100 Miles At Run The Rann – 2018

This is a guest post by Rahul D Daimari, who just finished a 100 miler at Run The Rann. This post is a race report of the same.

Bdw I met Rahul last year during Nilgiris Ultra 100 km and ran almost 75 km of it together. I actually envy him for doing this race without me. I am, definitely, going to do it next year. 

Run The Rann – A Race Report

When I saw the previous years’ editions of RunTheRann in YouTube videos, I knew I have to be part of this event. I saw the interview of the great Dan Lawson. I also saw the one with Arpita Maitra, the 161 km, 2016 female winner. When I heard what had motivated her to register for the 161 km, I sort of felt thrilled. I wanted to feel what they had felt.

Instinctively my hand reached out for the register button. Of course, there is a devil inside me which time and again takes possession of me and compels do such stuffs. The great white Rann sort of beckoned me. I didn’t have any previous experience of a 161 km. The maximum I had tried before was a 100 km once and it was a very pathetic finish. I had to limp towards the finishing line. I could barely walk. Out here in Hyderabad in Hitech City and working full time in an IT company, the maximum I could manage was an occasional week end long run of 30 kms. That too on a flat course in the only park available. I didn’t realize at that time that this will be one purely technical trail run.

I hesitantly revealed to my wife that I had registered for 161 km. She seemed unsurprised. Obviously after 100 km that is the next one you will do.This sort of was a green signal from the High Command. Perhaps she was in good mood. I had also packaged the entire deal as a 5-day event with pictures of the facilities the organizers would be providing and that she will be having a quiet me only time. She, sort of bought it. Of course, the facilities and arrangements there were excellent.

runn the rann

I had come to RunTheRann inadvertently with only a pair of Asics Gel Venture- 5. In my last 100 km race, I had realized it the hard way of not having more than one pair of shoes in a long distance run. The other one which I was planning to bring along was a Merrel-Barefoot trail running shoe which got caught up in a transportation mess. I think I was lucky that I didn’t run with the Merrel one which would have been my first choice. The Asics shoe stood to its true potential throughout the course. Only on few occasions it troubled me but then those were the type of thorns which would penetrate any kind of shoe. I had however brought along 4 pairs of socks for the run.

I had noticed in my previous 100 km race that if one doesn’t ignore and take care of the small little niggles then and there itself, it sorts of helps to complete the last few miles on a strong note. In my last 100 km run I had ignored the little irritants and intervening only in the next aid-station. They later on in the last 10 kms had grown into a big headache making my every step forward a painful experience.

In RunTheRann in every aid station, I was taking off my shoes and socks to let in some fresh air and dry my feet. I was also regularly picking out the thorns from my shoes, even those which seemed to be harmless and would not have reached my feet. These all sort of contributed in not having any blisters till the end. But this also meant I was running slow. But in a 161 km run, I think these are necessary. It also helps in giving some much needed rest to the eyes, heart and mind.

runn the rann

The organizers of RunTheRann had declared that it would be a life altering experience. The course would be tricky and challenging. They had designed it to keep everybody engaged. I felt in some stretches they exceeded their own claims. It was intense and relentless. I never got into a rhythm. But hats off to the organizers. They really made this a wonderful experience. Perhaps they wanted to make it a special one for us and they succeeded in this in every way.

During the pre-race briefing the organizers cautioned us about the omnipresent babool trees, Vachellia nilotica and also about the village dogs that one might occasionally encounter in the night. Runners will not find any ghosts hanging down from the branches of these trees in the night, they declared, but only thorns. In the same breath they also said, those who would be running the 161 km would obviously encounter a few ghosts in their minds on the way. The dogs would be harmless and will not bite but only bark as we would be entering their territory. We took it all laughingly.

runn the rann

03/02/2018, 7 a.m.

The sun was yet to come up and it was very windy and cold.  But in the pre-race excitement such things didn’t matter. The big round moon above our head, the vast expanse of the salty desert glistening with whiteness and ready to be conquered sort of fired us up. We were about to be uncaged. As the countdown for the race began, I pestered my wife to take as many pictures and videos of me as possible!

The first stretch of 10 km was a fairly smooth one with little variation in the terrain as promised by the organizers to give us a hang of the Garmin eTrax 10 GPS device. I got carried away and stopped many times to enjoy the sights, taking pictures and videos. I was losing time but it didn’t dawn on me then. Perhaps I should have tried to cover as many miles as possible during the day-time itself. But then I had come to this competition blank and with only one thing in mind. That was to complete 161 come what may and in a decent time. Perhaps I should have run like the professionals and those army-men. They were 3 hours ahead of me initially.

The problem with the initial euphoria and a bright sunny day is that everything looks fine on the surface. The little niggles and injuries which one could be carrying from a previous race would remain masked. A fortnight ago I had run the TMM-full marathon. There in the last 10 km I had pushed hard to get a P.B by more than 6 minutes. I had not fully recovered from the effort. I just didn’t know yet how bad they will come to haunt me in the night!

As I crossed one level after the other, I didn’t realize I was all alone. In my mind I was a trained commando and was in fact role playing a raid. Like those in stories and movies where you hunt down your prey by following their trail; in my mind I was also doing the same thing. I went into the night in that same mode. I was not prepared for what would follow. I didn’t have a training of running alone in the dark and in an unknown terrain. Alone there, weird thoughts began to pop in my mind. Everything began to metamorphose into something. Was that a snake? That thing shiny and white that disappeared just now, what was it?

The words of the organizers about ghosts crept into my mind a few times. On the way in the darkness, out of nowhere I came face to face suddenly with the skull of an animal which the organizers had hung there to mark the trail. Like in the famous Bollywood movie, I told to myself “all is well.” I had this feeling, that I was not alone, that I was being observed and followed. Moving on seemed the best and only option!

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The dogs I met were made of different stuff unlike what the organizers had claimed. Even though I was way outside of their territory, far away from their owner’s house, they followed and kept charging at me in packs. Their eyes shone like angry red charcoals. I had to make a stand and show them the powerful arsenal I was carrying in my hand with my head light. It was nothing but just an old dry twig which is all I could lay my hands on to ward them off! I knew it was useless but somehow it seemed to work.

The dogs tested me, trying to find my weaknesses. I would keep them asking to go back and guard their owner’s house rather than to come after me on the fields. I would ask them why they were making the night more miserable for me. I also heard some wild cries and saw a huge dog (I hope I am correct) hunting a sheep and dragging the poor bleating creature deeper into the dense bushes when it saw me coming. I could have intervened but did not do so. Out in night it was life and death matter for all of us!

runn the rann

7AB- Amrapur Power House

There were two drop bag stations for the 161 km runner. The 7AB- Amrapur Power House served as the first drop bag station. This was also a full service aid station. Here lunch and other amenities were provided to the runners. After taking a 60 km loop, we were to come back to this aid station. So this served as a drop-bag station for both 54 and 114 km points.

You require a buddy in a 161 km run at least in the night. You might get lost. The GPS can go wrong.  Fatigue can make you take wrong decisions. You might encounter wild animals or bad people. You might fall into a pit. The possibilities are numerous. I guess during the day time I was too lost in my own world. I thought I would find someone in this 54 km aid station. But I was wrong. By this time, bonds had already been formed. I was neither fast nor too slow. I was caught in between. The faster ones never stopped for me and carried on. The much slower ones came to me only towards the fag end of the night.

In this 54 km aid station, I also did one mistake. I calculated things foolishly and because of this perhaps I lost many hours. I was under the impression that it will be a full moon night. We were told so. It has always been a full moon night. I had read an article by some runner from a previous edition. He had commented that by 8 p.m the world would turn bright. Even head lamps will not be required then. I took out my sweatshirt from the drop bag. It was still warm and sunny. I thought not to unnecessarily increase my weight. I even kept the sweatshirt in one of the pockets in my hydration bag. But as I got up to move on, I don’t know what happened. I called out for my drop bag, took out the sweatshirt and put it back there again. Not that it would have greatly helped. Later I saw even those who were covered from head to toe shivering badly. Probably it would have given me some comfort. I also didn’t put my power-spectacles into the hydration bag. Being shortsighted, it is difficult at night to see things clearly without putting them on.

Now as I look back, I think my mind was processing wrong data. Most of the races that I had done before had started early in the morning around 2 a.m. or 4 a.m. This one had started past 7 a.m. 54 km mark by own standards after adding extra time should not have taken more than 8 hours. But it was a tough terrain and I was way too slow. By the time I had my lunch, refreshed and left this aid station it was already 5 p.m. in the evening.

It was still sunny and bright. I didn’t realize the sun was setting in pretty fast. My calculation was I would complete the 60 km loop and come back to this station by maximum 11 p.m. I will be able to then cover the tougher part of the night in my sweatshirt and specs. I don’t know why I came to this decision. By 6 p.m. it was pitch dark! There was total silence everywhere around. Used to the city-life, this was a very different experience all of a sudden. In the vast expanse it was also windy and cold. I could see nothing after a distance. My headlamp became the only source of light.

I didn’t know where I was going or where my foot was landing. I went where the GPS told me. In some places I could hear birds zooming out of their nests in flocks where I set my foot down. I started to kill time by walking slowly and looking up into the sky. ‘By 8 p.m. the moon shall come’, I began to reassure myself. When I stopped, even for a second, insects and mosquitoes would swarm around me because of the light on my head.

By this time, blood had cooled down. The old injuries began to surface back and bite me. 7p.m. became 8 p.m. and so on but I failed to sight the moon. It came up only around 1 a.m. I had the presence of mind to turn the hydration bag around and cover my chest for warmth. Every step forward became a struggle now. I was shivering. Hundreds and thousands of time the question of quitting the run came in my mind. In that moment the feeling of shame from quitting also didn’t come. It was that desperate for me!

Nothing to be ashamed of. Stop this madness. All you have to do is say ‘I quit’ and the organizers will come and whisk you away to the resort. You will be back again into the warm embrace of your wife. The soft bed there is calling you.  The devil inside me was telling me. Knowing my wife, I thought it’s better not to quit but continue. Maybe at first she will only give me love and words of consolation but on a later date this action of mine will come to haunt me!

Every aid station became a milestone. I was spending more and more time at these stations, heavy with the desire to quit. Also hoping some runner would eventually come up and give me company. At every aid station I would ask how much total distance I had covered so far and how many more is left to be done. Though I knew beforehand the distance I had covered, I would still ask. It sort of was sweet music in my ears to hear from them. I would ask how many before me had crossed the aid station. Only 13 had crossed me. I wondered where the hell the remaining were. There were 30 plus runners in the 161-category. I was hovering around the cutoff times. So there was this fear probably those behind me had given up. Just like me they were stuck in some aid stations waiting for the daylight!

I am so thankful to one of the volunteers in the aid station, 11A- Lodrani (84 kms). It was around 11.30 p.m. in the night here. I was like in two minds whether to quit or continue. Along with the face of my wife, I also saw the face of the resort manager where we were staying. He seemed unconvinced at first when I had told him that I was attempting a 161 km. Will he be laughing after he would come to know that I have quit? Again the devil said, its ok, there is no shame. It’s pretty easy. You just have to mouth out. Say I am done and dusted!

This guy at 11A-Lodrani went out into the night and came back with a branch from a babool tree and started removing the thorns with his finger nails. I was to use it to negotiate the trail till the next aid station. He didn’t elaborate why I would need it, maybe to not discourage me, but I could make out what lay ahead between aid station 11A-Lodrani and 12A-Jodhrai Vandh.

There were some villagers there in that aid station at that hour and they sort of played the devil’s advocate. They were drunk probably! It was a dry state but I knew anything can be arranged. They were sort of eyeing the eatables and drinks that were laid out on the table in the aid-station.

What is the use of running now? Not that you will get any prize. There are already so many ahead of you. They have already crossed this point before evening. I was too tired to answer them. The volunteer sort of shooed them away. “This is not for a prize or a medal. This is for something else. People like you won’t understand. You will not even dare to think to run so far. But he has already covered 84 Kms. You must complete it any cost.

He shoved me a red-bull into my hands and pushed me out. Never a fan of such kind of drinks, in fact I have never tasted one before. I took a small sip and threw the can away. I knew the villagers in morning will be very happy to find it.

It was time for me to run. There was nothing ahead but a small trail with thorns twirling from small branches on both the sides. The distance between 11A-Lodrani and 12A-Jodhrai Vandh was 7 kms as per the map. I decided to alternate between walking and running. I would count 1000 steps while running and another 100 while walking. My GPS watch had set to 0 miles after 12 a.m. But I counted the new updates on my watch. I had covered more than 5 kms. There was still some spring left in my legs.

Just as I was thinking that I would soon reach the 12A-Jodhrai Vandh, the trail opened out into a small village full of dogs. Here the villagers had temporarily erected walls on the boundaries of their fields with dry branches of the babool trees. This was to protect their crops from wild animals. I walked carefully near the edges. At one stretch the GPS told me to turn right and all I could see was a thick wall of thorns. They looked solidly grounded and would not budge. Probably the GPS wants me walk on the other side of the field, I thought.

I re-tracked searching for a softer opening which would allow me to cross over to the other side of the field. As I came over on to the other side and started jogging, I saw the thin line in the GPS moving farther and farther away from me. It was telling me to move left on to the other side of the boundary. This was one crazy situation. In desperation I re-tracked and again came over to the other side of the field. Now the GPS told me to move right. All I could see was a wall of thorns. I was burning precious energy. I adjusted and played around with the GPS settings multiple times.  But it showed the same thing again and again. I got scared once when the GPS took time to start. I was stuck out in the cold in a no-man’s land. The fear if the GPS would not start struck me. I tried to think if it would be possible to retrace and go back to the 11A-Lodrani aid station without the GPS. There were some tricky points on the way with sharp twists and turns. The trail had also on multiple times opened out into branches. There was no way I could retrace back to the aid-station without the GPS. My situation was hopeless. I even thought if I should sit and wait out the night there in the open field and hope for somebody to come by. Deep inside I knew if I were to fall asleep on that open ground, hypothermia would set in. I looked all around but there was only darkness. Mercifully as I calmed down and played around with the settings the GPS came back to life. But again it started throwing me those absurd directions. I could not understand. There was nothing in between those two fields but just a thick man-made wall which was impossible to breach.  Why are you acting so weird? I begged. Ok if that is what you want. I jumped over the thorny wall, exactly the way the GPS was telling me, only to be met with fierce resistance with sharp pricks from everywhere. There were thorns on my arms and shoes. I lay wincing down on the dewy ground and started removing them one by one.

May be if I walk a km or so on either side, probably I would come back to the GPS course, I thought. I did the same. But it only showed me deviating farther away from my course. I must have repeated the same exercise 5-6 times. Alternately I tried to jump over, only to be met with an impenetrable wall of thorns.

The dogs started picking up the commotions. They started barking. Somewhere far I saw a torch light coming out of a makeshift tent. The type made from hay where the villagers would stay put in the night guarding their fields. The torch was pointing towards me. Probably the guy was checking if I were a wild animal destroying his crops. I thanked my stars! Never before had I been so glad. It was like a shipwrecked person drifting into nowhere, finally finding shores. Before the world would again close down on me, I ran towards the light as fast as my tired legs would allow me.

Jodhrai Vandh?I pleaded with him. I didn’t know their language. I was hoping he had heard the name. I was prepared to hear a no! It was a long wait. His kids had woken up meantime and had come out. Perhaps he understood my situation. Perhaps he knew more like me would come and he won’t get any sleep further. Silently, he turned around and blew the already extinguished fire nearby back to life for his kids. Consoling his wailing kids, he asked me to follow him. I didn’t know what to expect. We were heading straight to the thick wall of thorns. But somewhere in the corner there was a magic door. Through this was a tiny passage way. One could barely pass unscathed through it without crawling. I came out onto the other side into a completely different world. It was like one of those fairy tales. You would walk endlessly, tired, thirsty and hungry and then out of the blue through some magic words you would land on an oasis. I thanked my savior a million times.

The GPS was not telling me to go to the other side of the field by crossing the massive wall but to somehow enter the wall. The two fields were like two big circles intersecting at a point. I had to pass through this point to come to a third field. No wonder as I was walking without crossing over near the edges, the GPS was telling me that I was moving further away from my course. From then on I decided the GPS will always be correct. All I have to do is trust it and keep looking for a way.

But I had burnt up whatever was left inside me. The blood had turned cold. All I could think of was to somehow cover the remaining 2 kms and reach this aid station. I saw lights far in the horizon. My spirits soared. But as I walked closer it turned out to be something else and not the aid-station I was looking for. I continued walking. Again I saw some lights and again the same thing happened. I checked my watch. It showed 12 miles. I had zoomed in my GPS to only 50 meters. Could it be that the guys had forgotten to put up the aid-station? Could it be that I have missed it? But the GPS would have told me, I argued. Or it was so late that the organizers had decided that nobody would turn up and had dismantled the aid-station and moved on. I should have zoomed out the GPS but the thought didn’t occur to me at that time. Deep inside I was also happy that perhaps I would land at 13A-Versara which means I would have covered a total distance of (7+9) 16 kms. Very soon the GPS pointed to an approaching aid station. I was disappointed it was 12A-Jodhrai Vandh only. It was pitch dark there and the volunteers themselves were shivering but they tried to help me in every possible way. I must have stayed there in the aid-station for a very long time. I had stopped counting time or looking at my watch.

I am really thankful to all the volunteers in all these aid stations. They practically had waited out the whole night in the wilderness, in bitter cold swarming with insects and mosquitoes and without any light or warm blankets. I knew by experience what it means to wait out. To wait for ages for somebody to turn up eventually requires infinite amount of patience. One of the volunteers finally sighted some flickering lights approaching in the horizon. It was such sweet news to me. It was 3.30 a.m. in the night. In fact, 4 runners turned up together finally. They also had the same tale to tell about their struggle near that massive wall of thorns. To them also the distance between the two aid stations was more than 10 kms.  As we got ready to continue our journey I noticed they were looking fresh and I was in a real big risk of being left behind. I struggled with my pain and tried playing the catching up part with them. One of the runner’s ankle looked horribly twisted but he still was pressing on hard. He was obviously in pain but was trying to be brave hoping nobody would notice it, less they would think of him as a liability. Judging by what I saw of him I would say he should have discontinued. It could have resulted in a permanent damage. But then we were all possessed men. I would have also done the same I think if I were in his place. The devil will not let us rest but at the same time he will tempt us to quit.

At one point one of the runners started falling behind. I was glad. We two sort of bonded till the next aid-station. But on the way we had our own small adventure. We landed on a vast endless salty-desert. It was like we were at the center and everywhere around there was nothing but only a round wide and flat empty field. The runners ahead of us disappeared into nowhere. For a split second we both lost focus and forgot to walk looking at our GPS device. Now we didn’t know where we were heading. It was like we were moving in wide circles and coming back to same place again and again. We were even not sure if we were going to our next aid station or back to the one from where we had started. While I started moving in one direction, my partner started in the other. A tired and heavy mind could really play havoc with the sense of directions. We forgot if we were going north or south. But if you hold out and do not panic the mind offers us the simplest of the solutions. We zoomed out to check our location and if were on the right course. Still we felt we were moving in circles.

Together we crossed one aid-station after the other. We would eventually catch up with the other 3 runners ahead of us in these aid stations. But they would be somewhat fresh by the time we would reach them. Now our only objective was to reach the fully-serviced aid station 7AB- Amrapur Power House which I had so ridiculously thought I would reach in the night maximum by 11 p.m. Somewhere in my mind on the way I even calculated reaching there at least by 5 a.m. I will have to get at least 1 hour of sleep if I were to complete 161, I said to myself. Completing more than 100 km gave me a different feeling. The question of quitting no more crossed my mind. It had such a psychological effect!

With the early morning lights trickling in, I slowed down and let the other runners go ahead. I am really glad I found them in the night. They made me walk faster and gave me strength. By the time I reached 7AB- Amrapur Power House, it was already past 9 a.m. Of the 4 of my night’s partners, 3 had already left by then. I felt bad at my own state. I decided to sleep but could not. I ate a hearty breakfast. By this time most of the other runners who were behind me starting to troop in one after the other. I didn’t know there were so many. I could understand what they might have gone through in the night.

Before I had come to this event my friend who had run 161 km in 2017 had advised me not to stretch the race into the 2nd night. His words kept ringing now in my ears! I knew he was right. It could become impossible if I were to stretch into another night. Where I was thinking to get a good rest for at least 1 hour, I stood ready to storm out without any sleep. I decided that come what may, I will overtake the 3 runners from the night.

Strangely with the rising sun, my pain began to vanish. I found a new energy. Perhaps the devil in me realized I would not be tempted further. Now it egged me to fire on all cylinders. I thought of my wife. She would soon start panicking. Her worried face and the words of my friend made me move faster.

runn the rann

The trail between 119 km and 146 km was very tricky with lots of ups and downs. It was entirely hilly terrain with some parts taking us down through abrupt curves and dried streams which now had only rocks and boulders to offer. In monsoons probably these were small rivers with strong currents. The organizers had in their pre-race briefing had warned us about this stretch. They had told that runners would usually find this stretch to be toughest in the entire course and so to conserve energy for this. It is definitely not meant to be run alone in the night. Around 130 km mark, it was 4 p.m already. My mind went back to the runners whom I had left behind at 7AB- Amrapur Power House. I knew some of them would take their time to recharge. Some of them were not in good shape and were requiring help of the physiotherapists. Probably they would be starting late. Which meant by the time they would reach this stretch the sun would have already set in and if the moon were to come up late like the night before, added with sleep deprivation, they would be in for real trouble. Later on as I checked the results, I saw 161 had the least number of DNF, only one. It showed the gut and determination of everybody. We have all qualified to be part of an exclusive tribe now!

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At one stretch around 125 km mark as I was climbing uphill, I could see the trees and boulders running past me. It was as if they were running towards me and it was me who was stationary. It was like a 3D movie. At first I enjoyed it but knew something was not right. I checked for some water in my hydration bag. I had decided to run light and had not refilled it. Whatever water I was drinking, I was getting it directly at the aid-stations. I could squeeze out a few drops from the hydration bag but it was enough to bring me back to reality.

When I reached 18 ABC-Janan (144km), I was welcomed with the beatings of dhols. It was as if some long lost battle scarred warrior was on its way after a very hard fought battle. It rejuvenated me to the core. I can still relive that moment. It was as if the organizers exactly knew what was needed.

From there they declared the remaining part of the trail would be relatively easy. Most part I will be now running on flat salty desert of the Rann for which I had come all the way from Hyderabad. I was back to my domain. I picked up speed. But it was not that easy. The ground was not soft. The underside of the feet had softened up so I could feel the dried wrinkled earth crumble with every foot step. Here I left my emotions go unchecked. With the finishing point so near my eyes moistened. I was overwhelmed with so many emotions. There were so many thoughts running in my mind. I was glad for once that I was alone. It was a spontaneous out flow of tears. I could barely control.

The sun had gone down by then but it was now a home run for me. I tried to wipe away my tears and quickly realized my mistake. Out in the Rann it is a mistake to not rein in our emotions. Tears dry up quickly just like that. Everything is salty and the eyes start to burn I realized I was not even carrying water to clean my eyes!

The distance between 20 ABC and the final finishing point was just 5 kms as claimed by the organizers. As I reached 20 ABC, the volunteer there met me as if they had known me for a long time. Here my wife had come during the day time, just as I had suspected, searching for me and for some updates. It seemed she had chatted up with them for a long time. The volunteers obviously always felt great when they would find someone to talk to. There was no other way to kill time.

I knew the resort, the place where I was staying was somewhere nearby. From the resort we could see the great Rann. But with poor eye sight I didn’t know where it was. Probably in the day time my wife would have seen me from far and would have come running for me, I wondered. Now also with the headlight on, I hoped she would be seeing me.

runn the rann

I was in my final victory lap and I wanted somebody to cheer me. From the elevated position of the 20-ABC the volunteers pointed to the finishing point. Bright lights were flashing in the night sky from there. As I came down and started running, I was again met with twists and turns. There was darkness, dogs and thorns. It was as if the finishing point was somewhere out there, near yet so far.

I was expecting a different setting. Like in all other races in the past I had thought the last few miles would be friendly and the road would be brightly lit. The battery in my head light was dying out. I had thought I would reach with whatever was remaining and didn’t stop to replace them. But the finishing line was nowhere there. I could see the occasional lights flashing in the night sky from the finishing point. It was calling me. But it was still very far. It became impossible after some time to run. I took out my cell phone and began using its flash light. I hadn’t take out the cell phone the whole day. I should have done this from the start, I thought. I could feel I was nearing!

Somewhere in a tight corner, I saw two runners walking with their flash lights still on. One was limping and walking taking the support of a long stick. I thought probably they had come to cheer me up. As I approached them they looked familiar. I asked if they had crossed the finishing line. They replied no. Then I realized they were still in the race and hadn’t completed yet. They were my partners from the night! They too looked very surprised on seeing me. Probably after how the early morning had unfolded, they were not expecting a strong finish from me. For a split second, I hesitated and then zoomed past them. Behind I could hear the sound of a stick falling on the ground. Perhaps they were also running now. I didn’t look back. I increased my speed. Later after the race I said sorry to them!

runn the rann

It is more than a week now as I am penning down these memories. I think I have recovered enough. The devil is telling me to search and register again for an another race. There are more lands out there to conquer. But one thing is certain I will come back to RunTheRann.

I have become a stronger man. This time with more intensity. This time to win. Now how can I explain all these things to a non-runner? You have to experience this first hand to understand. Once you taste blood there is no stopping.


I hope you enjoyed reading Rahul’s incredible 100 miler experience! A big congratulations to him on his never-say-die attitude of finishing the race successfully. I wish him many more such incredible adventures in future.

Bdw this is the 100 km race, where we ran the first 75 km together.

Till then stay fit and keep running.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2018 Neel banerjee

Author: Neel

I am Neel and the creator of borN. I am an ultra marathoner, scuba diver, adventurer, writer and father of an extremely active child.

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  1. Ahem 🙂
    …Thanks Neel… i hope some of what i had jotted down will be useful to others who might try this run…by the way i also might try the La Ultra..hehehehhe

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    • Hi Rahul, definitely it’s going to help other runners.
      It will be awesome if you run La Ultra. I will get some company. Bdw check the dates till when you can register.

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  2. Very interesting! It is pleasing to read a runner’s thoughts in letters. Had often wondered what do people think about when they are running! What goes on in their minds! Why do they run the way they run- 42.2, 51, 100, 161…. Is it just a sense of achievement or an outlet for some suppressed instincts or sheer craziness… Looks like it is a myriad of emotions, thanks for posting- it gives a glimpse.

    Neel, have seen a few of your youtube videos, and of course the one in the Ooty run. Always amusing and always carrying a bright and beautiful side of life not seen in the mundane everyday happenings.
    10KM is the most that i have run so far and that too, partly because i just wanted to wear a medal and feel like a winner in something 😛

    But having a husband of a runner,a couple of zealous runner friends and especially having been friends with non-running wives; ‘running’ does look good and beautiful now. The next time i run, will surely run for the beauty of it and who knows, maybe become an ardent runner myself!

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    • Hey Joori, at the outset, welcome to my blog. I am glad you could understand some emotions of Rahul while he ran this beast.
      I am sure you are going to go longer in times to come, if you are able to enjoy the bright and beautiful side of running.
      I wish you all the best for your future adventures in running. Cheers.

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  3. Thanku for sharing your experience, very well written, I will keep these things in mind beofre going for an ultra

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