Both inspiring and intimidating, a mountain marathon can be a great way to find your stride.
Everyone has a different connection with the mountains. Some find it by slowing down and picking up a book while others prefer to get their soles dirty and scale its heights. There is something elemental about scaling a mountain on foot.
While the tribe of trekkers and campers keep spiralling every year, one can also see a steady rise of athletes and marathoners taking to such unforgiving terrain and lung-searing attitude. When, and how, did the call of the wild green terrain become so irresistible?
Mountains are unpredictable. Even the same run twice won’t give you the same experience.
The weather might suddenly change, the track might disappear.
It is this lure of seeing more, experiencing more which is pulling people towards these runs
~ Akshay Appu, digital media professional who has done runs in Manali, Bir Billing, and Mawkrywat, says city runs do not offer much in terms of views, challenges, different routes or terrains.
Call of the wild
All runs in the city are done on tar roads. Mountain runs on the other hand, come with the promise of a new challenge with every run, different topography, beautiful views, no pollution, and peace and quiet. No marathon in the hills is the same. Even the same run twice won’t give you the same experience, “
The world of trial and ultra-running is becoming big because it’s not just athletes but track and road runners and even amateurs- after a good training- are signing up for these races to test their body and mind.
“Many a time you may be faced with situations that you can’t really train for a wild animal crossing your trail or a sharp incline that will make you dig into every little bit of strength and energy you have left. And just when you think you can take no more, you go ahead and do it.”
~ Gauri Jayaram, founder of a leading marathon touring company, such marathons give you the chance to connect with nature at a personal level
A lot like real life, except that we have forgotten these most simple lessons.
Our age of excess and 24*7 connected lives has pushed us far from nature- not just physical nature but our own inner selves. We have forgotten to tap our own potential and push our boundaries because we live and think in tiny little boxes. A run in the mountain is a perfect therapy for our tired souls. You are stripped to the barest of essentials- good running shoes, minimal clothing, a bottle of water, just enough food to get you through a day on the ridges, and a clear mind that sees the glory of nature.
Climb every mountain
Hills are all about incline, elevation, altitude. Priti Zaveri, a Pinkathon ambassador, believes mountain running teaches us that the obstacles we face everyday must not dampen our spirits or deter us from moving forward.
“Running up there is all about conquering the distance, and let me tell you, every distance is a challenge. It is all about endurance.”
Experiences like these teach us humility- and the fact that everything is competing, but the real battle is to conquer our own fears and compete with our own selves.
What mountain marathons and trekking teach us about life
- There is no finish line:
Somewhere while going up and down the slopes, you realise life is much like that. It is not about getting there, it is about reaching new heights with each step, because when you get to the top of any mountain, you are simply at the bottom of another greater climb.
- Inhale the present:
Being out there in the wilderness of mountains tells you that things happen in their own time. There is a time to let go, time to shut off the phone, turn away from the computer and leave the camera at home. All we ever own is the inhalation of the present.
- Best things in life are free–
Clean air and water, unfiltered views, abundant greens and nature’s produce.
- You can’t control everything:
You can’t predict nature’s moods, the challenges of the terrain, the supply of food and the night you spend in a tent. You are at the mountains’ disposal and they overpower you. The best you can do is be humble.
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