October 2023: A Month of Running
In October 2023, every weekend was dedicated to running, with another half marathon on the horizon. My goal remained the same: to complete the race without injury and within the cutoff time.
This weekend held special significance for two reasons. It marked my first time participating in a running event outside Dhaka, and I also had the unique opportunity to camp the night before the run, thanks to the organizers.
Accommodation and Culinary Delights
To ensure I was well-rested and ready for the race, I arrived at the event venue in the evening, avoiding a nighttime journey. The atmosphere at the venue was electric, with people from all over the country coming together. I quickly pitched my tent, and the aroma of in-house cooking filled the air. Instead of serving pre-packaged meals, the organizers treated us to delicious home-cooked food. Over dinner, we shared stories and experiences from our previous running, swimming, and cycling adventures. At 9 PM, I retired to my tent, and I woke up at 4 AM, fully refreshed and ready for the day. I packed my tent and prepared for the race.
During this time, I also had the pleasure of meeting up with friends and colleagues who had chosen to travel to the event in a reserved microbus during the night.
The Race Experience
The race began at approximately 5:30 AM. In my previous half marathon, I had run solo for the first half and joined a group called the “Saidpur Runners” for the rest of the race. This time, I spotted them from the start. For the initial 500 meters, I took a slow walk and found myself at the back of the pack in the 21KM category.
But soon, I began following my well-thought-out 20-minute duration plan. After just 5 minutes, I caught up with the “Saidpur Runners” club and ran alongside them for about 8–9 kilometers. Our paces were quite similar, and I felt comfortable maintaining their rhythm. As we hit the 10KM mark, the sun began to rise, bringing with it the heat of the day.
However, I remained focused on my plan and refused to let the heat deter me. In the last 5KM of the race, I pushed myself to the limit and completed the distance in 2 hours and 40 minutes (unofficial timing).
Usually, when I venture beyond Dhaka for running events, I get to explore tribal areas. This time, I visited a small town called “Raipura” after a long time.
From Dhaka, you can easily reach Raipura by bus and train. I chose the Labiba bus service, and it’s interesting to note that they have a fleet of Hino 1J buses. I was fortunate to ride the 1J bus both while going and returning. The staff on the bus were courteous and helpful. The easiest route is from Dhaka to Baroicha, and from Baroicha, it’s just an 8KM journey to Raipura. CNGs are readily available for this short distance.
The people in Raipura were incredibly welcoming. The volunteers who assisted us throughout the event were exceptionally helpful, ensuring a memorable experience. I would like to give a special shoutout to the organizers for their outstanding accommodation, delicious food, well-planned schedule, and the dedication of their volunteers.
To recapitulate, the weekend was a great experience, and I was thrilled to complete the 21KM run. I’m eagerly looking forward to the next half marathon, which will take place next week in Kaptai, Rangamati.