Tlanding Wahlang from Meghalaya registered the best timing from among Indians participating in the 2019 Trail World Championships held at Miranda do Corvo in Portugal on Saturday, June 8.
According to a report available on the Facebook page of Run Meghalaya, he finished 114 among men and 129 overall, covering the 44km course in four hours 30 minutes. Kieren D’Souza had the second best timing from the Indian contingent – 4:37; he placed 133 among men and 156 overall. The report has been credited to Sandeep Kumar and Dr. Carolyne Lyngdoh, who were support team for the Indian runners. The report had Tlanding’s photo and the following caption: This was the moment for Tlanding Wahlang. A poor farmer from Shngimawlein a distant village in South West Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya, he braved all odds to get to Portugal and he gave his heart and his legs to compete with the best in the world of trail running. His story of hardship and strife to try and earn enough to feed himself and his family is one of inspiration that triumphs all others because he succeeded inspite of it all. He is our hero.
Tlanding is a familiar face on the Indian marathon circuit. A regular member of the Run Meghalaya group frequenting major marathons in the country, he has finished on the podium in his age category at multiple events. At the 2019 Tata Mumbai Marathon (TMM), he had finished second overall in the full marathon for amateurs with timing of 2:40:53. In his age category (40-44 years) he had placed first (for more on Tlanding and Run Meghalaya please click on this link: https://shyamgopan.com/2019/01/23/2019-tmm-run-meghalaya-scores-again/) Kieren is among promising young Indian long distance runners; he has a known preference for trail and training in the mountains.
The Indian team for the 2019 Trail World Championships included Kieren D’Souza, Ullas Narayana, Tlanding Wahlang, Rajasekar Rejendran and Radhey Kumar. There were no Indian women participating this time, the participants’ list available on the event website showed.
As per the earlier mentioned report by the support team (posted on Run Meghalaya Facebook page), the performance in full of the Indian team is as follows: Tlanding – 4:30 / 114 among men / 129 overall, Kieren – 4:37 / 133 men / 156 overall, Radhey – 4:51 / 148 men / 190 overall, Ullas – 5:06 / 167 men / 228 overall, Rajasekar – 5:39 / 194 men / 316 overall.
The event held under the auspices of The International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU) and the International Trail Running Association (ITRA) was organized by the Trilhos Dos Abrutes. According to an official statement available on the event website ahead of race, 411 athletes had registered to participate; 186 women and 233 men, representing 53 delegations.
Miranda do Corvo is a historic town in Portugal. The maximum altitude is 1000m. Coimbra is the fourth largest urban center in Portugal (after Lisbon, Porto and Braga). The athletes taking part in the Trail World Championships had to tackle a distance of 44km involving 2120m of ascent and 1970m of descent.
(The author, Shyam G Menon, is a freelance journalist based in Mumbai.)