MUMBAI ULTRA / SEE YOU AGAIN IN 2018

2017 mumbai ultra-5

Photo: Latha Venkatraman

By 4 PM on Sunday, August 13, 2017, Usha Soman had surprised herself with her performance at the Mumbai Ultra: 12 hour run.

She had completed a distance of 44 km covering four loops of 11 km each.

At 78, she was the oldest participant among the 500 runners who enrolled for the run.

Kamalaksha Rao, another septuagenarian, also surprised himself by running 60 km against his expectation of 50 km.

2017 mumbai ultra-18

Photo: Latha Venkatraman

2017 mumbai ultra-23

Photo: Latha Venkatraman

2017 mumbai ultra-1

Photo: Latha Venkatraman

2017 mumbai ultra-2

Photo: Latha Venkatraman

2017 mumbai ultra-22

Photo: Latha Venkatraman

2017 mumbai ultra-28

Photo: Latha Venkatraman

2017 mumbai ultra-20

Photo: Latha Venkatraman

The chaos of vehicles and the mix of rainy ambiance and blazing sun appeared daunting but the runners seemed enthusiastic notching up mileage.

“Heavy traffic was a bit of a downer but otherwise it was an amazing event,” said Chetan Pujary, who was attempting an event of this nature for the first time.

The 11 km loop that commenced from Shivaji Park in Mumbai and went on to Worli Sea Face and back offered a mix of roads buzzing with traffic and peaceful seafront. The occasional drizzle offered some respite to the runners, who were on their feet from 5 AM to 5 PM.

2017 mumbai ultra-24

Photo: Latha Venkatraman

2017 mumbai ultra-26

Photo: Latha Venkatraman

2017 mumbai ultra-25

Photo: Latha Venkatraman

2017 mumbai ultra-6

Photo: Latha Venkatraman

2017 mumbai ultra-29

Photo: Latha Venkatraman

Milling among the crowd of runners at the finish line was Lt Col Sundaresan Renganathan (Retd), who completed his 36th marathon at the Mumbai Ultra. His aim was to run 50 marathons at 50 locations over 50 weeks. His project ` Run with a Soldier, Run for a Soldier’ aimed at raising funds for the families of martyred soldiers. He started his endeavour on December 11, 2016.

Mumbai Ultra’s absolute flat route and great support lend some respite to Sundaresan, who has been travelling across the country and running on varying terrain including at the Kargil International Marathon.

At the event, volunteer and medical support came in for frequent mention by most runners Outrigger spoke to. Seventy two-year old Primla Hingorani, also known affectionately as Aunty 72, had turned up to volunteer for the event at 5 AM. At 5 PM, she was waiting at the finish line to welcome runners with medals.

2017 mumbai ultra-11

Photo: Latha Venkatraman

2017 mumbai ultra-8

Photo: Latha Venkatraman

2017 mumbai ultra-10

Photo: Latha Venkatraman

2017 mumbai ultra-9

Photo: Latha Venkatraman

Among the many accomplished runners doing the loops were Satish Gujaran, Sunil Lahigude, Shibani Gharat and Preeti Lala. It was easy to spot Preeti Lala with her characteristic bandana.

Preeti had won the 12-hour Mumbai Stadium run held in June 2017. She had then notched up a distance of 89.2 km. Here she topped the distance by another four kilometres to end at 93 km.

“I was able to run quite strongly. The experience was awesome. Except for having to cope with the traffic everything else went smoothly. Fantastic support by many runner groups,” she wrote in later.

2017 mumbai ultra-16

Photo: Latha Venkatraman

2017 mumbai ultra-12

Photo: Latha Venkatraman

2017 mumbai ultra-15

Photo: Latha Venkatraman

2017 mumbai ultra-13

Photo: Latha Venkatraman

2017 mumbai ultra-27

Photo: Latha Venkatraman

At the finish line, there was a constant refrain one heard from runners: it was an awesome event with great volunteer support.

Most runners milling at the finish line said they would continue participating in this event next year too.

(The author, Latha Venkatraman, is an independent journalist based in Mumbai.)

Advertisements

2017 MUMBAI ULTRA / THE MUCH LOVED RUN RETURNS

mumbai ultra

From left: Milind Soman, Usha Soman and Naveen Hegde (Photo: Latha Venkatraman)

“I hope to be on my feet for 12 hours,” said 78-year-old Usha Soman.

The former professor of bio-chemistry and mother of model, actor and endurance athlete, Milind Soman, will be the oldest participant in the fourth edition of the Mumbai Ultra: a 12-hour run. She hopes to cover a distance of 40-45 kilometers. The youngest participant is 18-years-old. Apart from Usha Soman, three more persons in their seventies will be participating.

Unlike the previous editions when the event was held on Independence Day, August 15, this time the 12-hour run will be held on August 13, a Sunday. “Due to security reasons, the run date was decided as August 13 and not August 15,” Naveen Hegde, one of the organizers of the running event said at a press briefing in Mumbai on Tuesday (August 8, 2017).

Participants are expected to run loops of 11-12 kilometers starting from MGM Swimming Pool at Shivaji Park, from 5 AM till 5 PM.

“This is an iconic running event with a strict cap on the number of runners. This time there will be 500 runners,” said Milind, who earlier this year completed the Ultraman.

“It is quite a privilege for the city to have an ultra-running event in the heart of the city,” Milind said adding that he will be participating in it for the first time.

About 300-400 volunteers will be engaged in fulfilling various needs of the runners alongside 100 doctors and physiotherapists.

Col Gulshan Chaddha (Retd), Principal of Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, has been roped in as the race director.

Usha Soman’s foray into this running event can be traced back to a video clip of her running barefoot alongside her son Milind during his Ahmedabad-Mumbai run last year. The video went viral at that time prompting the septuagenarian to take up this challenge. She will mostly resort to walking, though not barefoot.

“It is all a mind game. Unless we try we won’t know what we are capable of,” she said.

The endurance event is aimed to act as a reminder to people about healthy living.

Endurance sport is not merely about sport. It’s a lifestyle, says Milind. One has to focus on food, sleep and other aspects. Later this year, Milind plans to run from Dimapur to Kohima. And next year he plans to attempt double Ironman.

(The author, Latha Venkatraman, is an independent journalist based in Mumbai.)