Friday, 6 November 2015

VADODARA ULTRA MARATHON 1st November , 2015 - THE TRAIL of 55 km

न इतराओ इतना, बुलंदियों को छूकर,
वक़्त के सिकंदर पहले भी कई हुए हैं

जहाँ होते थे कभी शहँशाहों के महल, 

देखे हैं वहीं अब उनके मकबरे बने हुवे हैं ।

Perhaps these lines describe a lot about the ups & downs of LIFE and has always helped me to keep me grounded in whatever I am able to do . Thanks to the authentic writer of these lines which teaches us the true lesson of what LIFE is 

VADODARA ULTRA MARATHON 1st November , 2015 - THE TRAIL of 55 km

This race was to be run through Vadodara , Champaner and Pavagadh . The organizers had written on their website that this terrain is gruesome mix of hilly trails , rocky flash & a landscape filled with lush , thorny foliage & treacherous slopes .

I along with Rajivebhai Valadrahad reached the day before in the afternoon . Then Sharadbhai Gandhi & Hiteshbhai Bhadani arrived . We had preplanned to RUN together as Sharadbhai & Hiteshbhai had before this RAN a maximum distance of 31 & 26 km respectively .

We all were totally unaware of what this terrain was although the organizers of this event were continuosly guiding & helping us by giving the minute details too on their Vadodara Ultra Website & on Whatsapp Group whether by the way of messaging or keeping live videos . There is a huge difference between theoretical knowledge & being on practical grounds .

They had kept a final cutoff time of 10 hours for 55 km & 5 for 25 km . Generally what we do or calculate is according to our normal run that if we run at a slow pace of 8 to 8.5 km per hour we would be able to complete it in around 7 to 7:30 hours & that too at ease . But this was not to be as whoever is organizing always does it on practical grounds so they had kept these cutoffs . In 55 km there was also a cutoff at 35 km in 6 hrs . For 55 km they had given each participant a GPS Device for following the route . When we collected the BIB in the morning Suri Paji explained how to operate it . Thank You Suri Paji

After collecting the BIB & GPS device we were to sit in the Bus to move ahead to reach the Starting Point . Then suddenly our runner friend & Dr Prashantbhai Desai ( from Surat ) came in his car to support his wife who was participating in 25 km . He dropped us at the Starting Point.
The RUN started around 8:10 AM . Everyone was very excited & I too was . But suddenly around 200 or 300 meters from the start point there was a narrow steep passage which we had to cross very slowly to divert ourselves from road to the trail . The start here itself had conveyed the message that it won't be a cake walk . We all were moving ahead slowly & cautiously and remembering the guidelines given by Shri Satishbhai Gujaran the previous night when we runners from Surat who were staying together & having dinner he gave a phone call to Wish All of us - All the Best for the RUN . He told us don't try to Run too fast & always keep your eyes on the ground as you may not know what is coming ahead ( He mean to stay pebbles , stones , bushes etc. )

हमेशा छोटी छोटी गलतियों से बचने की कोशिश किया करो , क्योंकि इन्सान पहाड़ो से नहीं पत्थरों से ठोकर खाता है ।

Start time of 55 km & 25 km was the same & there was a diversion from 15 km onwards for both of us . Till that distance we were moving together . There were in total 46 Runners in Male category & 5 in Female Category who started for 55 km . In 25 km there were 128 in Male Category & 28 in Female Category starters .

It was My First Ever Trail Run in which many times I was to be Derailed while walking or running but by God's Grace didn't got any injury & came out injury free .

When we are running together definitely a positive aura is created & we move ahead with energy of each other ( This is My Personal Experience) . In between again Prashantbhai was here cheering & encouraging all runners. As we were trying to increase the pace suddenly had to stop due to some obstacle on the ground in form of stones or thorny bushes . There came several chances of tumbling but this day belonged to me thus I was safe enough but this was not to be in case of Rajivebhai as he injured his right knee . We stopped at an Aid Station & got it Bandaged .

Everyone was just Enjoying this AmAzInG Experience. I have used this word Enjoying here as I remembered the lines which I had read

" Do not wait for something big to happen , Start where you are with whatever you have "

It was totally a different ball game . Felt like the game of Hockey which was played on a different terrain where Indian Hockey Team used to Rule the World but since the change to Play the game on a different terrain of Astroturf we can see where we now stand . We all wish that perhaps the old days come back & we again rule the world . To be honest such was my situation that perhaps will get some concrete road to RUN so that I can maintain a rhythm of Running which I usually do in My Daily Runs too . Even after Running 7000 km in 18 months a few days back for me it was as if a baby learning to crawl , walk & run . Yes I really mean it . As I have a habit to start & complete any RUN at a constant pace & here also I kept the same consistency but in maintaining inconsistency.

Coming to the point the toughest was still to come . As we inched closer to around 20 km mark perhaps reached the hardest climb ever of Pavagadh Hill . It was very uneven , at times it was steep & some steps or stairs were monsterous . This was around 370 meters height .

डर मुझे भी लगा था फासला देखकर, पर मैं बढ़ता गया रास्ता देखकर,
खुद ब खुद मेरे नज़दीक आती गई , मेरी मंज़िल मेरा हौसला देखकर ।

In My Case I would say that I am not used to climbing staircase in my day to day life it was really an uphill task . It was merely tracking & hiking for which we all were NEW . But somehow remembered the saying
" जब ओखली में सर दे दिया है तो मूसलों से क्या डरना "

We were climbing & resting to bring our breath to normal and save our energy. Several other runners were also following . I have a habit to carry extra water bottles of 200 ml around 5 to 6 in My Hydration Bag . The runners who were climbing were not in a different position from us as they were also feeling exhausted. Then a runner asked for water , I offered him the 200 ml bottle . He asked can I keep this . Yeah it is for you only. As we were moving ahead another runner asked for water , I offered him also a bottle . In my daily runs too I keep the extra bottle of water for fellow runner friends . It gives me immense satisfaction .

All the four of us were carrying fully loaded hydration bags but the other runners were perhaps in anticipation that they can refuel themselves at hydration stations then why to carry this load ? Yes it is always easy to RUN without any load but this is the difference between a Marathon Event & an Ultra Marathon or should say in daily run too we must keep hydration facility fully loaded so it will be helpful in any event we are participating . Previously I also never used to RUN with load but once I ran with Ashishbhai Kapadiya, I learnt this from him . I owe the whole credit for this to him as today it proved very helpful . To cover this from ground to top it took us around 1:20:06 hrs .

रख हौसला वो मंज़र भी आयेगा, प्यासे के पास चलकर समन्दर भी आयेगा ,

थक कर न बैठ ऐ मंजिल के मुसाफिर , मंजिल भी मिलेगी और मिलने का मज़ा भी आयेगा |

After reaching at the top again a surprise was waiting for us – Prashantbhai Desai was again here to cheer & encourage us. We got our photos clicked with him . Another memorable moment . Yet another surprise was to come as we moved to the Aid Station a female runner friend from Surat Saruben Saraf was resting there . She is a very good runner . Has ran many HM & for her also this was a first above Half Marathon. She was running ahead of us in the company of his another runner friend from Surat . When I saw her , I asked her What happened ? Where is your friend ? She replied that he was running well so I told him to move on . I told her “ You told HIM & HE MOVED AWAY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! “ Very Surprising . I told her Don’t worry . Just stay with us . We will Finish it - TOGETHER . She was limping a bit as she had little bit cramps . Then after refueling ourselves at this station we again started moving ahead . Now it was a company of 5 from 4 .

We had thought now we will get some flat road to run but we were totally wrong as we had opportunity only to cross the road & then again had to move down hill in the rocky steps again . We were in a hurry as we had the cutoff time of 6 hours in mind . Myself & Rajivebhai thought now let’s give a try that other runners are coming so we may tell the authorities that to extend the time of first cut-off if possible . After we reached the Aid Station at 35 km mark in around 6:11:15 hrs we asked them about the cut-off they replied “ We have waved it OFF “ . Hiteshbhai Bhadani also followed soon . He immediately gave a phone call to Sharadbhai & Saruben that you reach here comfortably & there is no need to hurry . Till they reached we had got our stretching done from the available Physio Doctor . Dr Nehal Shah was from Mumbai & he recognized me and told me that you had Run at the Mumbai Ultra on 15th August 2015 . I told him YES . I asked him “ How come you know ? “ He replied “ There were 7 or 8 runners who had completed 7 to 8 loops . I had ran 81 km with Ashishbhai on that DAY . He is a very nice person as he was enjoying his JOB & encouraging runners . He told me after doing stretching “ You have a good fitness “ . Yes Sir that’s why I am able to Run Distances .

Then after a short while Sharadbhai & Saruben had reached . I saw Saruben in tears . She was on a phone call with her husband & got emotional . Seeing her in this positon I remembered some line & like to share with you all

कभी लगा वो हमारा साथ दे रहे हैं , कभी लगा वो हमारा साथ छोड़ रहे हैं ,

कुछ लोग होते ही आँसुओं की तरह हैं , पता ही नहीं चलता कि साथ दे रहे हैं कि साथ छोड़ रहे हैं ।

She had severe cramps . I requested Nehalbhai & told Saruben “ You are a strong person & don’t worry there is magic in hands of Nehalbhai & you will be fine . “ I was right as after stretching she was feeling a bit better . we had a stoppage of 00:51:53 hrs at this stop . Means now it was 07:12:05 & time remaining was 02:47:55 hrs for final cut-off . On a regular run we can crack the distance of 20 km within 2 hours then also I told them that let’s give a try . Still there is time . Before starting I asked the stationed authorities have you increased the time limit also . He replied “ You just continue . You still have time “ . Here one more point to tell you all Sharadbhai also was in deep pain as he had also got cramps & was unable to run . But somehow he was trying very hard & keeping the spirits of all others high too. In between two other runners from Baroda also joined . Now we were 7 in all in an approachable gap .

As we reached near the canal , 3 more runners joined so in short there were 10 runners in that short distance including us. Still there was time in hand but as the terrain was such I also thought that now let’s finish it off . So started running . But as I turned back saw that now the gap has increased between us . All were leading from time to time so that the motivation was there that runners are 
Following them . so they had the motivation to move on before this . Then Rajivebhai came with Saruben & told that Sharadbhai is telling “ You all move ahead I will come on my own “ . I told him you just carry on , I will be with Sharadbhai .

One more thing they were telling to me & Rajivebhai that you can run , so just run & finish in the allotted time . We told him that this is not done . If there will be DNF don’t worry we all will be DNF together . Completing the distance will also be an achievement for all of us . We are not such people that we for our personal achievement leave our friends in tough & awkward situations .

Sharadbhai told “ नहीं चला जा रहा है , Energy Level भी बहुत कम है “ I told him “ Sharadbhai भाभीजी का हाथ पकड़ के बहुत चले होगे | आज मेरा हाथ पकड़ के चलो और देखो हम कैसे एक दूसरे की एनर्जी से सारा Distance Cover कर लेते हैं | “

ऐसा नहीं की राह में रहमत नहीं रही , पैरो को तेरे चलने की आदत नहीं रही 

कश्ती है तो किनारा नहीं है दूर , अगर तेरे इरादों में बुलंदी बनी रही ॥

Still we had to cover a distance of 8 to 10 km . But had in mind that we will finish with GRACE .
The reason why people give up so fast is because they tend to look at how far they still have to go , instead of how far they have come . So just thinking & talking only positive talks and the joyous moments gives us lots of positive energy . Hiteshbhai was moving on . He has a strong buildup but after some time he also told that he has cramps & feeling short of energy . Sharadbhai told “ इधर आजा भाई तू भी साथ होले , एक हाथ मैंने पकड़ रखा है , एक हाथ तू पकड़ ले इस तरह हम सब साथ में पहुँच जायेंगे |” So all three of us walking together with hands in hands . Life gives us some moments which we would always like to cherish throughout our lives . This was such a moment . Now we carefree & just moving on only to finish the allotted km although the time was over .

It was dark now . We switched the mobile phone torch on & now we had to move ahead in this light . Here to tell you all Hiteshbhai is a technocrat as he clicks the photographs very well & he had guided us for total distance through GPS & we didn’t cover a single km extra . We all are really thankful to him . Then the two Police Officers from Vadodara they also joined . As were approaching the finish point as we had already decided that we all will cross the finish line together .

We reached the finished line all together . You can check in the photos below. We all were very happy as the organizers has shown Grace in giving Grace by increasing the time limit . Thus everyone was a Finisher in this Event Today .

From the Bottom of Our Hearts We Thank All the Event Organizers , Technical Team , Support Staff for this Gesture . The RUN was Excellent but You All were MORE .

काम करो ऐसा की पहचान बन जाये , हर कदम ऐसे चलो कि निशान बन जाये ,

यहाँ ज़िन्दगी तो सभी काट लेते हैं , ज़िन्दगी जियो ऐसे कि मिसाल बन जाये |

If I say that The Trail was Very tough to RUN then it will be an EXCUSE as the conditions , facilties , distance all was the same for everyone . As runners like us are not equipped to RUN on these type of terrains thus the task really looks UPHILL .

It truly belongs to Evergreen Champions on any surface like Ashishbhai Kapadiya , Nehalbhai Patel , Sandeep Kumarbhai , Hardik G Sailorbhai , Amit Bhattacharjeebhai , Sameer Gaikwadbhai , Vandanaben Parekh etc.

I want to Thank Many People for this RUN

Rajesh Valadra ( Rajivebhai ) - Since the DAY we have started Running together every distance has become much easier to cover . I have got addicted to your presence in any RUN My Friend & Wish that this bonding continues till eternity . Your Simplicity , Humbleness & Calmness in any situation has helped many runners reach their personal goals . Even in Your First Ever Official Marathon You sacrificed your timings for other runner & completed in 5:53 hrs but the same runner asks you How come you are late today as he had finished earlier !!!!!!! It's a pity that he has not yet understood you as you were helping other runners during the RUN & crossed the Finishline with Saruben Saraf who had lost hope of finishing it . Your reply was as simple as you are "बस हो गया " Even Thank You will be a very small word but will always be Thankful to YOU 

Sharadbhai Gandhi - You are a Very Tough Person as what you did even the toughest would not have dared to do this . You helped Saruben n number of times by helping her in doing stretching of her legs as she had cramps . I am saying strong as you yourself were suffering from severe cramps then also you forgot your pain & did the best which could be done in that situation . You might say that we helped you but You kept your nerves & showed character in one of the toughest situations you ever have been in . To stay on the road for more than 11:00 hours is not a JOKE as before this your maximum time on the road in one stretch would have been between 3 to 4 hours . Your Firm Determination Helped You to Cross the Finish Line . Thanks as this will help many others how to come out of tough situations 

Hiteshbhai Bhadani - What to say about you as You are an Allrounder . Whatever you do, you do it with full dedication & devotion whether it is Cycling , Photography , Dancing or Running etc . You were Our Authentic Guide in this RUN as You were keeping complete track through GPS device so that we don't deviate from the Track . Even the images & videos you have clicked are awesome . You have a Very Strong Buildup & it is just a beginning of doing long distance running . You will Go Miles ahead . As You are a Celebrity who has a Very Large Fan following this performance of yours will inspire many others to adopt running in their daily habit thus will keep them fit & fine . It is a service to society to guide people to stay fit & fine. Thanks a Lot Truly Enjoyed Your Company 

Saruben Saraf - You are a Very Brave & Bold Runner . Now You have become the First Lady to Complete an Official Ultra Marathon from Surat . You kept on going & had a firm determination to complete for Your Family Members had helped You to cross the Finish line gracefully . I wish all the Very Best for Your Future Runs too . Had there been any other person instead of us he would also have done the same thing there is nothing Great about it . In Gujarat as you already know we use the word " Ben for Sister & Bhai for Brother " We not only use this word but believe in it too " Dear Sister " . Thanks for Believing in us that we would be there till you Finish 

Prashantbhai Desai - Your contribution will always be remembered by us . Not only you are a Very Good Doctor but a Good Human Being too 
. From dropping all of us at the Start Point , Coming to Cheer Up between the RUN , Providing Hydration Facilities to Many During The RUN & above all you Drove Sharadbhai's Car all the way from Vadodara to Surat taking him & other runners shows your respect & humbleness towards Runners as now you Yourself are a Runner . Our Best Wishes in whatever You Do in Life . Thanks a Lot Once Again for Your Unconditional Support 

( His Wife drived the other car taking Sharadbhai's Wife & Children in it . Thanks to her too ) Three Cheers for this Big Hearted Couple

Lastly to the Organizing Team Members - Kerav Pathakbhai etc. Technical Team , Supporting Team , Medical Team etc. - Your contribution of organizing this event & making it a successful one - A Lot of Thanks has to be given to YOU All . You had honestly shared each & every minute detail of the RUN which has helped whoever has gone through it . Keep Organizing & Inspire People to take toughest of challanges . Even best of the Organized Events has something here or there but even after our completion there were full facility of Physio followed by Dinner . We Gracefully accept your Grace towards runners by increasing the time in this edition of yours . A BIG Thanks to ALL of YOU .

How can I sumup without giving Thanks to All My Runner Friends who did 25 km RUN & were with us till 15 km .

Lastly , People consider me to be a SELFISH PERSON who just Runs for His Personal Achievements & Accolades then I want to say here that if Helping others reach to the Level where I have reached , Taking along people together , Sharing my experiences , Even the Beginners can approach me directly is SELFISHNESS then I would like to be The Most SELFISH Person in this Whole World . I will always be the same as I am . If they can't change why should I ?

Thanks Friends for Reading My Experience of this RUN . I know it is a bit Too Long but the RUN was also Long too 11:17:13 Hours

Thank You ALL . Once Again With Lots of Love & Respect to YOU All 


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