An ultrarunner is someone who knows he will go through pain in the process but either finds a solution or just runs through the pain. The second one makes more sense because the first one is an ideal one.

I used to be a short distance runner, I use to run 100 meters-200 meters in school and never knew about the concept of long distance running. It all started when one person came upto me (in the 1styear of my UG) and told me about Manipal Marathon, without much thinking I registered for the half marathon because that was the longest distance and people said it’s difficult to run. I won’t even bother to tell you that I made a stupid decision, but at that time I didn’t know this one stupid decision would teach me so many things in life. Well, I finished that race in 2hr 17mins with a lot of struggle.

A couple of months later the person who had told me about the event, added me to this WhatsApp group called Manipal Runners’ Club and helped me in improving my running in every possible way, he is indeed one of my favorite buddies in Manipal, his name is Abhishek Yadav. I’m always thankful to him to getting me into this world.

Now fast forward 6 months- I had done a couple of half marathons and one 30k. Things were pretty good, made some insane running friends, who were equally crazy or more than me in this sport. 2018 brought long distance running in my life and changed everything.

2019- The Failures

2019 Jan – Tata Mumbai marathon, Asia’s biggest marathon but I couldn’t be a part of it, because my application got rejected as I submitted the wrong certificate by mistake.

2019 August- I couldn’t take part in a 12 hour stadium run in Bangalore because of the floods which cancelled my trains and there were no buses.

2019 September- Inter MAHE cross country- The race which made me a consistent runner in 2018, but this time when I was in a really good position, I injured my ankle half way through and had to limp back to finish the race where I didn’t qualify for nationals.

I loved how all these 3 failures happened since it helped me analyse my running.

In June 2019, I did a small triathlon and I did a 10k in September. But I simply wanted something more challenging.

SRT ULTRA 53k

I registered for this as my friend Navaal (who did 110km recently at Malnad ) did this last year and told me it’s a different kind of experience, and after I registered he helped with the training too.

After 10hr 13mins I completed that race, which consisted of climbing up and down 3 mountain peaks one after the other, where around 170 members took part and only 70 members finished it and I ranked  30thamong those 70 members and was the youngest one to complete it!

I always wanted to do something for better mental health, because many people of our generation are going through hell given their mental health situation. It is sad how many people ignore the importance of the issue. Hopefully, this article helps some people improve their mental health.

Running makes my life easier- Let me just relate running and life to make this clear.

Running-  I had 3 failed races and I didn’t do a long  distance race for almost a year, but at the end of the year I did SRT Ultra which is considered as one of the toughest race in the 50k category in India

Life – When you are trying to get something, you will definitely fail many times, keep going because something big is coming up!

Running– I trained pretty well for the race. When I was done with only one mountain which was the easiest one compared to the other two mountains,  I started getting cramps at the base of the 2ndmountain, I stretched for a while and kept moving but after a while stretching didn’t help and the cramps became worst. Half way through the 3rdmountain things were brutal I couldn’t bend my leg to stretch for that cramps, had to hit the back of my knee to bend my legs. I had only one mind set throughout that last 28km (the time when my cramps started) I don’t know about 28k ( because the distance seems impossible)  but I said to myself that I would only think of the next step and after that the next one. That’s how I literally finished those last 28kms.

Life: You plan so many things in life, but they won’t go according to the plan and that’s okay, keep going and you will figure it out. You might have hundreds of problems in life but the only way to solve it is by solving it one at a time!

Running- I ran with my friends, Pranav and Yashas ( who ran the race with me almost throughout the race), kept on talking and motivating, but the last 20km was just me, some volunteers were encouraging but that didn’t help after a while, the only thing which kept going is me and only me.

Life : Whatever happens in life people can guide you and help you but at the end you have got to live your life, you have got to solve those problems by yourself, and trust me your mindset can be as sensitive as a paper or as strong as diamond, you just have to tell yourself what you are.

Running:  I have won a few races but in many of the other races there were many people who were better than me, but indeed I gave my best everytime and that was really satisfying.

Life : It’s okay if you can’t be the best among many people, but there is a problem when you are not your best version. You will get what you want eventually, just be the best version of yourself.

Run- I had to wait almost a year and 3 unsuccessful races to complete this race but it was worth it .

Life – you won’t get anything in one go, you go through failures, you have to wait for a long time, but it’s worth it .

Running – I train with my friends; Navaal (the one who leads us), Anushka (the moral support and the strong one), Atharva (the party person who runs),  Abhishek (the constant), Pranav (the flash), Likhith (the unpredictable one), Riya (the track runner, who runs long distances once in a while) and many others, who make training fun. The most common factor when it comes to running is that all of them are positive which will help in push your limits.

Life : Surround your self with positivity and positive people, and that’s what keeps you going.

Running – Whether I run 10k or 100k, whether I complete it or I don’t, I know  my family (my mom, dad, brother) are always going to be there and help me become a better runner.

Life – Whatever happens in life, family is always going to be there, they might disagree with your decisions but at the end they are always going to be with you, doesn’t matter whether you are the most unsuccessful person in the world.

Running : Many of my friends family don’t understand why I pay and run so much but they do appreciate me when I finish something.

Life : Some people don’t understand your decisions, that’s okay, go for it. If you feel you are doing right, at the end they will appreciate you!

This is the way I see life, this is the way my mind set is, running is the way I choose to make my life better. Not everyone is into running, but there is definitely one thing that will make you a positive person, the courage to face anything. For me it’s running, for you it may be cycling, swimming, singing, dancing, any other sports or anything, don’t leave it at any cost because I know it might not give you money to lead a life but that is definitely the way to lead the best life possible.


This article was written by Anish Aithal. 


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