Monday, 14 November 2011

Three cheers for Shiv

Running a marathon is usually a huge superhuman effort; Right ? Well, lots of people run marathons every year, but for the non professionals, it is usually a major milestone. They train very hard for it, suffer through the race, but ultimately make it.  It's an achievement to be very proud of.

What then do you say of the ultra marathoners ?? The marathon, as you may know is 42 kms and a bit. Anything more than this is an ultra marathon. What can you say about the guys and gals who run 50km, 75km and , yes, 100 km ?? They are not professionals. They are ordinary guys and gals like you and me. They hold a day job and run only for pleasure. Men, women of all ages.  This isn't for money - there is no money. This isn't for fame - did any of you hear about the Bangalore Ultra before this post ? This is simply for achievement.

This post is a tribute to my good friend, and long ago classmate, Shiv, who ran the 75km race in the Bangalore Ultra Marathon yesterday. Yes; seventy five kilometres. And finished in 11hrs plus.  He won the Seniors category in the 75km race. The Bangalore Ultra is run on a cross country trail - not on flat roads. The trail is full of stones, moon craters and the like. Even walking on it seemed a challenging task to me. These guys run an ultra marathon on it. I was there all day to cheer him and the other runners on and treated to an incredibly rewarding experience.

Shiv and the others set off at 5 AM in the morning, when it was still dark and he finished after 4 PM. He is 50+. He's always been a great sportsman, but this is something altogether on a different plane. To run 75 kms , a distance he has never done before.  Wow ! For sheer guts , courage and achievement, this must rank at the very top. Shiv - you are an absolute hero. Just the thought of 75kms is scary to me ! You run it as if it was just another day at the office. Super Wow !

Watching him and the others is a peep inside a fascinating world. Each runner is completely dedicated to running. They train like crazy. They bear much pain. They run for a sense of personal accomplishment. Its all about setting a personal goal - maybe distance, maybe timing - and achieving it.Winning is secondary. They cheer everybody. There is an enormous sense of comradeship. The guy who finishes 3 hours behind the winner is cheered as  lustily, with the winner usually taking the lead in cheering the loudest. Everybody helps everybody else. Everybody is a winner. They represent some of the best qualities of amateur sport.

Isn't this how life itself should be ?


  1. sandhya sriram14/11/11

    Wow if only the business world and life in general was as nice as this. Wouldnt we live in a better world. It is so nice of you to pick such a beautiful topic for your post. My congratulations to your friend. Indeed an amazing achievement

  2. Niraj Dhupia14/11/11

    A big appreciation for your friend Shiv and all other participants, an incredible achievement.

    Your last few lines sum it aptly:

    "Everybody helps everybody else. Everybody is a winner." Indeed, the life should be like this.

  3. Wow. Hats off to your friend Shiv!
    And so nice of you to write about his achievement!!

    Yes, these people are just driven by their personal goals. My b-i-l keeps running these marathons and for him the achievement is just improving his timing every time.No one really even cares where he ranked etc.

    He travelled all the way to Greece just to participate in the great Athens Marathon.
    And practices like as if there is no tomorrow.Thats real passion I guess.

    As you rightly said, if only life is treated also the same way...everybody would feel a winner.

  4. Bravo, well done and pass on my compliments to your friend. I'm doing my little bit to get fit - Have been on a zero carb, zero fat, all protein and fiber diet for the last 5 weeks and have shed 5Kgs. The target weight is still 4kg away (alas I now fail to qualify for the AllBlacks given that my weight is below the 80KG mark) Next goal is to get back to cycling (once upon a time I used to do the cross country 40km run in 2hours - that was 2 decades back,will get there by June 2012) Six pack, here I come. Such stories (like those of Shiv and another friend of mine who ran the 42K BLR marathon) are inspiration to mere mortals like me,.

  5. My congratulations to your friend and all others who participated. The thought of ultra marathon itself is scary. One need real strength both physical and mental. I started participating in SCB marathon here from 2009. First I ran for 10km, last year I did half marathon. This year I'm Planning again for half marathon:-)

  6. having been chased by every stray dog on every single narrow broad lanes and bylanes of blore..i might qualify for short distance life saving sprints..ulta marathon pathilam alatikarathay ila :) 50plus agela 11 hrs runnings!!!! supermana iruparo?

  7. @Sandhya - Hey thanks so much

    @Niraj - Thanks. Lovely to see you here again.

    @hema - Wow. Going to Greece to run the marathon is an altogether different plane. I must meet him and shake his hand in reverenece.

    @kiwi - God; the world of running better be on the alert. I know what exactly you can do when you put your mind to it. Bravo.

    @Kotla - Wow ! Super. I'll try and spot you in the photos. Great show.

    @Gils - You are a true marathon guy, albeit in another field. 500 posts and counting- you deserve a big salute.

  8. I just finished reading "Born to Run" and I'm just amazed at the ultra-runners....a different league of people altogether. I've also learnt so much about barefoot running, and I'm itching to try it out...will do it soon!

    Very proud of your friend! Inspiring! Kudos!

  9. Wow, running 75Kms in 11 hours is a BIG achievement, especially at that age...many congratulations to your friend and all really require a strong resolve. Every night I go to bed with a promise to get up early next morning and start running; I haven't been so far able to train my mind to do that, though I go for a walk often. Hope I'm able to train myself for at least a mini marathon by the time I turn 50;-)

  10. This is really awesome to note that a senior makes a mark by finishing 50KM stretch. Friend of mine from Chennai along with his friend too participated in this marathon and they all share a common interest, that is marathon. run for fun, run for cause is their motto and I am sure Shiv also belong to this category. My best wishes to Shiv & friends on this achievement.

  11. @Shachi - Welcome to this space and thanks for leaving a comment. Being a sportsperson yourself, we share the fascination with Born to Run - but seriously do you want to try barefoot running ??? A couple of guys did so in the ultra on Sunday - just looking at them made my heart churn !!

    @Tarun - Hey; you are too young to even imagine 50. Hopefully you would have done 50 marathons by then !!

    @Connecter - MIght have seen your friend - there was a good sized Chenai contingent. Two chennaites won their categories - Sundar in the 75km men and Ridhima in the 50km women.

  12. Lovely tribute. Hats off to Shiv and hundreds like him. Delhi half marathon is happening next weekend and I regretfully missed out the opportunity to enrol myself. Did you run too?? I am sure you would be awesome in it too!

  13. Hats off to your friend Shiv.
    Your summing up is beautiful

  14. There is a news article about Sundar in Deccan Chronicle after the Ultra Marathon run. WOuld like to share the link:

  15. @Connecter - Oh thanks so much for the link. Interesting profile. The guy ran superbly but I didn;t know he shaved a full hour from his last year timing. That is unbelievable.

  16. Sorry for the late comment, but my uncle is in his late 50s and runs for a city marathon every year. And I have to tell u what's really commendable is that he started running pretty late in life. So every one who thinks your body starts giving up after 50, I look at him and give no second thought to those ideas. Many congratulations to your friend, he will be such an inspiration to so many.

  17. @Vishal - Ah ! you a runner too. Very nice. No I didn't run - I am not a runner; only a player of sports.

    @Deepa - Many seem to be like your unlce. They take running to late in life and get completely addicted.

  18. "The guy who finishes 3 hours behind the winner is cheered as lustily, with the winner usually taking the lead in cheering the loudest. Everybody helps everybody else. Everybody is a winner. They represent some of the best qualities of amateur sport."

    A beautiful and inspiring read Ramesh, thanks for sharing this with us.

  19. @Reflections - Many thanks N for reading every one of my posts. I am touched.

  20. Inspiring...congrats to your friend...there are a lot of marathons happening in chicago every year supporting fight against aids, cancer etc., truly commendable...

  21. @Rads - Thank you. The many thousands who run marathons fo charity are an admirable lot.


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