Couple of years back when I registered for my first half marathon I thought that was the longest distance I would ever run. But like everything else in life you always want to look ahead and achieve the next bigger thing. That’s what made me attempt my first Full Marathon (42.2Km). But never in my wildest dreams had I ever contemplated on running an Ultra marathon (distances greater than 42.2Km).
Couple of weeks back when I came to know that I was not going to Athens to run the ‘Athens Marathon’, one of my friends suggested me to participate in this Bangalore Ultra event. It so happened that it was the last day for registration and the adrenaline push that came by looking at the distance made me go ahead and register for it (despite the high Rs1700 registration fee!). I had not even prepared for a Marathon let alone an Ultra Marathon. But it didn’t matter because I hardly knew what it would take to run Ultra distances! People supposedly train 3 to 6 months for Ultras. But I didn’t worry too much as my plan was pretty simple - the idea was to keep running.
The event was held this Sunday - 14th November, and the start time for 75km/100km was 5AM. One of the best things that happened was my friend Karthik volunteered to accompany me for the event. I couldn’t have asked for better moral support. As the race drew longer his presence throughout those 11 excruciating hours was a major motivating factor and at the end of it he even ran the last lap with me. He was the support system, chauffer and photographer all rolled into one. Just goes to show the importance of having proper support system to achieve success, especially when you are trying something out of ordinary.
We got up at 3AM, got ready and were off to Hesserghatta (location of the resort where the marathon was held). After some difficulty in finding the resort we managed to reach the venue at 4.55. So I had to literally sprint to the start line. Sharp 5AM the event started and I was off without having an iota of idea till when I would run. I knew I could finish 42km without much fuss but I took special care not to run fast. Conserving energy and maintaining the body so that there are no cramps was the key to sustain oneself for those long arduous hours.
Each lap was about 12.5km around the resort that was mainly grasslands with hardly any tree cover. The trail was muddy and had multiple slopes. The route would have been excellent to cover had it not been for the fact that I was running and the sun was blazing. My timings for each lap gradually reduced from 1.25 hours the first lap to about two hours by the time I finished the last lap.
The middle laps were the most painful as it was in the afternoon with the sun at its peak, and your mind playing games with you and asking you all sorts of questions. Your legs stop obeying you, the pain becomes unbearable and the communication between the brain and the leg becomes non-existent. You decide to run for 120 seconds before the next break (read walking), but by the time the countdown reaches 90 you would be already walking. After another couple of laps you will reach a stage where even though the brain decides that its time to run the rest of the body would be on strike and would fail to just takeoff. Overcoming these things is what makes a true marathon runner and what gives you true happiness at the end of it.
The 6 laps of 12.5Km each totaling to 75Km took me about 10Hours 57Minutes at a rate of approximately 7Kmph.
Running the distance of my life and tasting success while doing so makes this experience truly overwhelming, the pain worthwhile, and my determination, will power and persevering abilities stronger. An experience of a lifetime compressed in those 11 hours.
PS: Rest of the photos can be found here… Photos courtesy Karthik.
Update: My official timings is as below..Ranked 6th with an over all timings of 10 hours, 54 minutes...
Bib Name Gender Category Rank Category-Rank Net-Time
7001 Dilip Adiga G V Male Open 6 5 10:54:08:85