a humidity exceeding 50%.

Two of the main problems are loss of fluids and loss of electrolytes (commonly known as sodium, potassium, chloride and bicarbonate and are required for the normal function of cells and organs within the body).

There are some common sense solutions to running in the heat:

  • Increase fluids to 6-8 oz (175 - 275 ml) water every 20 minutes.
  • To prevent loss of electrolytes eat bananas and citrus fruit.
  • Wear white loose fitting clothing to deflect the sun and to allow air to circulate around your body.
  • Wear very thin socks or trainers that are half a size bigger as feet tend to swell in the heat.
  • Wear a light coloured cap to deflect the sun and keep it damp with cool water.
  • Slow down the pace and decrease the duration of your training session.
  • Train early in the morning and late in the evening to avoid the hottest time of day.
  • Most importantly, if you're training to run in a race in a hot country, make sure you have accounted for the conditions and that your body is used to them before the race.

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