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One Who Ran 75 km in 10 hours

Q-How long was your run?

A- The run was 75 km long (Far East Ultrathon) and was organized by Kakching Runners at Manipur. It was the first ever ultra marathon organized in the North East region. The run started from Tamu monastery, Myanmar at 3 AM in the morning, and finished at Kakching Manipur. As Manipur is a hilly area, around 50 km of the race was on a hilly track. Towards the end, it was plane.

Q-How was the weather during the run?

A- Weather was pleasant. North East is a place where sun rises very early. So while running we saw how the sun came from behind the hills, which was really mesmerising. It took me around 10 to 10.5 hours to complete the marathon. I was running all alone, no one was ahead or behind me. Some runners were there who had 100 km marathon experience but they were far behind may be because I was young and strong in their comparison.

Q-What inspired you for the run?

A- My primary motivation was fitness, and through running one can remain fit. It's not just a physical exercise but a mental exercise too. I call it a meditation. I can even write a book on it. I can say it is very much like PhD. You need a never say die attitude in running, same as PhD. Physical aspect is one thing, but its more of a mental game. In PhD you pursue a goal all alone like a one man army which I would say is very much similar to a runner. Running is all about endurance and PhD also requires that. PhD student may face social or financial issues same as a runner. You get motivation along the line when a research paper is published during your PhD and in an alike fashion a runner gets its motivation when he reaches half distance of the marathon.

Q-who is your role model?

A- I compare myself with my past self. I need to be better than I was yesterday.

Q-How many races have you run?

A- Officially I have participated in 4 halfmarathons, 1 full marathon and 1 ultra marathon. I completed all these within a span of 3 years.

Q-Do you have any dream run?

A- I have many. One is ultra marathon from Manali to Leh. It's around 210 kms. There are various sub-categories in it. My target is 100 kms marathon. I like running amidst nature's beauty.

Q- Tell me about your training?

A- Training has to be very consistent. You need self-motivation, because no one will tell you what you need to do. You need to teach yourself. I generally practice in the mornings from 6 am to 7:30 am. I perform running and strength on alternate days. I include Yoga and swimming to my regime. Diet is very important part of the training. I am a pure vegetarian so I prefer Indian home style food. I also include Chia seeds, flax seeds, sprouted grains, milk, dry fruits and fruits to my diet.

Q-What are your Yoga achievements?

A- I have won 2 competitions. I like doing it as it helps in strengthening muscles. I started doing Yoga from my under-graduate days. I also read novels like "Born to run", "Eat and run" etc. I read a book called "Running with the mind of meditation", which relates running to meditation.

Q-How you manage both PhD and sports?

A- Well, you always find time for your passions. I have some spare time in the mornings that I utilize for running. Human body is not made for stagnant lifestyle, so it is important to do some physical activities in a day. I have seen many PhD students facing problem with their bodies and standing outside physiotherapist's office. Also people face mental turbulences during their tenure of PhD, so to handle all these, physical activity and meditation are a must.

Q-What do you recommend to a beginner who wants to start getting into shape?

A- I advise running as it maintains your posture. It's the most basic activity as it does not require any other accessory. I recommend stretching before starting the run. Beginners may start with 2-3 rounds at first while maintaining a constant speed.

Q-How do gadgets aid runners around the world?

A- Recently an event was conducted to finish a full marathon under 2 hours. Actually this record has never been broken. People have finished half marathon within an hour but finishing full marathon within 2 hours has not been done till now. So, Nike recently focused on one athlete from Kenya and made special shoes for him, invested a lot of money, made a team for him to design air flow around him and a lot of other things. But ultimately he finished it in 2 hours 30 seconds. They will again try it in September.

Q-Have you ever felt there should be a particular gadget or device, which you wanted which can boost your performance.

A- Actually running is a natural sport. In my opinion you don't need any devices and gadgets. Many people use calorie monitoring watches which in my opinion is a complete waste. I would like to mention a center for research in Sports and Health Care has started at IIT Guwahati. I think there is a scope for research in this field in country like India.

Mohit Joshi
Research: High Power Microwaves (Communication Lab)
Email: mohit.joshi@iitg.ernet.in
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