Geoffrey Kirui, with Mr. Tola, World Champs, photo by PhotoRun.net
DELHI (IND): Geoffrey Kirui and Almaz Ayana dismissed concerns over air pollution in the Indian capital as they prepare for the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon. Calls had been made to cancel this Sunday’s race. “I am feeling all right. Everybody is going to run and I am also going to run. I am not concerned about this (pollution),” said Ayana at the pre-event press conference, quoted by Times of India. Kirui said: “”I have come here for the race, that means I am not going to be bothered by the talks of pollution in Delhi. I ran here last year also and there is this talk of pollution. I am all right, not thinking about this pollution. I am now focussed on Sunday’s race.”
RunBlogRun opines: Well, I am sure no doctor, but the level of particulates in the air in New Delhi, per the Indian Medical Association last week, was 451. That is one point above the level of particulates in air in San Francisco, California one of the weekends of the big fires in Santa Rosa and Napa. At that time, US doctors told people not to exercise, to stay inside and if you had any breathing issues, stay inside.
Almaz Ayana and Geoffrey Kirui are adults. They are also being paid a ton of money to run in India. What’s a lung infection among friends? I sure hope Almaz and Geoffrey aren’t hacking hairballs for the next few weeks. Or, large particulates.
This kind of thing reminds me a bit of the Marlowe character in Josef Conrad’s novella, Heart of Darkness. A bit of a diversion, Conrad’s fifth of seven languages was English, yet his English prose is mesmerizing. You actually sweat (well, almost) as he describes the conditions for travel and transport. It is one thing to read about rank conditions, it is another to run in them. And then, if you can not breathe for much of the half marathon, well, even if you are world class, that has to be an unique day.
For those not used to the conditions, this race will be stressful, or humid and humid. Add pollution, and you are just making this a nightmere. The managers should be there to protect the athletes. Loosing a lung, or hacking up half of one for a month is a pretty sad price to pay for racing for a big purse in a venue where more floats in the air than birds.