MUMBAI: Arun Kumar Bhardwaj, the only Indian winner of the international multi-day race, added another feather to his cap as he successfully completed his Mumbai-Nashik-Pune-Mumbai run recently. The 560 km non-stop run across three major cities of Maharashtra was commenced on January 31, 2021, and completed in 166 hours.
Over the years, Bhardwaj has won many long-distance running titles but this run was taken up by him as an initiative to spread the message of living a healthy lifestyle by exercising, running, and inspiring people through action. Bhardwaj chose this route because he loves challenges in running and this route was very challenging due to heat and steep ghats. The 14km long Kasara ghat which falls on this route has a high gradient and considered as one of the toughest ghats. During his run of 6.5 days, Arun covered a distance of 80 km on an average per day, and many people on the way accompanied him a few kilometers to show their support towards running and a healthier lifestyle.
Arun Bhardwaj, one of the first internationally acclaimed endurance racers from India, while speaking about his run said, “The running scenario in India is beginning to gain momentum since few years. Apart from helping to spread the message of health and fitness, the ultra-marathon runs will aid our future athletes in preparations as they compete for a place in Olympics. I run because I want to inspire more and more people to take up running and also the athlete in me wants to challenge myself to work hard and be fit and healthy. I also want to be a role model for my daughters.”
As an ultra-marathon runner, the Delhi resident is used to covering several hundred kilometers over a few days. His fondest is the 4100-km run from Kargil to Kanyakumari, via Leh, which took him two months to complete. Over the years, Bhardwaj has won many long-distance running titles, the most noteworthy being the ‘6-Day Race’ in South Africa in 2010 setting a South Asian record at the event.