Arun Bharadwaj – India’s First and Only Ultramarathoner!

He weighed only 26 kg when he was 14, had multiple surgeries to recover from parotid tumor, was the physically weakest student in school life and suffered from malaria every rainy season. Read how a weakling changed his fate and became India’s legendary ultramarathoner.

Some stories are worth telling again and again. That is what perhaps Arun had in mind when he chose to be an ultramarathon runner, that people tell his story as he makes the nation proud. I, therefore, chose to write about Arun Bharadwaj today. Arun Bharadwaj is the living testimony of grit over circumstances. He has been through innumerable physical and circumstantial challenges but once he set his goal in mind, nothing seemed to waver it at all. He took to marathon running to set an example for his children. He wishes them to get inspired by him, and be proud of him as a man of strength.

While marathons themselves are sporting events that require tons of endurance, there is something which takes it to the next level, called Ultramarathon. Any marathon which covers more than 26.2 miles (42.1 km) of a distance is called ultramarathon. The mentioned figures pertain to the standard marathon distance and hence, for ultramarathon you can just imagine how much of endurance test you have to survive and in Baradwaj’s case it is not only about surviving it but winning it!

In 2009, Bharadwaj was put on the global running map when he won the 567 km George Archer 6-day race in South Africa. Later in 2010, the 40 something athlete ran a whopping 186.4 km in just 24 hours, beating his earlier best of 177 km in the same time period. He has also successfully completed the Badwater Ultramarathon in Death Valley, California in the US, which has been named as the toughest race in the world by National Geographic. Bharadwaj registered a time of around 41 hours on his first attempt.

Arun’s much lauded K2K project involved him running from Kargil to Kanyakumari to spread the message of unity and One India. He completed his historic run in 2 months in the year 2012 and wanted to run from Gujarat to Arunanchal Pradesh next.

This might be an overwhelming feat for Arun Bharadwaj because in his life he never played any sport earlier. As a school boy, he used to fall prey to malaria every year and was considered the weakest student in his class, especially, in sports activities. Arun required surgery for a parotid tumor four times in fifteen months, his weight shrank to 28kg (57lbs) when he was 14, and was still only 35 kg (77lbs) three years later. He suffered from malaria infections every rainy season. He was smallest, weakest and very lean boy. By the time he was 20, Arun had turned his life around. With a regimen that involved 500 push ups in 30 minutes, long walks barefoot on scorching ground during the day, and 6 hour walks and runs during the much chillier nights. Arun started building the physical and mental strength that enable his legendary running accomplishments today. He also began reading the Gita and other books on Hindu spirituality, which he credits for much of his inner toughness.

The birth of his first daughter in 1998 changed everything. When she was six months old, Arun began training in earnest, determined to run 180 km in 24 hours within s year to serve as an inspiration for her. During the Hindu month of Shravan, when devotees carry water from the river Ganges temples of Lord Shiva near their home, Arun completed his 180 km run in 23 hours and 15 minutes!

Arun said once that when a child is born, parents start increasing their bank balance but he wanted to give her daughter something which she can be proud of and which inspires her to give her best the rest of her life. Hence, Arun started running ultramarathons like never before.

Today, Arun Bharadwaj (now 46) is India’s first and only ultramarathon runner. He works as Assistant Section Officer in the Ministry of Defence in New Delhi. Born in Baghpat (Uttar Pradesh), this ultramarathoner has been running for over 17 official years. He now quietly lives in Uttarkashi with his wife, 2daighters and a son. Arun is a pure vegetarian and teetotaler. He thrives on honey, fruit juices and sugarcane. He says that diet and discipline play a major role in his life and hence, he never has junk food and takes only homemade food. He sets an example where you can push your limits, be successful and still be leading a simple life. In fact, the simpler full of self-discipline it is, the more driven by dreams and determination it will be. Arun Bharadwaj is passionate about his sport and wishes more people in nation to run the path he has run.

About The Author

Honey Grover

From passion for fitness to profession in fitness as certified coach, nutritionist and athlete till 2018, Honey Grover is now a founder of Read More..

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