Thursday, June 16, 2016

For Steadmans! - The Qutub 16 Miler

This run is dedicated to the Steadman family. Thanks for helping to build a base that will eventually provide a campship to a needy camper at YMCA Camp Miller in memory of Ty Taylor. Anyone else can get a dedicated run by donating here -

We had a three day weekend the last weekend of April and I was all set to run the Qutub Sixteen Miler on Friday with the faithful crew. However, the 5am wakeup call was accompanied by a round robin of cancellations. The AQI had taken a strange upsurge for April and nobody (including me) wanted to run in the terrible air.

Dejected and disappointed, I went back to bed. I moped around all day, cursing the various reasons why Delhi has the worst air in the world. The next morning, I woke up, checked the air and saw that it hadn't improved. Determined to boost my bad mood, I pulled my mask out of storage and set out on my own to conquer this long training run.

The Qutub route is a fun one. It heads out of Chanakyapuri, into Vasant Vihar and heads uphill (in Delhi!) to Sanjay Van. Sanjay Van is a continuation of the Delhi Ridge forest, and for better or worse, it has been carefully landscaped and manicured with wonderful running/walking trails. Sanjay Van is also the home of Qila Lal Kot, which is the historic "third city of Delhi." Over the course of the last 5000 years, it's said that Delhi and its boundaries have been the site of seven distinct and different cities.  Qila Lal Kot is now in ruins, but scrambling to the top of its rubble allows for amazing views of the forest and the surrounding city. It's also a cool place to watch planes coming in to Indira Ghandi International Airport.

Coming off the road in Sanjay Van is amazing. Everything is instantly quiet and relaxed. Almost idyllic. People are walking, running and playing in the park. There's a pond!

I ran in the park for a while, checking out the views and even a Sufi Tomb. They say Sanvay Van is haunted due to the high number of these tombs and its proximity to the Mehrauli ruins. 

The focal point of the Mehrauli ruins, the Qutub Minar was the destination for this run, so I eventually ran out of the park and posed for a selfie in front of the Qutub to send to Kate to let her know that I was okay. It was hot - almost 80 degrees and the air was bad.

After a photo shoot with the Qutub in the background, I headed home. It was a long tiring run, but it left me feeling very accomplished and glad that I had headed out despite the odds.

Distance: 15.65 miles
Duration: 2:03:44
Soundtrack: Shuffle of the songs on my phone

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