AT A GLANCE / MARCH 2022

Bindu Juneja

27 Indian ultra-runners participate in IAU Virtual Global Solidarity Run

Twenty-seven Indian ultra-runners participated in the 6-Hour IAU Virtual Solidarity Run 2022 held on March 20.

Originally 28 Indian runners were scheduled to participate in the 6-hour run. Manoj Bhat had to drop out due to injury.

Among women Bindu Juneja reported the most distance logged within the stipulated duration – 63.3 kilometres. Sandeep Kumar covered a distance of 81.2 km, the highest in the men’s category. Geeno Antony had the second highest mileage – 68.37 km.

Sandeep Kumar

Running in Surat, Sandeep found the familiarity of the place psychologically easy prompting him to push for high mileage. In 2020, during the same run, Sandeep had covered 79.5 km during the 6-hour period.

“ It was quiet in the early morning but after 8 AM heat and Sunday traffic started to rise,’’ he said. With barely one hour left for the time to finish, he found himself beset with injury. “ But I decided to continue,” he said.

For nutrition and hydration, he had gels, electrolytes, coconut water, lemonade, banana, oats biscuits and peanut butter.

Sunil Chainani, Amar Singh Devanda, Bindu Juneja, Gorkha Ram, Velu P, Rakesh Saran and Om Prakash (Dany) Saran

Running in Bengaluru, Bindu Juneja had the company of five male runners from among those enlisted to run. “ We were to run in the outer loop of Kanteerava Stadium. Initially, the stadium staff were reluctant to allow us to run for six hours. We thought we would run for the first few hours there and then move out. But eventually, we ended up running in the stadium throughout,” she said.

“ I had a plan and followed it till the end. The weather was relatively good,” Bindu said.

For company, she had ultra-runners P. Velu, Amar Singh Devanda (the national record holder in 100 km and 24-hour), Gorkha Ram, Rakesh Saran and Dany Saran.

Asha Singh
Geeno Antony

Sunil Chainani, Bengaluru-based runner and formerly a member of the Athletics Federation of India’s ultra-running committee, also kept the runners company for the first three hours.

Asha Singh, running in a park in Lucknow, managed to cover a distance of 61.86 km during the stipulated time. Last week, she had participated in the 100 km race at Tuffman Stadium Run in Chandigarh. But the race was cancelled mid-way because of technical glitches in timing. There, she had covered a distance of 75 km before the race was called off.

During the 6-hour period, temperatures in Lucknow touched 36 degrees Celsius. Asha’s husband Bajrang Singh provided support to her during the run.

The Indian runners were given T-shirts by NEB Sports.

Illustration: Shyam G Menon

Indian ultra-runners to participate in IAU Virtual Global Solidarity Run 2022

Twenty-eight ultra-runners from India – nine women and 19 male runners – will be participating in the six-hour IAU/AFI Virtual Global Solidarity Run 2022 to be held on March 19 and 20, 2022.

Alongside the IAU Virtual Solidarity Run 2022, the Athletic Federation of India (AFI) Virtual Global Solidarity Run will also be held. In the AFI run, 13 runners – 10 men and three women – will be participating.

“ The IAU 6 Hour Global Solidarity Run has been an overwhelming success and popular amongst the ultrarunners. An event that was initiated to bring the IAU family together during the pandemic has become a source of hope and a beacon of optimism for the global ultrarunning community,’’ IAU statement said quoting IAU General Secretary Hilary Walker.

Women ultra-runners participating in the IAU event include Asha Singh, Deepti Chaudhary, Anju Saini, Preeti Lala, Ashwini G and Shashi Mehta.

Among men, Binay Kumar Sah, Sandeep Kumar, Sunil Sharma, Velu Perumal, Geeno Antony, Gorkha Ram, Om Prakash Saran, Amar Singh Devanda and Vipul Kumar will be representing the country.

AFI runners include Badal Teotia, Munish Dev, Parveen Kumar Sangwan, Rakesh Kumar Saran, Manoj Bhat, Satpal Rayka, Deepak Chhillar, Amar Shiv Dev and Santosh Gowda among men and Bindu Juneja, Aparna Chaudhary and Shikha Pahwa among women.

As per the instructions issued by AFI, the runners are mandated to commence their 6-hour virtual run at 5:30 AM and end at 11:30 AM on March 20, 2022. They are to run with a GPS tracker device and are expected to give a screenshot of the tracker every hour.

The virtual event will be overseen by Dr Rajat Chauhan and Santosh Padmanabhan.

Eliud Kipchoge (This photo was downloaded from the athlete’s Facebook page and is being used here for representation purpose. No copyright infringement intended)

Kipchoge, Kosgei emerge winners at Tokyo Marathon

Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya won the men’s race at the Tokyo Marathon in a new course record of 2:02:40.

The time he took to cover the distance is as yet the fourth fastest in the history of the sport. Kipchoge’s performance was despite a wrong turn essayed by the lead pack just after the 10 kilometre-mark, an incident that would have affected the runners’ time and rhythm. The Tokyo Marathon was held on Sunday, March 6, 2022.

“ Kipchoge has now won 14 marathons overall, including nine World Marathon Major events and two Olympic marathons. With wins in Tokyo, London, Berlin, and Chicago, he joins Wilson Kipsang as the only men to have won four different WMM events since the series began in 2006. Only Boston and New York remain for Kipchoge to complete an unprecedented sweep,” the website letsrun.com said in its report on the Tokyo Marathon.

Second place in the men’s race went to Kenya’s Amos Kipruto (2:03:13). Tamirat Tola of Ethiopia (2:04:14) placed third. Although held in March 2022, the event was actually the delayed 2021 edition because that year’s race was postponed to be held in October 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and then again postponed to March 2022.

In the women’s race, top honours went to world record holder Brigid Kosgei of Kenya. She completed the race in 2:16:02, the third fastest time recorded yet for women. Ashete Bikere of Ethiopia (2:17:58) finished second while fellow Ethiopian, Goytom Gebrselase (2:18:18) placed third.

(The authors, Latha Venkatraman and Shyam G Menon, are independent journalists based in Mumbai.)

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