At the 2018 International Association of Ultra Running (IAU) 24 Hour Asia & Oceania Championships held in Taipei in the first week of December, Ullas Narayana covered 250.3 kilometers and bagged a bronze medal, India’s first international medal in ultra-running, an official statement from Athletics Federation of India (AFI), said.
Competing in the same event, Sunil Sharma completed 202.6 kilometers to help India secure a bronze medal in the team event.
According to information on the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) website, twenty-one women and 25 men were slated to compete in the championship, representing Australia, Chinese Taipei, Japan, India, Jordan, Mongolia, New Zealand and The Philippines. India and Jordan were marking their debut at the continental event. In all, 65 runners – including those competing in the open race – were scheduled to take part.
Days after the event in Taipei, at the NEB 24 Hour Stadium Run held under the aegis of AFI over December 15-16 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi, Apoorva Chaudhary created a new national best covering 176.8 kilometers in the women’s 24-hour event.
It was only her third ultramarathon.
She became the fourth Indian woman to run more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) in 24 hours after Meenal Kotak (175.4 kilometers), Hema Saini (172.3 kilometers) and Aparna Choudhary (169.2 kilometers).
The AFI statement also informed that Pranaya Mohanty from Bengaluru – in another 24 hour-race – had become the third Indian to exceed 200 kilometers in the men’s category, covering 206.8 kilometers.
(The author, Shyam G Menon, is a freelance journalist based in Mumbai.)