A 10,000 km in 100 days! Ultra-marathoner Samir Singh falls agonisingly short
On an exceedingly warm summer morning on April 29, Samir Singh set off from his house in suburban Mumbai; barefoot and with childhood friend Ramesh in tow. Together they ran until they had reached the southern tip of the city about 20kms away. Samir, however, continued to run.
And he ran until Sunday, August 6, when his exhausting and near inhuman feat finally came to end. His GPS watch read 9,964.19, putting his 10,000 km journey over 100 days agonisingly short of its mark. He was left with 150 kms to cover on the last day, but failing to do so kept him 36 km short. Despite the herculean feat, Samir was already thinking of his next endeavour, one he claims could involve an even longer run or a continuous 300-400 km run.
To put his achievement into perspective, if he had decided to catch Usain Bolt in his last moments on the track at the IAAF World Championships in London on Saturday, he could have started almost a month after he did and still made it in due time. The distance from Mumbai to London is 7,187kms.
Now the question one would ask: why would one undertake such a life-threatening pursuit? Or how has he done it when professional marathon runners are advised against running on consecutive days, let alone the fact that marathons don’t last for more than 43 kms.
For Samir, who hails from a village in Madhya Pradesh, the answer was simple.
“People say that the body has limits, my students have complained of being advised against overusing their bodies. But according to the holy scriptures, the body has no limit. If you have dreams, your body will take shape accordingly. My experience is testament to the same. God has given us our bodies and our mental capabilities define its limitations,” Samir, who is also a running coach, told Hindustan Times.
“Human beings possess a power far beyond their knowledge. It is all about the discovery (of) one’s self,” added Samir, who was left bruised after covering the extensive distance barefoot.
So it is safe to say that this test of endurance, and a seemingly impossible one at that, was guided by his faith in God and defined by the holy scriptures.
But the thought of running 100 kms for the next 100 days probably makes your legs go numb. Samir’s formula, as he puts it, was to break it down just like one would break a roti into pieces, not consuming it whole.
“I took the task one day at a time, knowing that I will not stop until it was done. My body was completely rejuvenated when I woke up the next day and the routine went on. Looking at it one day at a time reduced the burden on the mind,” said Samir, who was even hospitalised with gastro-infection three days before this final run.
Despite his gruelling experience, Samir has not sought support or advice from any dietitian, trainer or doctor. His younger brother Prahlad has catered to his aching legs or his justifiable hunger.
On the way, film-makers Vandana Bhatti and Vikram Bhatti joined in, documenting and bringing to the social media realm -- his journey titled ‘The Faith Runner.’
Samir, whose determined appearances across the city have earned him titles such as ‘Haddi’ (skeleton), ‘Madman’, ‘100KM’, ended with a final lap at the southern tip of Mumbai on Sunday, with Ramesh by his side.
The 44-year-old, who has lost more than 15 kilos over the past three-and-a-half months, will visit his mother only after gaining some weight because he fears that the sight of him will leave her tense and upset. For now, he will travel to the holy city of Vrindavan, the home of Lord Krishna, to put an end to his unearthly expedition.