“Despite what seems like the extraordinary nature of these events, in the end, they make you even more human.”
My interview with Yadav Nilesh who won the 1st runners up MRR award for Best Ultramarathoner.
1. How does it feel to win the MRR award?
Till now I have never run an ultra race for any award or winning position. I purely ran for the experience. All I wanted was to see what it felt like to run 100 km. What does it take to survive and motivate others during the run. How does it feel to endure the pain, hunger and thirst till the finish line. The experience was unbelievable.
2. Tell us about your association with MRR.
Honestly speaking, I am not very active on MRR. However I found that there are many people who support other runners, motivate them ,cheer for them. I find this spirit really great. In the future I will try and join in for the MRR monthly long runs.
3. What are your goals for 2019?
In 2019, my goal is just to become a better version of myself. I will try and improve my pace. Most importantly I will try to run injury free and hopefully also find a running partner.
4. How do you suggest on improving the running scenario in India?
My suggestion to people is that whether it’s for 5 minutes or one hour, just try and run. Keep yourself active by living a healthy life style. Running is the most affordable sport unless of course you are signing up for multiple events. Otherwise just 15-30 minutes of running is enough to keep you going.
Title: Reborn on the Run
Author : Catra Corbett
There are times in life when you stumble upon things by accident and that turns out to be a much needed dose of inspiration.
I stumbled upon this book at a trail running event last month. It’s a memoir by Catra Corbett- an ultra-runner and the first American woman to run 100 miles or more on more than several occasions. She is also the first to run 212 miles in the Ozone wilderness and holds the fastest known double time for the 425-mile-long John Muir trail, completing it in 12 days, 4 hours and 57 minutes.
‘Reborn on the Run’ traces her journey from being a meth addictive who was busted for selling drugs to being reborn as a runner. Spending one night in prison was enough for her to set her life straight. Giving up her lifestyle that was dependent on drugs and abandoning her wild friends, she moves back to her mother’s place for a fresh start. She is introduced to running by her one ‘clean’ friend who pushes her to run a 10-km race. Hooked to the feel of the newly discovered runner’s high, Catra signs up for the San Francisco marathon. After which she goes on to conquer the most grueling ultra runs and trails including the daunting Western States Ultra.
The book takes the readers through Catra’s roller coaster journey in her life and also through some of the grueling races in California. We feel her pain as she runs on those forbidding terrains, encounters wild animals and harsh weather conditions. We feel her jubilance pulsating through her veins when she crosses that finish line. We feel her anguish when she loses her father and also her mother who was her sole cheer leader during her runs. We feel her agony when she enters into a bad marriage, during her loneliness and when her drug addict sister is enticed into the jaws of death.
Amidst these ups and downs, running becomes an ally and a getaway from her trauma. The running community becomes her family and Catra is more than addicted to this sport. Catra also mentions about her child abuse, unstable relationships and her discovery of her alter ego during her run which gives justice to the title.
Written in a compelling manner, Catra is candid and unabashedly honest. Her determination and grit comes through clearly while she embarks on those deadly and lonely wild terrains. Themes of pain, loss and love are touched upon here.
Every runner will resonate with each word in this book. It makes you realize that everything in life happens in order to shape you up into a person that you are today. In Catra’s case, being a drug addict eventually paved her way into becoming an ultra-runner.
A must read if you want that dose of an inspiration pill. An overdose of this one will still be rendered healthy. After all its the runner’s high!
The fifth amongst 8 siblings Prakash Wani was born in a simple lower middle class family in Pune. Their father was a hardworking farmer and mother worked as an Ayah in the nearby hospital to support the growing family. Though both parents were uneducated, they strived to provide the best possible Education to their children .
An Athletic kid, Prakash enjoyed participating in various sports right from his school days. His adventurous streak continued in College when he joined NCC (National Cadet Corps) even learning Gliding in 1973. In fact he was even selected as a General Duty Pilot courtesy NCC 😎. However, he did not join due to his mother’s reluctance.
Prakash went on to do his graduation in B.Com. During his final year, he got a job as a clerk in LIC. However when he was transferred to Daund, he quit choosing to focus on his graduation and higher studies.
In 1975 during the Emergency, after his MPSC (Maharashtra Public Service Commission) exams Prakash applied for the post of Sub Inspector. He was selected and sent for training to Nashik for 2 years. Subsequently he joined on duty at the Matunga Police Station in 1978 settling down in Sion with his wife Sushila. They were blessed with two children Arti and Sameer.
Meanwhile Prakash went from strength to strength climbing up the ladder in the Police Department- including a stint as Ambassador for United Nations for its Peace Keeping Mission in Kosovo in 2002-2003, eventually retiring as the ACP (Assistant Commissioner of Police) Crime Branch in 2012. However, thanks to his rigorous duty hours and constant postings he put on tons of weight hitting almost 100Kg 😑; his infrequent gymning sessions during his executive postings didn’t really make much of a difference.
Post retirement, after a bit of traveling with family, Prakash joined the Shamrao Vitthal Cooperative Bank as the Chief Security Officer in April 2012. On a site visit to Nashik, he felt some giddiness and immediately consulted a local Physician who advised for an in-depth health check-up. On returning to Mumbai, he consulted his family physician who put it down to Obesity advising him to lose weight. That served as a wake-up call and Prakash decided to shift focus on himself and his health. In fact he joined the local AF10 Gym at Chembur on 31st December itself 😁.
In the Gym, Prakash met Marathoner Girish Bindra who was instrumental in getting him into running. Prakash had always aspired to run the Mumbai Marathon ever since its inception. Girish advised him to run the 10K at the Run India Run event in July 2013 in Borivali so as to qualify for the SCMM (Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon). He even helped him to get his registration done. He went on to finish his first 10K in 1:03:52 and the Runner was born 😃.
Prakash did his first HM (Half Marathon) at the SHHM (Satara Hill Half Marathon) in September 2013 in 2:37:07 followed by another HM at the Goa River Marathon in 2:32: 09 and finally the SCMM finishing in 2:19:35. He even postponed his 60th birthday celebration that year as it clashed with the SCMM 😀. He got his PB (Personal Best) at the SCMM in 2015 finishing in 2:03:31 🤗.
In 2015 Prakash Wani met MRR Admins Bijay Nair and Viv Menon at the monthly Bandra-NCPA Run. He also met Pedong Express-Roshni Rai who was organizing her first Half Marathon in Darjeeling from Kalimpong to Pedong in a bid to scout and support local talent. Prakash immediately pitched in sponsoring the medals for the event and registered for the same. He finished the same in 2:53 well within the cut off despite the elevation and hilly terrain.
Ever since Prakash Wani is the go to person for most Runners and Event Organizers; whether it is a Security issue faced by a female runner, a sponsorship issue, support for a needy runner or a permission issue faced by an Organizer. Always willing to give a helping hand, this warm hearted Runner is perpetually available to the Running community 😊.
Thereafter Prakash has participated in 40+ 10K and 25+ HMs. Besides winning couple of podiums at various events; the latest being the GSC (Goregaon Sports Club) Spirit of Sport Run in February 2019, he has also been Race Ambassador of different events like Nagpur Marathon, Veterun, Pachmarhi Marathon etc.
As far as his training is concerned, Prakash gets his training advice from Coaches Raj Vadgama and Girish Bindra preferring to train on his own at his home grounds of BARC. He runs thrice weekly including variations like speed workouts, hill repeats and tempo runs besides doing Pranayam and Stretching thrice weekly. He also goes to the Gym once a week.
Prakash states that he has observed with the Budding running culture, there is increased health awareness and increasing running events. Overenthusiastic newbies have a tendency of going overboard participating in one event after the other resulting in injury. He is very proud of the fact that till date he hasn’t really suffered from any Running injury.
He signs off stating “If one is not an Elite, one should just compete with oneself. After all finishing a Race without injury is an achievement in itself 😁.”