We had our own little Olympic experience this past weekend.
We went and ran in the Urban Stampede. It was a 4x5km relay race, for a total of 20km per team. It was a very interesting experience. It was a corporate relay race. All of the teams were fielded by companies in Bangalore; mostly IT firms and Banks. There were 78 teams present from 38 companies. Daniela and I were part of one of the two teams fielded by our company. Both were mixed teams in all respects. Of the 8 teammates, three were female and four were foreigners (American or German).
I was curious to see what an organized race would be like in India. In the west, there is a pretty standard “race” culture and it does not seem to matter what country the race is being held in, or whether it is a run only or a triathlon. We were expecting an organizational train wreck and were not expecting the race to get started until at least an hour after the scheduled start time. In fact it went off on time. In fact, it was just like running a race in the west, complete with the dance music at the start/finish line and the hyping up of the runners beforehand, etc. Both of SAP’s teams ran “middle of the pack”, but everyone had a good time.
The run route itself was a beautiful stretch, through farmland with a nice view of Nandi Hills shrouded in angry monsoon clouds. There was also somewhat of a collision of two Indias. Many farmers and laborers stopped working to watch the race. I wondered what these people were thinking. Here were all of these “techies” (the local term for anyone involved in technology companies) – people with astronomical incomes compared to laborers and who sit in comfortable, air conditioned offices – spending their Sunday morning running around and sweating profusely. Did they find it interesting? Absurd? Inquiring minds want to know!
An online gossip rag called MidDay has a video of the event.