Race Report: Kolkata Women’s Day 10K


On Sunday, while most Harriers were at Paddock Wood, I took part in the Women’s Day 10K in Kalkota. Entering it from the UK had been difficult, due to a payment system that wouldn’t accept credit cards or PayPal, but kind neighbours paid for it on their Indian card so I was in.

Unlike our races, where everything is set out in great detail in countless emails, I didn’t hear another thing until the Thursday before the race……just trivial things like how to pick up race number and where and when the race would actually take place! The latter was 40 minutes away from our hotel, starting at 06:15. My husband Mark (who kindly offered to come with me) was delighted by the 05:00 departure time (not).

The usual mad traffic hadn’t started so we arrived quite early and had plenty of time to soak up the atmosphere and get bitten by the early morning insects.

The race route wasn’t very inspiring, being twice an out and back on a closed road, and it was very hot and muggy making it hard going. There were few spectators and the marshals just looked puzzled when I suggested they could do some cheering…… but the runners were very enthusiastic and I got a lot of attention and encouragement. My time was slow (around 6 minutes slower than my last 10K!) but I was in the top six female finishers (according to Mark’s counting….no results on line yet!). Being the only westerners at the event we were asked for lots of selfies and everyone wanted to talk to us…..made us feel like celebrities! I was even invited to join the event ambassadors on the stage to say a few words. Fortunately for me all the proceedings took place in English. I just said that it was lovely to see all the enthusiasm and enjoyment of the ladies taking part and expressed the hope that such events will grow year on year.

It was a brilliant experience and I was so glad that I’d made the effort to take part.

The ladies pictured below ran the 5K like this; they didn’t look anything like as hot and sweaty as me so maybe I should try it next time!