Review of the 2019 edition of the Great Ocean Road Ultra Maraton. Time 6:30:51. When it comes to running an Ultra Marathon, three people comes to my mind. America’s David Goggins, termed as the ‘toughest man alive’, Australia’s Mina Guli, who recently ran 60 marathons in 60 days around the world to raise awareness on water crisis and India’s Arun Bhardwaj, who has completed bad waters in California, deemed by National Geographic as the toughest race on the planet and won the 567 KM George Archer 6 day race in South Africa. I consider these elite runners as legends, who inspire the world to take up new challenges in life and test their limits. I personally love running, as it boost my confidence level and I get to learn various life lessons through Marathons. Last weekend, I tested my limits by running 60KM Ultra Marathon in Australia’s most stunning track at the Great Ocean Road along with thousands of other runners.
Our life is like a marathon, full of ups and downs that takes our breath away and the track of this magnificent race was also full of ups and downs. The race kicked off at 8am from Lorne, a small town in Victoria and ended at the Apollo Bay, another beautiful town of southwestern Victoria. I had made up a strategy of not stopping till the first 30 KM for any drinks or water in order to be able to finish it on time. The last Ultra Marathon I had done was 70km in the Himalayas in around 12hours in 2016. Although the elevation of this track was not so high, but the challenge was to finish it in half the time, I took in 2016. As we passed the Cumberland River Lookout and Mount Defiance Lookout, I was elated enough to be able to reach the 10KM mark in an hour. We arrived the 20 KM mark at around separation Creek and Wye River and I had my first protein shake, which I was carrying on my small bag pack. Later on we moved to the Kennett River and Cape Patton Lookout, passing through Wongarra and finally, finishing at the Apollo Bay.
The distance roughly from the start to finish was around 44km but since I was doing the 60KM Ultra Marathon, I had to take another turn at 47km mark to an extremely elevated route of around 10km. Discerning the elevation, a thought came into my mind that, I might not be able to finish the race in the cut-off time of 6 hours and 30 minutes. When I was just thinking of giving up, I met another Ultra Marathon runner, who motivated me to go further my limits since we still had two hours remaining to the cut-off. I was so grateful to the man I met, as I would have not been able to finish this race, without his support. He was like a messenger to me from God, who just came to inform me that ‘I can do it’. Similarly, we never realize our full potential unless somebody tells us. Why do some people need to hire a personal trainer in the Gym, why people need life coaches, students needs teachers and why do even successful people need mentors. The internet has all the information in the world we need but we still need someone to motivate us, push to our limits, so that we can come out of the filter bubble and achieve our goals.
I met so many other runners, who not only motivated me but also shared their running stories and that kept me going. To be honest, I have completed several Marathons till now but the Great Ocean Road Marathon will always be in my heart forever. The kind of support I got from strangers, a simple hi-five meant a lot to me. It is said that people will always forget what you gave them, but will never forget how you made them feel. When I crossed the finish line in exactly 6 hours and 30 minutes and 50 seconds, people at the Apollo Bay (some of them were also runners, who ran full marathon, half marathon and even ultra) were cheering for me and gave me a celebrity treatment.
I will never forget, how supportive these strangers were to me, as if I have achieved a lot in my life. To be honest, I haven’t achieved much in my life right now but running 60km definitely raised my confidence and finishing this epic race made me realize that anything is possible. I dedicated this memorable run to my late mom whom I was seeking energy from when I was in so much pain. At times, I was even chanting the Tibetan Mantra ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’ for energy. I strongly believed that these powers will give me instant energy. Like any other race, the last 5km to 7km is always difficult but to get over it, I was thinking that I am running 70km and not 60. It eventually helped me. I am so grateful for all the support I got from other group of runners at the finish line, who helped me sit in a chair and offered me some bananas and water. I wish to keep moving forward from here for my next 100km adventure in September this year and keep inspiring people to run.