Saturday, June 26, 2010

Inspired to run Comrades and other ultras

So far my experience of ultra running is limited to the three 50Km runs at the Bangalore ultra. After reading about the stupendous accomplishments and experiences of Indian runners at Comrades Marathon 2010 I am inspired to run  a few ultra marathons around the world.  To start with , I have added the Comrades Marathon  ,considered arguably the greatest ultramarathon in the world with the tag line of 'the ultimate human race', to my longterm running goals. The first Comrades Marathon took place on 24th May 1921 starting outside the City Hall in Pietermaritzburg with 34 runners. It has continued since then every year with the exception of the war years 1941-1945, with the direction alternating each year between Pietermaritzburg and Durban, the so called up & down runs.  Now it attracts thousands of runners from around the world. Here is some amazing statistics from the event in 2010 which as the 85th edition.

Entries: 23568
Entrants who met the qualifying criteria: 17627
Starters: 16480
Finishers: 14343

The Comrades has a qualifying criteria which includes completing a full marathon within 5 hours. Apart from the distance of 89Km an additional challenge is to complete the race within a time limit of 12 hours and also reach interim milestone points within specified time limits failing which runners are taken off the course. Keeping in mind my goal of running Boston marathon in April 2014 I would probably look at doing the Comrades in May 2012.

While the Comrades marathon is one of the best known ultra marathons, there are hundreds of other ultra marathons held in Asia, Europe and Americas. Other very well known and extremely challenging ultras are the Western State endurance run and Badwater ultra.  Closer home a popular ultra is the Addidas Sundown marathon which is a 84Km night race held in Singapore. And another spectacular race is The Himalayan 100 mile stage race. Also Globalracers is now organising some interesting and challengin multi-day endurance event sin India.

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