Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Indian Ultrarunner - Arun Kumar Bharadwaj

Do you know what an UltraMarathon is? I confess that I did not know. Did you know that there is only one Indian Ultrarunner? I did not know.

But now I do. Arun Kumar Bharadwaj is the only known Indian ultrarunner.

But how did I get to know? Arun Kumar Bharadwaj read my post about the Times Bangalore Marathon in Metroblogging Bangalore, followed the link to my blog, and left this comment on this post in which I talked about Sreesanth, Kingfisher, and the TOI.

I will reproduce a part of his comment here:

Dear friends,
I am an ultramarathon runner and can understand it in a better way being in a state of my present situation. I think people writing here would like my little bio data.

It is :

How can we transcend ourselves if we do not challenge Our Capacities?

Name: Arun Kumar Bhardwaj
Email :
Cell Phone : 9213 964 901
Postal Address: Planning Commission, Parliament Street, New Delhi 110001.
DoB: 2 February 1969
Birth Place: Village Baoli, Distt. Baghpat. UP.
Education: B. Com. from Delhi University
Occupation: Govt. Service (Planning Commission, New Delhi) India
Height: 5 feet 8 inch, Weight: 68 kg
Family: Wife :Sangeeta, teacher in Central School. Daughters: Zola & Sofia (DoB 23.9.1998&12.1.2001), Son : Yiannis (12.7.2002).
Years running: On & off for 15 years. Ultras: 6 years

Personal Bests:
1. 180 km in 23.25 hours on 28-29 July 2000 (solo run from Haridwar to Baghpat, UP)
2. 270 km in 33.10 hr on 7-8 November 2001(solo run from Yojana Bhavan, New Delhi to National Ayurved Institute, Jorawar Singh Gate, Jaipur). Indian Record for the distance w.r.t. time taken.
3. 138.172 km in IAU Asia 24 hr Track Championships in Taiwan on 2-3 March 2002.(9th place). First Indian representative in any 24 hr Ultra Marathon.
4. 492 km in Australian 6-Day Race 17-23 Nov. 2002 & broke former Indian national record for 6 days race of 478 km made by Tirtha Kumar Phani in 1987. Thus, became first ever Indian to cross 300 miles in six days race (15th Place).
5. 516 km in Self-Transcendence 6-Days race, New York 27 April -3 May 2003 and became the first Indian to cross 500 km in a 6-Days race (7th Place).
6. 520 km in Copenhagen 6-Days challenge, Denmark 3 – 9 August 2003 (4TH place).
Became first Asian to complete three 6-Days races within one year, and every time with a new national record.
7. Finished IAU 100 Km World Cup 2003, Taiwan 16.11.2003. Became first ever Indian to participate and finish any 100 Km World Cup.
8. 501 km in International Six Days Running Championship, Mexico on 22-28 March 2004 (4th place in age category and 8th Place in general). First Indian representation in any Mexican ultramarathon championship.
10.532.8 km in German International 6-day race, 1-8 August 2004. Placed 15th. New Indian Record.
11. 550 km in 122.45 hr Delhi to Chandigarh and back. Appeared in Limca Book of Record 2005. 12. MIR Marathon, Moscow, finished in 3.56.45 in –4 Deg. Celsius and Rain.
13. 153 km in 24 hr Open Championship of Russia, 7-8 May 2005. Became the only Indian in the history of Russian Ultramarathon.
14. 556.45 km in 20th Australian Six Days Race, 20-26 Nov. 2005. New Indian & South Asian Record. (14th place out of 36 runners from 12 nations, after arriving only 20 hours before the start of the race and ran without any support crew).
15. 521 km Loutraki 7-Days International Race, Greece, 1-8 April 2006 (on a hilly course).

Typical training: It varies but normally 160 - 200 km/week. I sleep 4 hours only i.e. 12 mid night to 4 am and one night sleepless per week.

Injury history: None relating to running. Have undergone four major surgeries of Parotid Tumor between 14 and 17 years of age. I was very weak from my childhood, from the age of 6 to 19 yrs, I was a victim of malaria every year in rainy season. My body weight was only 26 kg when I was 14 years of age and 35 kg at 17 yrs. I, always, was the weakest boy of the class in my school time.

Favourite ultra foods: Totally vegetarian & teetotaler. Honey, fruit juice, banana and sugar cane.

Things I like most about ultra: Traveling, getting to make new friends. It gives opportunity to explore the unknown inner world and give spiritual ecstasy. I like my tears most during my ultras, I love them.

Things I hate most about ultras: Leaving my family waiting for me.

What got me started doing ultras: To produce myself as an example before my daughter that Everything is Possible for a willing heart..

Why I do ultras: I enjoy pushing myself to my limits. I am the only ultramarathon runner in India, a country of more than 1 billion people and that’s why I am facing very difficulty in continuing it. But I know that in future my story will become a great source of inspiration for coming generations and I would be satisfied by that reward. Also, the pure spirit I found in Ultra Marathoners is matchless, celestial and I want to be a part of them. When you run beyond the imagination, it gives a special sense of exceeding.

Ultra goals: 276+ in 24 hours. 400+ in 48 hours. 1000+ in 6 days. I aspire to finish and win every race of SCMT (upto 3100 miler). I also wish to run all state capitals of Indian states from New Delhi with a minimum recorded time.

Favourite ultra quotes: “Never Give Up”.
“If you have indomitable will-power then Impossibility-gate is not an obstruction.”
“When you believe then you can do it. Do you believe?”
I’ll want to quit, I’ll want to die. Let me die, don’t let me quit.”

Just look at those achievements! This man is an inspiration. He is an Indian. And sigh! We need an Australian to champion his cause. Thank you, Phil Essam!

If you want to contact him, here are his details again:
Name: Arun Kumar Bhardwaj
Email :
Cell Phone : 9213 964 901
Postal Address: Planning Commission, Parliament Street, New Delhi 110001.

All the best, Arun!


Rk said...

Thanks for the information.

Suresh said...

Sad but true, this is the state of sports in India. There is Cricket and Tennis(?) thats it.
Frankly speaking, I did not know what Ultramarathon is or who Arun Kumar Bharadwaj is.

Shruthi, thanks for the Info.

Arun, Congrats on your acheivements and All the Best for your races. I'll keep an eye on your events from now on :)

Cheers! :)

Older Bangalorean said...

WOW. I'm very impressed. It just made me realize how pathetic I have been in fitness.

I run about 6 KMs in an hour spaced over Sat and Sun regularly. While I want to do more, it has never been easy.

Living in a crowded city does not make it easy to hone my skills either :-(

Shruthi said...

RK, my pleasure!

Suresh, yeah... tennis has also picked up only lately.

Older Bangalorean, at least you do that much! Not many people do try to keep fit, you know!

chitra said...

Great post kane. Arun kumar bharadwaj will sure be a source of inspiration to many. Just the other day we had a discussion on how different sections of our society are being treated with different standards either due to caste differences, or economic or social differences. Double standard treatment does'nt end there, it exists in sports ( with attention-hogging cricket marring almost every other sport except a few) , it exists in cinema ,we treat bollywood , hollywood, tamil, kannada cinema so differently ( if not always , undue importance and over patronisation happens w.r.t bollywood or hollywood and deserving local cinema too gets harsh treatment) .. anyways without getting analytical. I truly appreciate Arun kumar's spirit of pushing himself to his limits and rediscovering his capacity. Great going Mr. Arun Kumar , I shall do my part of making people aware about the sport and about you.

Shruthi said...

Chitra, I knew you would like this. It is amazing how much a human being can achieve if s/he perseveres and pushes himself to the limit.

anoop said...

excellent post. thanks for the info.

"How can we transcend ourselves
If we do not challenge Our Capacities?" -- fantastic quote!

Anonymous said...

The article says, "... he was driven by the motivation to make his daughter Zola proud of him. He ended up making India proud!!!"

Its really true and we are proud of Arun and such unknown Aruns.

I am sure the whole of India will know about Arun soon and Thanks for making us proud, Arun!

All the best!


Anonymous said...

Refreshing, to learn about Ultramarathon in this stifling age of non-stop cricket and nothing else.

AKB, Wow ! You are a role model to me

Thank You !


Quizman said...

While Arun Bharadwaj is a ultrarunner, there are many many Indian ultrarunners out there. I have at least 6 Indian friends, including women who run ultras regularly (anywhere between 32 and 50 miles). Some have run 100K races. I have a friend who is training for the Rio Del Lago 100 miler this month. ANd of course, I have blogged on Nattu Natraj .

Shruthi said...

Anoop, I liked that too!

Chaitanya, "Unknown Aruns".. that's the key... and that's sad too, isn't it?

GG, so many other sports... totally sidelined!

Quizman, thank you for that info.. I couldn't find info about any of the others on the net... if you could give me details, I could update my post with that.

Naveen said...

WOW.. those achievements are just out of this world.. Thanks a ton for the post..

"I’ll want to quit, I’ll want to die. Let me die, don’t let me quit”. Really Inspiring lines.

With ur permission i would like to put that info with the relevant links in a mail and send it out as a forward so that more people are aware of his achievements.

Thanks again for the post.


Anonymous said...

Dear friends,
Thank you very much for your appreciation and all the motivating words. I have set some goals in ultramarathon and will strive to ascend.
Shri Nattu ji, yes there are a few more Indian names in ultrarunning but they live either in US or Europe. If you know the ultratrunners living in India please let me know. Also please send me the email addresses of other ultrarunner runners you know. I will be more than happy to meet with them. I know only 3 = Gaytri Bhatia (US), Rajat (England, now came back to India. He was the medical officer of Banglore International Marathon) and yourself (from the list). Shri Tirtha Kumar Phani has given up the ultrarunning, once I talked to him around 2-3 years ago but unfortunately missed his phone no. now. He is living in Kolkata.
Dear Nattu, I you live in USA and have all the suitable atmosphere/company/diet etc. needed for continuing ultramarathon, you can imagine the struggle of an ultrarunner mainly which he does with his inner own. And it is very tough in our circumstances where there are many discouragements than encouragement. Only I know how I am continuing it. Any way, we have to move forward, move forward , move forward; no matter what the situation is . At least only one thing should be with us, and that is ourselves.
Wish you all the best for your coming 48 hr race in December. Please say hello for me to Dr. Andre Lovy (72 hours). We are good friend, ran together in Mexico and Australia (2 times). In any trouble during the race, relating to injuries or mental fatigue, please don’t hesitate to tell him. He is expert in this field. Also please say hello to Martina from Germany.
- Arun Kumar Bhardwaj, waiting Shri Nattu beyond 150+ miles in 48 hours race.

Shruthi said...

Naveen, you are welcome to do so - but I would appreciate if you could provide a link to my blog also in your mail :) Thanks!

Arun, thank you, will pass on this information.

Naveen said...

Done !!
Thanks again..


Anonymous said...

Amazing post and thanks a lot for the information - it is truly incredible how much a human being can achieve when she/he perseveres.

Shruthi said...

Naveen, thanks!

Emma, how true!

Param said...

Thanks for the info Shruthi..just read Arun's account of his 6 days ultramarathon in Australia..reaaly inspiring.
Also his story bought me back on terra firma..had been flying high since i had completed two measly half marathons myself..
Arun is really something.. Param

Anonymous said...

Dear Shruti,
By the medium of your blog I would like to inform the people that I am going to undertake The Great Delhi to Shimla Ultramarathon, 375+km within 100 hours (in total that means including all the elapsed time)starting on 1st Feb at 2 PM from the India Gate. We are taking the route Delhi-Chandigarh-Shimla. The last streth of 70 kms gain an height of 1500 meters, i.e. after Kalka. One of my friend is sharing the expenses of the run (I am again without any sponsorship and please let me take to liberty to use your blog to invite any potential sponsor to come with me in this work of great cause to our mother country). After this run I plan to do a Delhi to Goa, 2100km in 21 days.
- Arun

(“You don’t have to be a runner to appreciate it when someone goes beyond the limits. And when someone runs a hundred or a thousand miles one doesn’t have to be a genius to see that the entire human potential has just been expanded. Such examples give people hope and inspiration to change themselves, to be better, and to expect and strive for something higher, something beyond them. Perhaps, they think, if those guys can run a hundred miles then I can do something worthwhile, I can do something good. The world changes more by deeds then by words.” – Tarak Kauff)

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Hey, Your feats are amazing. wow!!!

I just read through everything you've done. You're such an inspiration!!! I hope to get where you are someday.

BTW, just wanted to let you know, there's a few other ultra marathoners in the country!! Some I know of personally :) So you're not alone. Isn't that awesome to know?

There's quite a few people who're running ultra marathons... and some who're doing stage/endurance races too!

There's this huge running community Runners for Life, RFL - some of them are a part of that community as well I suppose. RFL's all about getting more and more people into running.

Personally, I am the first and only Indian woman to finish 100 mile Stage race in the Himalayas - an AAA accredited race - known to be one of the most difficult and beautiful endurance races in the world. Currently training for some more that I've lined up for myself.

Congratulations on all your feats and achievements. Would love to run with you some day!!

I'm really glad to know more and more people like you exist here in India! :)

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Arun said...

Hello friends,

I like to share some joy here with you, and that is....
I ran 567km in South African Six Day Race (29Mar to 4Apr 2010) winning the race, covering 352miles to become the first Indian to cover more than 350 miles in a 6-day race, first Indian to win any 6-day race, first Asian to win a 6-day race in Africa.

- -