Runner’s World

Ultras and barefoot running

My first run had an ambitious agenda – I wanted a photograph with my childhood hero and celebrity, Milind Soman! 

With hope, I participated in a promotional event for Pinkathon – India’s largest program under his guidance that enables women community running as a tool to bring positive changes in their physical, mental & emotional wellbeing. 

All the participants got a finisher medal, I was super thrilled to pose with Milind. The photo was framed, and the thrill of running lingered. 

Soon, I skipped the gym, took to the outdoors. That year end, a customary NYE party was replaced with a team run from Bengaluru to Mysore. My resolution had changed from looking good to feeling it. 

The feel good factor meant that I don’t always race against time or others. I am my competition – the toughest bar! Every little step revolves around enjoying rather than suffering to get better at it, including my foray into ultras, minimalist and barefoot running to stay grounded! 

Earlier in 2020, I challenged myself to run 118 Kms from Abu Dhabi to Dubai (on India’s Republic Day) to spread a health awareness message for the youth of Indian diaspora in UAE. 

It wasn’t my first ultra. I knew what I was getting into with a Desert run, but it was way harder with varied conditions in 27 hours. 14° mornings, scorching afternoon, chilling night, medium dust storms and extreme winds. 

 

While this quest was arduous, I met several people who stopped by the highway, perplexed at this human in the desert heat. The interactions were brief, but endearing. They’d converse, ask if I needed a ride or simply wish me luck. Some promised they’d take on a better lifestyle just for my effort. An additional bonus was the resting breaks under the cool shade of palm trees! 


Contributed by: Aakash Nambiar | Location: Bangalore, India

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