Arun Bhardwaj - The Ultra Marathon Saint

Posted by Anantha | Posted in , | Posted on Thursday, November 22, 2012

If it wasn’t for the enthusiasm of Dharani, my running mate of GKVK, I would not have met Arun Bharadwaj - the Super Duper Mega Ultra Marathoner who is on a mission to run from Kargil to Kanyakumari. Dharani gathered the info from net and kept in touch with Arun's crew about his schedule of reaching Bangalore.

Arun would reach Devanahalli by 20th Nov and he would start from Devanahalli on 21st early morning. Around 6AM, Dharani, Karuna and I reached his crew who had stayed in tents near Devanahalli overnight. His crew member Adiraj told us that, Arun insisted on starting his run from few kilometers before their camping site and he was 7-8kms away. Adiraj said he will drop us to Arun if we wanted to accompany him for few kilometers. We were eager to meet him. Adiraj also alerted us not to converse with him much, as too much of talking while running will make him more tired. The man is on road for 51days  - running at least two marathons every day. For all you know, we might be disturbing him.

On the edge of the highway, we saw a tanned frail man running with slow but steady pace. We got down from the car and walked towards him. With our running gear, Arun recognized that we had come to support him. How do you support a man who has run 3200 odd kms and is about to run 800 kms more to reach his goal, just by running few kms along with him...? Im sure we were about to get inspired but not sure if Arun wanted it. Arun shook hands and exchanged 'hi's and 'hello's with the three of us with a hesitant smile. I felt our presence jolted him from the trance he was in. Believe me, for 15 more minutes there was complete silence! He was running ahead and we three behind not knowing how to start the conversation. You can easily join the people when they are celebrating, you can even sit next to a person and console him when he is dejected but how do you start the conversation with a man who has run for 51 days all alone... Then the ice-breaker came from the man himself. He said, 'lazy running lag raha hoga aapko', referring to his slow pace. Karuna pitched in, 'not at all sir, 3000 kms run karne ke baad kaisa hota hai hum soch bhi nahi sakte hai'. Arun smiled modestly in reply.

Somehow, the conversation picked up and Arun made us feel comfortable rather than we making him feel so. After few kms, 7-8 other runners who were waiting for Arun on the highway, greeted him and started clicking photographs. Arun might have expected it; he seemed more comfortable looking at people this time. With so many runners around him, our huddle was running on the edge of NH-7 highway.

As people started asking him some of the obvious questions about his motivation, the pain, the endurance, the determination, the conversation got more candid. Below are some of his answers.

'shuru se, kuchch alag karne ka iraada tha. Gangotri se Bay of Bengal tak along the river daudne ka plan tha... Woh ho nahi paya. Abhi to yeh kar raha hoon'

'yeh dard kya hai, maa hume paida karte waqt, woh jo dard sehti hai, uske aage yeh kuchch bhi nahi hai'

'kuchch khaas preparation nahi tha. Pehle se main regular runner tha. Bahut sara ultra marathon dauda tha. Utna hee..... Jaise kuchch bada kaam karne se pehle maa baabuji ke charan chhoote hai, waise hee karke shuru kiya. Jab kabhi pair dukne lagte hai, woh mujhe yaad aata hain aur usse shakti milti hai'

'baaki sports to animalistic hota hai. Doosron ko haraane ke liye, cheating, mind games aur thoda bahut maar peet bhee... Lekin yahaan bas apne aap se lado aur better and pure bante jao'

'prakruti main har ek cheez chalta rehta hai... hawa, paani, dharti... Sabhi planets..aur ye universe bhi. Rukna bahut unnatural hai. Rukne se balance bigaDta hai... Stagnate ho jaate hai'

As per the schedule, around 8:30AM, Adiraj would pick Arun and drop him to a famous health club on Residency Road. Arun was supposed to meet a gathering there and deliver a lecture. It was time to bid bye to Arun. We gave him a card and a small gift and wished him luck for his remaining 9 days of run. He patiently posed for the photograph with us. I am sure everyone was elated after meeting him.

For me the man looked very real.. No air of achievement, no gloss. Very down to earth and humble. Thousands of kilometers of running must have mellowed him down. Must have 'made him pure' in his own words. I call him Ultra Marathon Saint.

PS: Track Arun's run here.

Comments (1)

Ohhh My!!! Running from Kargil to Kanyakumari?!? How motivated he must be!! Amazing!! And thanks for sharing this....

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