We wanted to share our runners’ and riders’ thoughts post each race and, collating them for a share of their own space seemed like a good idea. We will keep adding to this post as and when we find interesting snippets, funny stories and bashful admissions! So enjoy and follow the funny, sunny stories :)
November 8, 2013:
A young runner, Arunaabh Shah’s account of his first ultra experience, and how he fell in love with it: http://athleticliving.blogspot.in/2013/11/from-0-to-50-and-beyond.html. His idol and coach is no other than Arun Bharadwaj, the best and most experienced ultra runner in India, with Badwater. Awesome run and all the more awesome write-up, Arunaabh. Was great seeing you at Bhatti, a trail that lures and leaves everyone asking for more!
October 22, 2012:
Gaurav Madan’s account of Bhatti 100. He is a veteran of the race, having completed 100-miles in 2011 edition. http://enduranceindia.wordpress.com/2012/10/21/grbl2012/. Follow the link. You will not be disappointed for he is one of the youngest endurance runners in India, who has a finish to his credit, and struggles to meet each race with enthusiasm, preparation and learning from each success and failure.
October 16, 2012:
Here is the first one: A post by Aditya Bee post his Bhatti 100mile finish: https://www.facebook.com/notes/aditya-bee/there-is-no-p-in-bhatti-but-thats-the-way-i-spelt-it-this-year/10151068847806814.
Taking on the challenge of the GR Bhati Lakes 100 mile ultra was nothing short of insanity – I hadn’t run all year – no training and only one half marathon back in February as my ‘running’ account for the year and I was considering running… but when such stalwarts as Kavitha and Gaurav had reposed faith in me… I felt emboldened and bit on the bait and was taken hook, line and sinker for the trial and the trail. I could not ignore the call of the annual Ultra in my own backyard!
The Bhati Lakes Ultra is in it’s 3rd edition and a mix of an asphalt section that leads onto a hard trail that gently climbs and descends through the abandoned Bhati mines on the outskirts of Delhi near Faridabad’s Surajkund lake. The trail this year was a loop of 15.6 kms. with 4 kms. on a deteriorated asphalt section and the rest a rough and ready trail – the temperature goes above 40 Celsius during the day and the nights are lonely and dark with an assortment of wildlife to keep you company (there’s no tigers or predators though!).
I didn’t have much of a plan except to follow three Ps to avoid the 4th P… pace (a very slow one!), perseverance and patience (a huge quantity of the last) to avoid the fourth P, pain – last year saw me stop dead in my tracks at just 70 kms. With the most excruciating pain in BOTH knees and even though I did continue the next morning to total up a 110 kms. as a pacer for Gaurav and Aparna (i was very proud of their both finishing the 100 miles!).
This year, i had decided that i would err on the side of caution, hydrate well and take a slow pace and not get drawn into any ambitious stunts… and just keep moving and put one foot in front of the other in the most basic fashion possible and finish on my second attempt.
This year, as last I was joined by Gaurav and another runner – Pat D’Aoust who had stayed over at my house for the two nights before the run. We drove down to the start line at Kant Enclave rather early and were wandering about at 3.30 am; an hour and half before the planned start.
The 100 miler was being run this year by eight runners, Piyush Shah (the winner of the GR Himalayas 135 barely a month before), Vineet Agrawal, Shshank Pundir, Arvind Tripathi, Randeep Singh Arora and of course the three of us, Pat being the only ‘western’ runner in the fray.
We were duly weighed and our blood pressure taken by the Fortis hospital medical team and got ready to start the run at 5.15 am; we are also joined by Tanvir Kazmi and Lovekesh ‘Lovey’ Uppal who were the only runners in the 24 hour category, and the three 100 km. runners – Anil Kumar (who was aiming to set an Indian record), Ankush Mehndiratta and Jaspreet Rawel who were also sharing the start with us…
We all smiled for a group photo of us 13 ‘crazies’ before starting our long journeys ahead… and then Kavitha put us under her starters orders and before we had time to think and reconsider what we had let ourselves in for – we were OFF!
The start of such a long run is always difficult… to control your pace and fall into one that is sustainable and in line with your plan is always a challenge… and sure enough Anil Kumar shot off in quest of the Indian 100 km. record at what was quite a half marathon pace… and even though I was up at the front of our little ‘pack’ of runners down the asphalt section (which this year had deteriorated to being worse to run on then the trail!), I found Pat’s pace too fast and let him quickly pick up a lead and tried instead to match Piyush’s slower pace as he conserved energy… nevertheless Piyush and I returned after an out and back to the first aid station in just 58 minutes which was a pace far more than I was looking to achieve this early in the run – however, as the weather was very pleasant this early in the morning; I could afford to push it till 8.30, before slowing down – the next loop this time to the second aid station and back saw me back in 2 hours; so my first 25 kms. Had taken up 3 hours and I had built up a ‘bank balance’ which would find very useful. I now slowed down to a slower pace that would see me complete the first 25 miles by 11 am and 50 miles by 7 pm well within the cut off of 14 hours – I was planning to stay ahead of the cut-offs by atleast two hours to avoid being disqualified and being pressured into a faster pace.
I kept running in the shaded sections (whatever little was left in the scorching sun) and walking all the rest of the course. I took it fairly easy till my fifth loop (a longer one till the 2nd aid station) which I did back to back with no break with a smaller loop to reach 50 miles and then took a dinner break – this is when Gaurav came in looking good at the base station and we talked about joining up to keep going all night.
At this stage I was somewhere in 4th or 5th position ,with all the runner’s having slowed down considerably – Pat and Piyush leading the pack, with Vineet and Arvind also doing well. I knew I didn’t stand a chance to be in the top three and I would be slowing down – my only plan was to keep going and stay injury free and finish this year – I would be the happiest runner here at Bhatti if I managed to!
During the afternoon Randeep , suffered massive cramping at the 5k aid station and was evacuated followed by Shashank who pulled out in the evening. While Anil Kumar who had seemed to be able to finish the 100 km. in under 9 hours – completed it in a much slower 12.53, due to a miscalculation of the loops he lost interest when he found himself some 10 kms. Short of the target – but eventually got around to finish first ahead of Ankush and Jaspreet, who both finished in the night with 3 minutes of each other at 17:14 and 17:17 respectively… Jaspreet was in danger of being disqualified during the day due to his having lost over 4 kgs. During the first 40 kms. of his run; it was quite an amazing performance by the young runner as he had never even run a full marathon before this!
Gaurav and I now teamed up to fastwalk 4 loops of 10k all through the night, finishing at dawn – this was when we planned to split up as he needed medical attention due to a groin irritation which was hampering his mobility.
During the night Piyush and Pat had been having a battle royale over the first position and though they didn’t sub-24 hours, they now chased each other down till the wire; with Pat pipping the ever young runner from Gujarat by just 10 minutes ; I awaited Pat at the start/finish line and after congratulating him saying our goodbyes – I went back out with 75 miles in the bank to finish the race with four 10k loops… the first of which I would do faster at 1:40 to take advantage of the cool morning weather and then complete the last three back to back at a fastwalk pace… by the last loop my right foot had become very uncomfortable and my left eye was smarting from having had a beetle fly into it during the 70-80km. loop – so I limped with the company of Anil Kumar, who had once again shown his calibre by jointly winning the 30 mile race on top of his 100 km. run the day before – this time he did it in 4:45 and dragged American expat Rebecca Byerly across the finish line too!
In the night Tanvir and Lovey also completed their pre-decided target of 100 km. in their 24 hour run – jointly finishing first. Krishan Kumar had also completed his 50 mile run.
As the 100 mile run winner Pat, closely folllowed by Piyush finished at 6.15 am, the 30 milers – by far the most numerous with individual runners and relay pairs took off to keep slow pokes like myself company… but even the slowest of the lot would be leaving the trail by 1.30 pm.
At this point Gaurav gamely tried to get back into the run, but as it became quickly apparent he could not continue and pulled out, leaving me the last of the 100 milers on the track with a chance to finish 5th.
To get back to my ‘run’… it was 2.34 pm when i finally ran across the finish line, 5th and last in 33 hours and 19 minutes with Vineet and Arvind having finished 6 hours ahead of me… I only found Kavitha, Rahul Verghese and Gaurav and a couple of volunteers… awaiting my return and applauding me while some of them joined me in running the last few metres – everyone else had long since left… i had been alone for the last hour; it didn’t matter, I had completed my first ever Ultra Marathon in my second attempt with almost three hours before the cut-off time!
With a huge sigh or relief I finally lowered my body onto a mat, peeled off my shoes, inspected my feet… and slipped them into flip-flops, everything seemed fine for the moment…
I couldn’t believe it… I had been worrying about my knee problem and not lasting the distance… but my slower pace had succeeded in preserving my body for the distance.
As I found out in the week that followed, my right foot swelled up to almost double it’s normal size, and I could not wear shoes… but as I write this; the swelling has subsided and I am back to normal!
This was a minor price to pay for running an ultra on zero mileage and training… and were it not for the support and encouragement of Kavitha and Gaurav… I truly would not have taken it on… Thanks!
As Pat quips with a laugh… Ultras are 80% in the mind and 20% in the head… this time it was so true!
100 Miles Results:
- Pat D’Aoust – 24:52
- Piyush Shah – 25:02
- Vineet Agrawal – 26:58
- Arvind Tripathi – 27:55
- Aditya Bee – 33:19
- Shsankh Pundir – DNF
- Gaurav Madan – DNF
- Randeep Singh Arora – DNF