The country has come a long way in running and ultra running since 2007 when the 1st edition of the Bangalore Ultra was held at Our Native Village in Hesarghatta. The number of ultra running events and the participation has grown in leaps and bounds including 24 hour and 36 hour runners. Nearly 100 runners from India travelling to South Africa to run 89Km at Comrades marathon in May 2015 would have been unimaginable 10 years ago. The Bangalore Ultra ,arguably the oldest Ultra in the country, has played a very significant part in this growth of the ultra running community in the country. It has provided opportunity to numerous runners to push beyond the marathon and do their longest ever distance - 50K, 75K, 100K and beyond. The 10th edition of this pioneering and usually well organised event is now less than a week away on Saturday, 12th November.
I am among the (handful of?) runners who has been lucky enough to be at the starting line of an ultra distance at every edition of this event. The first 5 editions from 2007 to 2011 were held at the trail in Hesarghatta with the 1st one having 4 loops of 13K for a total of 52K. Since 2012 the event is being held at the bamboo forest off Hennur road. Between 2008 and 2014 I completed the 50K every year except 2010 when I ran 75K - my longest distance to date in a timed event. 2015 was heartbreaking - after overcoming injuries and a last minute lower back strain I was thrilled to start the race hoping for a 9th consecutive finish. Unfortunately, I ended up with a DNF due to a fall during the race.
When due to a right calf muscle tear not recovering quickly enough I had to reconcile to a DNS in the Bangalore marathon on 16th October I downgraded from 75K to 50K at the Ultra with the possibility of another DNS. However, relatively less discomfort in my right calf during and after couple of slow runs/brisk walks wearing the compression socks (bought along with a calf support sleeve from Decathalon based on advise from Doc Y and coach D) ) , gave me the encouragement to go ahead and attempt the 50K at the ultra on 12th November. A 3:05/25Km run on 29th October and a 4:15/37K on 5th November gives me confidence that a 50K run/walk in around 6 hours is doable. The plan is to do the 1st loop in about 2:45 (average pace of 6:30 or so) and then take it from there depending on how the legs are holding up.
It is a bit of a risk as the right calf has not fully healed. The rationale to let the heart rule over the head and extend the streak to the 10th year is that I am anyway unlikely to be able to race hard at SCMM 2017 and can take a few months off to recover after that. As always I am looking forward to enjoying the trail and meeting other runners along the way!!