I ran in Vijayawada on Sunday, Sept 22nd. I started at around 5.50 AM and finished a 10K around an hour and 12 minutes later. This wasn’t bad considering the timings of my previous recent, post-athai runs.
I had planned the run around sunrise, which was to be at 5.45 AM. I was staying at the Quality Inn D V Manor and had checked the map in advance, which showed the hotel to be just a km or so away from the Krishna river. On the way in from the airport, I asked the intern who had come to pick me up and was a native of Vijayawada for the last 23 years that he had been alive about a road or waterfront along the river. He told me sheepishly that he had never ventured towards the river. I felt from looking at the map that this was like a person in Matunga never having ventured towards Shivaji Park.
I didn’t know what to expect and since no one else could help me, I stepped out of the hotel on my own, with Google Maps guiding me. I ran on MG road for some time before going towards the river, crossing a canal that runs parallel to the river for a few km. The canal funnily was a better water-body front paralleling the highway than the river itself.
I ran to the river front and realized there was nothing. Virtually the entire river front is dotted by small huts, cow-sheds, and chicken-coops and is dirty and ill-maintained.
I finally found a road paralleling the river that seemed to point towards a mountain and a temple on top of the mountain overlooking the river. I ran towards the base of the mountain, and then turned back having finished 5K. The Ayappa Swamy temple is on the top of this mountain. I then ran on the highway, found another bridge over the canal and then looped back to the hotel to finish a 10K.
Vijayawada is a town that is not used to road-running. All through the run, whether on MG Road or on Chintala Road along the river, people kept staring. I could make out they were just not used to people running on the roads, a feeling I had gotten in Lucknow as well a year or so back.
Hopefully, some day, Vijayawada will get a running culture like Hyderabad.