Seven athletes from the Hyderabad Runners Society recently participated and successfully completed the Comrades Marathon — the world’s most famous and oldest ultramarathon.
The race that saw over 23,000 athletes from all over the world had around 210 runners from India, of who seven were from Hyderabad.
Santosh Bhadran, Diganta Deb Roy, Sughar Shyam Mishra, Srinivas Munipalle, Rajesh Bung, Shiv Shankar Kosgi and Amit Kshirsagar successfully completed the 89 km ultramarathon from Durban to Pietermaritzburg, which was held on June 9 in South Africa.
Apparently, the runners started to prepare for the marathon six months prior to the race. “We trained hard and used to run around 15 km a day, 75 km every week and 1,200 km over the last six months. We practiced running near Kokapet, Srisailam and Ooty terrains since the topography is similar to that of the marathon’s route,” explains Shiv Shankar, who adds that the rigorous training helped them a great deal.
For Srinivas Munipalle, being part of the Comrades Marathon was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. He adds that the experience proved that nothing is impossible in life.
“As a runner, participating in this marathon means a lot and it’s like a ‘premium’ marathon for us. It has only instilled the confidence that we can pull off anything if we prepare well,” he explains.
One of the challenges the runners had to face was being fit for the marathon as well as completing it injury-free. Santosh Bhadran, an asthma patient managed to finish the race despite having cramps.
“After running for 30 km, I started developing cramps, so I had to take the help of a physiotherapist who wrapped a bandage around my leg,” he reveals, adding, “But food and water was available throughout the race and that kept us hydrated. The best part was that throughout the race, there were people cheering and encouraging us.”
Athlete Rajesh Bung opines that running along with several runners enhances your own personality. “The camaraderie we share with co-runners helps in understanding them better. Since all the runners are going almost together, it gives a sense of team spirit. Running around tough terrains and over 15 hills was a daunting task, so it was important to constantly have a chat with the other runners to keep going,” feels Rajesh.