Comrades Marathon 2010 – An Experience of a Lifetime

This is an initial draft of my experience at Comrades Marathon 2010. I will be editing this, updating with photos and stuff soon, keep checking back for more updates in a day or two.

Race Summary:ย Distance: 89.28KM ย ย Finish Time: 11:56:29

More details and splits for me are available on the results page here.

comrades_tanvir

Why am I in South Africa, running the Comrades, an 89K run (or more precisely 89.28KM in 2010) between Pietermaritzburg and Durban. It is considered crazy enough in India to run just a Marathon. Running is still not big here, at least the long distance one. Just an example from the 2010 Mumbai Marathon would be sufficient to illustrate this, there were 1100 starters for the 42K, and just about 650 finished in the allocated 6 hours. Things are getting better though, people are developing a taste for the endurance, more and more races are coming up all over India even though they are small as far as participation figures go. In fact, there are only two leagues in India, the Big one with just Mumbai Marathon to fill that slot, and multiple small ones all with less than 100 42K finishers. After having got a few marathons under my belt, it was time to break some more limits. An ultra marathon would be the logical next choice and narrowing down the candidate to one for my first ultra was not a difficult decision. India just has one big ultra, the Bangalore Ultramarathon, with runs of 50K, 75K and 100K. However, the route is pretty uninspiring from what I have heard, aย 6.5K up and down pounding on a trail route around Bangalore. So, that left me looking at something beyond the borders, and well, there was Comrades Marathon, the world’s largest ultramarathon by a large margin. To compare it with some other large ultramarathons, particularly in the USA which is like a big hub of ultrarunning, the largest ultramarathon in the US has just about 1,000 finishers which is the JFK 50 Miler. I believe another ultra in South Africa, the Two Oceans Marathon in Capetown, a 56KM run, might just be the second largest ultramarathon in the world. Comrades? Most years see participation in the range of 13-14,000. That’s how big it is, and since 2010 was supposed to be a special year for South Africa with the FIFA World Cup happening around the same time as Comrades, the enthusiasm amongst runners was amazing, which resulted in about 23,500 registrations, including about 1,100 international registrations.

The Training

To be updated with training mileage details from Jan-May. Ultra training runs done were as follows:

  • IIT Kanpur 50K (Feb)
  • Nainital Hill Training Run 56K (Apr)
  • Dehradun 40K (May, target was 56K)

The Cutoff

The Comrades Marathon is a legend not only for its history, but also for some of its traditions. The run has a 12:00 hour overall cutoff for the finish time as measured by the Gun time from start. The moment it is 11:59, the chief race official goes to the finish line with his team and with a gun, and precisely at 12:00 hours from start, he fires the gun indicating the official closure of the race, and his support staff immediately blocks the finish line with any runner after that left to rue his luck. The last person to finish, and the first person to not finish get instant fame in South Africa, with their joy and anguish spread wide in the local dailies. The 12 hours cutoff at the finish line is not the only cutoff, there are five more cutoffs at intermediate points which the runners have to go through on time, or face the agony of being taken off and sent to the finish by an express shuttle service if they fail to make it on time.

The finish on the “down run” happens inside the Sahara Kingsmead stadium which runners enter and then run almost the entire length of the track before finishing. The Comrades Marathon alternates every year in direction. A “down run” starts from Pietermaritzburg and finishing in Durban, while an “up run” is the other way round, starting from Durban and finishing in Maritzburg. The route has 5 big hills on the way, the Polly Shorts, Inchanga, Bothas, Fields, and Cowies in that order for the down run, and reverse for the up run. Each of these hills are killers, some of them as long as 2KM. And if you are thinking that the down run is all down, thats not true as well, the Big 5 are very much there, and there are many more smaller hills which you have to have to encounter all along the route. Check out the official description of the route here.

The Indian Perspective – First Finisher Awaited

Which I was researching more about the Comrades Marathon, I just thought about checking how many Indians had run this event before. Or to put it better, how many runners have come over from India and run Comrades. I checked up the results for each of the last 84 years of Comrades on their website (yes, that was exhausting). Answer? In the last 84 runs, there was not a single finisher from India. In fact, an Indian had come close to finishing last year. Amit Sheth from Mumbai was there at Comrades 2009, and he made it all the way to the 45th Cutting checkpoint on the Comrades route, which comes at the 82KM mark and was to be reached in 11:15 hours from start. Amit was late at that cutoff, and hence had to stop there.

The 2010 Comrades not only inspired me to be there, but many more folks from India. In all, there were 9 runners who registered from India. Five of them were from Mumbai (Amit Sheth, last years participant at Comrades, his wife Neepa, Sanjay Dalal, Satish Gujaran and Daniel Carrol), one from Chennai (Shahid Kandrikar), and three of us from Delhi NCR (Rahul Verghese, me, and Ramesh who had to sadly cancel his plans due to an injury). We had established a Facebook group for runners from India interested to run the 2010 Comrades, and that was the medium through which we were able to connect with each other. Later we shared notes on how our training was going, plans for our long runs and where we were planning to do them.

To Durban, the Expo, and the Bus Tour

I guess everyone of the 8 runners from India landed up in Durban via the Emirates Airlines which goes via Dubai. The Mumbai folks were the first to reach by 25th, me and Rahul turned up on 26th followed by Shahid on 27th. We had managed to find a decent hotel by the Durban Beachfront, the Tropicana through the official travel partner for Comrades, African Links Tours. It was quite comfortably located in central Durban, with the Expo area, and the finish area at Sahara Kingsmead Stadium just about 20 minutes walking distance from the hotel. We did not spend lazing around in Durban other than the Expo, probably around 4 hours on 27th and another hour on 28th, the day of the bus tour. The Expo had shoes from Reebok, ASICS, New Balance, stuff from GU like Gels and other supplements, Garmin, Polar, etc. Basically anything and everything running related was there. We skipped the official bus tour and instead went with Karan/Meena who had invited us for the route tour inpromptu at the Expo. Karan was a veteran of 15+ Comrades and provided us many words of wisdom all the way. We stopped by the Comrades “Wall of Honour”, which has plaques of former Comrades greats, and people can get their ones made and put on after they are a finisher.

The Night Before and the Race Day Morning

The good thing about staying in an “official” Comrades hotel besides a nice location was that they had everything we needed. The “Pasta Dinner” was specially arranged for us the night before. My race day kit was already arranged and lying all decked up in the room, ready to be stepped into in the morning. There were buses arranged for us to go to the starting point in Pietermaritzburg which were to leave at 3 am. By the time it was 8 pm I was already in my bed to get some sleep. Morning alarm went up at 2 am, and then there was a specially arranged breakfast for all Comrades runners staying in the hotel (and there were lots of them from all around South Africa and the world). The bus left sharp at 3 am, and we were there at Pietermaritzburg by 4:30 am.

At the Starting Line in Pietermaritzburg

The first thing we needed to do when we reached was to relieve the pressure we had built up doing all the hydrating in the morning. There were a lot of mobile units all around, but heck, the queues were taking infinite time to move, and by the time we were done, it was already 5:10 am, just 20 minutes to go for the 5:30 am start. We hurried to the starting area, which was broken up into seeding groups or pens starting from the elite ‘A’ group down to the ‘H’ seeding group.

As all the runners took their positions, the atmosphere was festive and electrifying. It is difficult to imagine running in fancy costumes and stuff in an ultramarathon. I guess doing this in a smaller distance run is fine, but when you have to do an 89K run, you have to make sure that everything from your underwear to your socks is not going to be a source of trouble later on. There were folks who were dressed up in traditional Zulu dress, and there were even runners decked up as a Rhinoceros (supporting a save Rhinoceros cause), which I learnt later was an 11KG gear! It was cold, with temperatures at about 6 degrees C, and most of the runners were wearing an additional layer which was provided with the goody bag. I had another full sleeves tee over my running tee too, and the packed atmosphere at the start was keeping us warm too.

The music at the start line included the Chariots of Fire theme followed by the Shosholoza song, to which all the runners sang along. I have to say that both are really inspiring, particularly the Shosholoza song, even when I do not know its meaning, will probably look for a translation later. The time was ticking by on the huge clock on the tower near the start line. The gun went off at 5:30 with huge cheers from the crowd. It was time to walk to the starting line, since running was not even thinkable with so many runners around. I heard later that there were about 16,500 starters at the race. It took me all of 5 minutes and 15 seconds to reach the starting line, time which had already been counted towards my race since they time it by the gun here, even though the timing chips are used here to prevent any fraud on the way.

The Run – As it Happened

I do not know how to even start describing the 89KM experience which is the Comrades Marathon. My longest training run had been a 56KM run in the hills of Nainital, which had taken me 7:38, a pace slower than the pace required to finish Comrades Marathon within the 12 hours time limit. And here I was, on a route which was even more brutal, and requiring to run a further 33KM, and that too at a faster pace. But as they say here at Comrades, you run the first half of the race with your body, and the second half with your mind. No amount of training makes you ready for this kind of run, from dawn to dusk, a journey which was going to take me the edge of my limits, or what I thought they were, till now. It would be a humbling experience, where at the end of the day, you may just see a new “you” emerge out of the shadows of the old one, one which knows no bounds of what you can achieve.

The First 21K – From Start to Highest Point

We started out from Pietermaritzburg, and it was still dark with the sun yet to come up. The streets looked well lighted and though I had heard stories of people falling over each other in the darkness in previous runs, it looked quite okay. It is said that you should keep your second layer on till you are through with the descent at the first hill, the Polly Shortts, at about 8K, so even if it was warm at the start, no one was in hurry to get to strip down to their vests. Polly Shortts in the down run is a no brainer, you run over her nice and easy, but this hill can really kill you on the up run when it comes near the finish. With such a large crowd, it is also difficult to think about your own pacing, you basically go with the flow. Besides, anything else would be foolish particularly for novices like me. As we went up and down a few hills, it was only a mass of runners visible as far as I could see, flowing like a gentle river over the road. I was just trying to hold myself back, particularly on the downhills to protect my quads, which were really going to be tested when we hit the big downhills in the second half. The 21K mark was reached as we hit the Umlaas Road, which is also considered the highest point of the route, but which should not be mistaken to mean that the hills are over. I guess it would have probably taken me about 2:35 or so to hit the 21K mark. I remember thinking about it and talking to a fellow runner too that the first 2 hours of running felt like running 20 minutes. That’s what the atmosphere and the crowd can do to you, time flies, at least at the start.

The Comrades Marathon has got pacing groups, popularly referred to as the “Bus”. So, their is a 10-hour bus, and 11-hour one, and a 12-hour one, and the goal of each bus leader (or driver) is to make it to the finish just a few minutes before the designated time for that bus. I did not really have any plans to get onto a bus (12 hours one was the only one that had any relevance for me). I had met Vlam, the very popular and much admired “Bus Driver” for the 12 hour bus at the Comrades Expo, and I asked him what his target was for the finish. The energetic, orange haired fellow replied a casual “11:52”. He had already done his maths for the run and sounded confident. So, I had this thought that if the 12-hour bus did every pass by me, I would just hop onto it, and try to hang on till the finish. I noticed the 11 hour “Runners World” bus pass me by in the first 21KM, and it looked pretty small at that point with very few passengers on board.

The Halfway at 45K – Beginning of the Mental Battle

The halfway point is a very important point in your Comrades Marathon. Not only does it have the 2nd cutoff point, it is also a leading indicator of what you can expect from the race. If you are already feeling trashed, done and dusted, at halfway, then it will not take much time for your race to be over. The halfway also comes after a never-ending climb up the Inchanga hill, and the only option on that hill is to walk, almost the whole 4KM of it, as fast as you can. If you walk slow, every minute that you might lose here may take away that critical minute you might just need towards the end for whatever you are targeting. The halfway comes soon after you are over Inchanga and going down to Drummond. I reached the halfway (45K) cutoff point at 5:43. My online Comrades Coach had this as 5:15 or 5:20 for a sub-12 hour finish (or rather, an 11:40 one, keeping some margin). Before the race, I was thinking it would be okay if I can make the halfway at anything between 5:15 and 5:30, but here I was halfway at 5:43. I realized that I would need a pretty solid second half to keep me in the race, but I was confident of doing it, at least at that point in the race.

I was getting a lot of encouraging cheers from the Indian community amongst the spectators. Durban in particular has a lot of people of Indian origin, and they could either make it out from my face, or from the IPL Team India T-shirt that I was wearing. By the way, running is huge in South Africa, and running is similarly huge amongst the settled Indian community in South Africa. The Comrades brochure had the information that some India’s surnames, in particular “Naidoo”, “Pillay” and “Govender” were the most popular surnames amongst all the particpants, and “Naidoo” was right on top of that list. I would guess about a couple of thousand runners with Indian origin taking part in this year’s Comrades.

Second Half – Its all Downhill from here

My quads were hurting by the time I went through the halfway, and even though I was stretching occasionally, I realized it will need something more than that to keep things on track. Fortunately, like a divine intervention, a medical stop came up right after the halfway. I stopped to get some work done for my upper thigh and quads, and the guy at that stop was real good. I was almost crying out in pain with the way that guy was going through my legs, but he definitely knew what he was doing. When my running restarted, I was feeling a lot better, and indebted to that unknown guy who helped me out.

I know that the first half is considered more hilly and all, but I could not help notice that it was really in the second half when all the big hills started coming. Right after Drummond were some big climbs, and the strategy was same as before, any significant climb, walk up them as fast as possible loosing minimal time. I was having fun running slowly down the downhills, unlike what people say that going downhill in the second half is big pain. What I found was that is was impossible to run over the uphills, not because of the legs, but because of the heart. I was out of breath running up any small hill, so it was a better strategy to walk over them. The heart was not a factor going downhills, and I was able to manage going down them slowly, running all the time. Any flat sections were similarly covered running, with no walking at all.

This summary would be incomplete without a mention of the crowd support we had, all the way. Right from the starting line, out of Pietermaritzburg, to the finish at Durban, there were a constant line of supporters along the route. Some of them had come for cheering their family members or friends running the race, and were taking alternate routes to meet the runners at various intermediate points (the main route was out of bounds for any vehicle). Then there was crowd who lived along the route and were out on the roads to cheer the runners on. Many had stuff with them too, like orange slices, boiled potatoes, which they were freely offering to the runners. Some were enjoying their favorite beers by the roadsides, and there was no shortfall of comments like “you are looking good, ladies”, or “you are the champions”. Those folks were really a big source of inspiration for all of us. There were kids, entire families, some even setting up their barbeques by the side of the road and having a great day.

The water stops were excellent, frequent, and well stocked. Initial stops had water and Energade, while in the second half, there was Cola, and some variety of a Soda drink too. I was having a GU Gel pack at the hour every hour, but after having 8-9 of them in the first 9 hours, they started giving me an uncomfortable feeling in my stomach, and I switched to natural stuff like potatoes and oranges.

Towards the Finish Line – The last few hours

I would consider the last part of this race as the point from where about 21KM were left to finish the race, which basically means about 68KM into the race. At some point before that, I asked what a reasonable finish time sounded like for us, and he said we should be good for a 11:40. So, I was running under the impression that everything is cool, and as they say “pain is inevitable, pride permanent”. Pain management is they key to the race, you know you are going to feel it, big time, but your mind has to be strong enough to make you move forward through the pain (as long as that pain is not coming from something broken). However, as I approached this last big segment of the race, I realized I had about 3 hours to do it. I was still cool with that, of course running a half-marathon in 3 hours sounds easy, right? So, I just kept moving forward, with my average pace for the race now well into the 7:45/KM zone. I needed another working on my quads now, and this time it was a turn of a pretty young lady to do this. Well, she applied some kind of oil this time, and rubbed it in just so slightly, and had me on my way wondering whether that was any good at all. I was not sure if that really worked, but there was some relief.

As I went into the last 2 hour zone to the 12 hour limit, i.e. after 10 hours of running, I realized that I still had about 14KM to do. This is the point I started panicking a bit. I had seen my pace go into the 9min/KM zone at the end of my ultra training runs when you get hills and your legs are pretty much gone, and here I was, still needing to do another two hours in that kind of situation. The time had come, this was it, I had to run all the flats, I had to run all the downhills, and I still had to walk all the hills that came along as fast as I could to churn out an average pace of less that 9min/KM. My brain was into ovedrive doing all the calculations on one hand, and trying to keep my body moving on the other. This was where those limits were to be broken, this was where a new “you” was to be discovered. This was where you had to do things you had never thought you could do, into a race and past the 10th hour of running. This was it, the make it or break it point. There were runners who had given up hope and sitting by the roadside. There were a few who were being taken to the hospitals in the stretchers. I had started getting a buzzing sensation in my hand as I walked, but as long as it hadn’t reached my head, I figured I was okay.

Another dilemma with all the calculations was that the hills were totally unexpected since I did not know the route much. The moment things started looking comfortable for a decent finish, along came a big hill, taking maybe 2-3 minutes of walking, and messing up the calculations again. So, besides the physical pain, things were getting on my nerves as well, and I managed to lose my patience at one of the stops when the runners in front of me did not move fast enough. Silly, I realize now, but at that point it is all crazy. However, I managed to cover up some time in the 11th hour, and that left me with about 1 hour 2 minutes to do the final 7KM to the finish, still not comfortable. Somewhere in this final 7KM stretch, the 12 hour bus also passed me by, and though I could not locate Vlam, there must have been about 200-300 runners who passed me by in one go as I had stopped to just stretch my legs a bit. Same story in this final hour, the moment you get comfortable and start expecting a finish within 12 hours, another hill ruins your pacing.

Finish Line – Finally, Finally

It must have been when the final two kilometers were left that I finally got that realization that I was going to finish it in time. I must have been left with about 20 minutes to do that distance, and I knew I could now do that walking, which I did for a 500 meter stretch before I entered the much awaited, and longed dreamed of Sahara Kingsmead Stadium. There was no stopping anyone once inside the stadium, everyone was running, and the joy was written large on every face I saw. I felt like crying as I reached for the finish line after thinking of just what had taken to do this, but I held my tears for later. It was an emotional moment, the kind of which I rarely feel. It was about 3 minutes to the gun as I crossed the finish line in 11:56:29, just 3.5 minutes before the 12 hour cutoff time. Post the finish, I just waited there to see that really torturous tradition of the 12 hour gun going off and the gates being suddently closed for all the runners. Their names will not be recorded, it would be as if they never ran. Brutal, but part of the Comrades history and traditions.

At the finishers area for International runners, I met Rahul, Shahid and Danny. Shahid had to bail out at 60K due to a back issue, but this is what the race is like. The smallest niggles can take you out. You may run though them in a half marathon or a marathon, but this is 89K though brutal terrain, and it all comes down to the day to find out if it would be yours.

Indian Runners – How they did

The Indian contingent did pretty well, with seven of us finishing within the 12 hours cutoff from the eigth who started. Satish was the first one in at 10:58 to secure a fantastic bronze medal. Rest of us got the Vic Clapham medal given to runners who finish between 11 to 12 hours. Rahul was the next one in at 11:33, Danny at 11:40, Amit and Neepa together in an amazing 11:50, Sanjay in 11:51 and I rounded up the list at 11:56.

Next mornings newspaper had my name in it. Yes, thats right. In fact, “The Mercury” had the name of all the 14,300 or so runners who finished the race out of the 16,500 that started. That comes out to be 85% finishers which is very similar to the finisher percentage most of the years.

Final Thoughts

So, that rounded off what was a wonderful and humbling experience for me. Will I be back here, I do not know. Would I want to do this another time particularly the “up” run, sure, but I would also want to do different races for different experiences. Maybe in the months ahead, I would like to cut down on my mileage and focus on shorter distances and try to improve my pace. Its all still in the air in the future. I still have to settle down and give time to myself and let this all soak in. Running will continue, that’s one thing you can certainly bet one.

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42 thoughts on “Comrades Marathon 2010 – An Experience of a Lifetime”

  1. Dear Tanvir,

    Congratulations for completing the Comrades! You have written a great account of your experience!

    I want to train for the Comrades. I am 51 years old.
    The races I have completed so far are:
    ADHM 2012 – 2 Hrs. 20 Minutes
    ADHM 2013 – 1 Hrs. 57 Minutes
    SCCM 2014 – 4 Hrs. 50 Minutes

    Can you please guide me on the training required? Is a training plan available?

    Best Regards,
    Dr. Atul Razdan

  2. Congratulations!
    This is a fantastic write-up. I also did my first Comrades last year (2010) and it was an amazing experience – even better than I thought it would be. Hope you will return for the uprun this year (2011) so that you can get your back-to-back medal.

    Naasief
    Cape Town
    South Africa

  3. Wow! You are amazing! Reading thru this, I almost cried at the end… I guess this is a memory that you will carry thru your life as testimonial to your capacity to strive against all odds.
    I feel something close to veneration for you!
    All the best for your future endeavours… I look forward to reading about them.

  4. Tanvir,
    As far as the song goes – the Zulu word Shosholoza means go forward or make way for the next man.

    The lyrics of the song vary, as do the transcriptions. Here is one example:
    Shosholoza
    Ku lezontaba
    Stimela siphum’ eSouth Africa
    Wen’ uyabaleka
    Wen’ uyabaleka
    Ku lezontaba
    Stimela siphum’ eSouth Africa

    A rough translation:
    Move fast
    on those mountains
    train from South Africa.
    You are running away
    on those mountains
    train from South Africa.

    The original version has the country name Rhodesia instead of South Africa, since this song was sung by migrant labourers from Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) travelling on the train down to the mines in the Transvaal.

  5. Tanvir,

    Well done with your finish and to the rest of Team India – you guys will be back again as you have to now do the “up run”!
    I ran with Daniel Carroll from just over half-way and was hoping to meet up with him on the flight back to Dubai, but I had to postpone my trip as I had a minor medical problem to sort. Please would you ask him to contact me or leave a contact address on this site.

    Thanks & regards,
    Alistair

  6. Tanvir,

    Congratulations! Grt Job. Well done. It is inspiring to read the post. You have narrated it well. You made all of us proud with this great achievement. I wish you good luck & good health for doing more such runs in future.

    Rgds,
    Namburi

  7. Devesh: Thanks. I tried to put pen to paper before the ink got dry, and it just kept coming out!

    Arun: Thanks

    Param: I have heard some of the pros saying that you just train for something like a 42K, after that distance it is all a mental game, true indeed.

    Sam: Thanks

    Priyanka: I would round off my comments by quoting an oft repeated analogy. For men, running ultras can very closely be compared with childbirth, its an arduous journey, and a relief when its over. And in a few months (or years), you may want to do it again ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Ravi A.: Yes, that injury totally wrecked my schedule, took out about 3 weeks in all in the prime training period.

    Navin: Thanks in particular to you, Navin. You have been a source of great encouragement all along this journey! I wish I had a camera with my while running, could have captured a lot more of the fantastic atmosphere, but in hind thought, I might have missed the cutoff then ๐Ÿ™‚

    Chaitanya: Do it atleast once in your life, it is worth all the hassles which come along every step when planning for something like this!

    Usha: Thanks!

    Rahul A.: Thanks, just posted the photos I took and some official race day photos too.

    Kingshuk: It was fantastic meeting you in Mumbai. Lets see if we can meet again in 2011 run. All the best for next year.

    Dilip: All my training stuff is there on this blog in several posts, I guess I have shared every high, and every low which I encountered during my training. The up run is the same route as the down run, but around 87KM instead of 89KM. People say that down run is tougher since it is very hard on your quads. I personally fell for me down is probably easier, but even the down as something like 21KM of uphill!

    Sanjai: Thanks, it was indeed fun to have so many fellow Indians on board for this attempt, and it was a source of inspiration too. We kept bumping into each other, since our running pace was not too dissimilar. In fact, last 4 of us finished within 6 minutes of each other!

  9. Sundaresan: Thanks for following us all the way! Any chance to follow you up in SA some day?

    Ashok: Thanks! Greater glory? Maybe more fun every year, different time, different place ๐Ÿ™‚

    Manoj: Thanks for taking the time. I hope I can make it to Bangalore this year, just 50K though ๐Ÿ™‚

    Sunil: Thanks!

    Bhasker: I hope to be there in Bangalore this year. Hope the momentum at Comrades and Ultras in general continues from India. This is like a breakthrough year.

    Ravi: It was emotional towards the end. I could not hold my tears.

    Roshni: Thanks. I hope more folks from India continue to ultra tradition worldwide. You game?

    Nitin: The real runs happen on the road outside, not the treadmill. The biggest challenge in running the 89K was just getting out of my house. Once that is done, I can assure you, rest is easy. Thanks!

  10. Hey Tanvir,

    Fabulous RR and CONGRATULATIONS for running an awesome race! It’s truly amazing how torturous running can be and how that very fact makes us love it even more.

    Enjoy your accomplishment…you’ve truly earned it.

  11. Awesome achievement Tanvir. I just could’nt stop till the end of this most inspiring narrative.

    You have displayed “what thinking big can get ” …and that such high endurance events do tend to bring out a different person out of you.

    Great Effort once again.

  12. HATS OFF TO …..SATISH , RAHUL , AMIT & NEEPA , DANNY AND SANJAY …TOO….U GUYS HAVE made the running community in INDIA immensely proud

    way to go….cheers….

    Devesh

  13. Hi tanvir

    superb narrative and write up………being a runner it felt as if i had traded places with u for a while….defintely had a lump in my throat going through the conclusion and post finish narrative…..

    HATS OFF…….

    Devesh

  14. Fantastic run Tanvir. You have made us Indians proud with the awesome effort. With more training you will definitely improve further. Once again congrats to all seven of you who had the tricolour flying. Indeed as in the words of Roger Bannister who said, “The Human Spirit is Indomitable”.

  15. Hi Tanvir,
    First of all many many congratulations. After going through your write up one realize toughness of Comrade Marathon. Till 2009 nobody from India was there at finish line, this year many Indians did. We are proud of you. Though I don not know you personally, please share your training details. From the first year I participated in Mumbai Marathon. Your experience will in valuable for we inspiring runners for Comrades. How you analyze the route, this year it was coming down. How do you feel about going up? will it be the same, slightly tougher or easy.
    Regards
    Dilip Patil

  16. Hi Tanvir,
    Firsty millions of tonnes of congratulations for a superb heart warming performance at the Comrades. You and the rest of our Running Comrades have done India proud. I do hope that next year I can participate and emulate you guys. Keep up the fantastic work and I hope others get inspired by your feat! Bye for now

    Warm Regards,
    Kingshuk Mukherjee
    Mumbai

  17. Super run Tanvir, Congratulations !! and a fantastic report… waiting for the photos with the medal !!
    Now I am inspired to run the Comrades myself someday…

    Cheers!
    Rahul

  18. It felt amazing to read about your experiences Tanvir. I am so inspired to run in the Comrades myself now.

    Congratulations on this incredible feat!

  19. Hey Tanvir,

    This is brilliant stuff man. You’re experience of the Comrades is heart-felt and had to be special. That truly comes out in your write-up. Honestly, in the weeks leading up to the race (during your taper period perhaps), i already started to anticipate reading your post run write-up. Because i knew that you guys would do it and it’s these write-ups that let you express your inner experiences and let others be a part of it. Stunning stuff man, enjoyed it thoroughly. Thanks so much.

    You are a proud ultra runner amongst the first Indian to have travelled and finished. That’s another huge accomplishment man. Congratulations on that too, to all you guys.

    Enjoy these days ahead dude. Relax, take it easy and celebrate hard too buddy. Take care.

    Love and Regards,
    Navin Sadarangani

  20. You have joined the league of supermen, Tanvir!

    Last year you were talking of whether your injury will allow you to run a marathon, and here you have gone and done the unimaginable – to be among the first Indians to conquer Comrades.

    I am sure this incredible feat will help you achieve your goals in the other compartments of your life – if you could run Comrades, you can do anything.

  21. Veni, Vidi, Vici!

    That surely sums up your endeavor. Congratulations!

    And what a wonderful narration, bro! It feels as if the track is right their in front of us. Man, we’ve just been to South Africa! Quite vivid. It’s a memorable moment, not just for you but for all us Indian supporters too. You just made a bunch of your friends so proud. It’s all the more inspiring to know how you managed to reach for the event and it’s very uncommon to find such grit and determination. You are the “New kid on the block”!!
    Insurmountable!Insuperable! Well done!

    Nitin (Planned to run a marathon about 5 times, never got enough courage)

  22. Mr. Ranvir,
    Congratulations!!! It was wonderful to go through your write up. I felt like I was running the entire course of 89.26km while reading your write up. I could literally feel the happiness of touching the finish line. Bravo! Happy running.
    Roshni.

  23. Excellent description Tanvir. I loved reading every bit of it and am inspired to
    start running again – not for 89km for sure !!!
    I felt like crying when I came to end of your account – I can understand how
    you would have felt.
    Amazing man !!. Truly – man does not know his limits himself – after all its one of the finest creation of the AllMighty !!! and you have proved it convincingly enough !!

  24. Congratulations Tanvir – well done! And a great write-up too – will certainly help people like me who hope to run this sometime in the future.

    Echoing what Jaideep has said you should run the Bangalore Ultra. While the loops can get a bit boring(specially if you have done it a few times before) the trail is quite nice. Also, you see other runners multiple times and this enable runners to cheer and encourage each other. Given the nascent stage of Ultra running in India this is an important factor.

  25. Hi Tanvir,
    Congratulations to you, Rahul, and entire Indian team, who dared to make an attempt.
    Keep it up,
    Sunil Arora

  26. Hey, I came back to read every line. It was wonderful, took me back to my own 78k in 12:07hrs at the Bangalore Ultra. But its amazing how much I agree with you on the Summary bit…
    Good luck with the speed runs… Thanks for the narrative!!

    Cheers,
    Manoj

  27. Great Show Tanvir, and a fantastic account of your experience. May you have the power to go on for greater glory.

  28. TANVIR …AWESOME MAN…..GREAT RUN SUPERB WRITEUP……….LAST YEAR AMIT SHETH HAD WRITTEN HIS EXPERIENCE. BY THE END OF IT WE HAD A LUMP IN OUR THROAT. THIS YEAR WE MONITORED THE 12 HR RUN BY ALL THE INDIANS AND YELLED A HURRAY WHEN ALL OF YOU WERE IN. YOU HAVE DONE INDIANS PROUD. HATS OFF TO YOU AND YOUR SEVEN RUNNING COLLEAGUES.

  29. Reiko: Bart finished in 11:33, so he was quite ahead of me otherwise I would have surely noticed. His wife btw finished almost an hour before Bart.

    Johann: Thanks for all you help all along the way. It kept me going.

    Devesh: Thanks, it was as tough as they come, and I added further excitement to the whole thing by finishing so close ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. Congratulations Tanvir!

    BTW, you should run the Bangalore Ultra sometime and get a feel for yourself. It will definitely be a great training run for anyone aspiring to do Ultra because of the short loops. And the trail is any day better than the boring roads and buildings. I would prefer running the Bangalore Ultra than any of the other runs in India today.

  31. Hi Tanvir..
    have read a lot about ur running xploits and rahuls too…
    but this one surpasses all…
    congratulations to u …89 K comrades..done & dusted..just in time..sure must have ben nerve racking..with all that training preceeding it..

    Devesh ( running & living West delhi )

  32. Congratulations Tanvir!! You kept it pretty close to the cut-off!! Can’t wait to hear the details of such an awesome experience. Did you happen to see Bart Yasso (of the Yasso 800s)? He apparently ran it too. Congrats again!!

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