It is said that one should spend money on life experiences and not on material things. As the material things we buy, we might forget one day but some life experiences will last forever. I was recently reading a book on Bhutan. I came to know some interesting facts about Bhutan. In Bhutan, the Government not just measure the GDP(Gross Domestic Product) but also GNH (Gross National Happiness). And GNH is measured by not people’s material possessions or whether they possess the latest iPhone or not, but by investigating whether people are involved in doing something they love or not. When I read this, I deeply connected with it, as when I run ultra marathons, I live life to the fullest and I am one of the happiest person in the world. I am in my element and being able to connect with my spiritual self.
So in February, 2020, I connected to my spiritual side by running 204 km in a 350 km ultra marathon or I would say in an Australian survivor challenge. This was not a normal ultra marathon but an extremely challenging course of event, and an effort to redefine the limits of human resilience. All the 72 runners, were expected to finish this extremely challenging course along the Bibbulmun track, from Northcliffe to Albany in Western Australia in 104 hours. Normal human would go crazy without sleep for such a long time, well I slept roughly 1.5 hours in the 52 hours of my run, before I was disqualified at the Peaceful Bay sleep station, 204 km mark. To be honest, I could give a million excuse for this failure but I gracefully accepted it and promised myself to come back with better training.
Moreover, I realized such kind of ultra running events, is more of a community building event. It helps us to build lives, make lifetime of friendship and give back hope to millions of people in this world, who have given up on life. I am very much aware millions of people in this world live in extreme poverty, without proper food, electricity, water and they suffer from mental illness. I was so grateful I was able to borrow some money from my friends and being able to save some for this event, as this was an expensive sport. Not everyone could afford it.
I don’t take this for granted. I don’t take my life for granted, I don’t take my food for granted and I don’t take my relationships for granted. When I am doing such extreme challenge, I am volunteering in someway and giving back to this world by inspiring people to run, meditate, to do yoga and follow a hobby which would help them recover from any kind of stress and anxiety. According to WHO, every 40 seconds, someone in this world commits suicide. Extreme poverty, bad relationships and bad health are some of the main reasons behind this. I am trying to make an effort to give hope to these people who have given up on life. Yes, life could be as tough as the track of bibbulmun track but ‘hope’ is the most powerful word in English dictionary. If we can run 350km in this deadly track trust me anything is possible.!!!
Finally, I would be very much unfair, if I don’t mention the incredible volunteers, who supported me in every course of this event. To be honest my family do not really care so much but I had informed my housemates and couple of friends in Melbourne who were tracking my every move. When I told them about my disqalification, they were bit disappointed, as they badly wanted me to succeed. I get their point but the road to success is through failure my friend. No body has ever being triumphant in this world without failure. Nobody has ever got their dream job without rejections. I felt like I went to a school to learn and came back with some wisdom. To be honest, I am just an amateur runner who ran 100 km ultra marathon, last year, my very first 100k and wrote a book on that to inspire people. When I ran at Delirious West, I felt like I was one of the worst runner among the best in the world. Most of them were so much more experienced than me. Just by running with them and having some deep conversation, I learnt so much from them. One of them was Running Coach Glenn Monaghan, who gave me some amazing advice on how to keep moving forward and the attitude of never giving up. I have so much to thank Glenn and his beautiful family, as they were an incredible host to me and I could have not imagined doing this challenge without their support. Next was Breeze Sharma, the Indian beast who came to Australia for the second time to do this challenge. He has done such extreme adventures across the world and I got to learn so much from him. Most importantly, I might have failed in my mission but I ended up making some lifetime of friendship. One of the volunteer Chelly Mon was almost at every aid station tracking me and motivating me. I gave her a copy of my book to thank her, which was probably not enough. These volunteers gave up their energy and valuable time, in this beautiful part of the world. It was just so amazing to see, how the community of ultra running was building.
To describe the beautiful Bibbulmun track, it was named after a sub-group of the Nyungar or Nyoongar people(Indigenous/first nation people), who lived in these lands for thousands of years, sharing the forest with birds, animals, rivers. They used to walk through these tracks in the ancient days as it consisted of surf coast, hills, trails, forest with snakes and other wildlife species(Bibbulmun Track foundation, 2020).
To be honest, I was bit scared of snakes when I registered for this event but when one of the runner told me that he slept over snakes last year in this challenge, I got some confidence. I remember recording his video and posting on instagram. How often to do see such courageous people. Many of my friends who can’t run even 350m, they freak out when they don’t find their TV remote. When they go to toilet, they tell their parents.To be honest these challenges prepare us for life and it helps us take crucial life decisions. Trust me sometimes life is like a trail of an ultra marathon if not like the trail of the Delirious West 200 miler.
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