Conquering Ultra Marathon: I'M NOT SURPRISED ...
A 50 KM endurance challenge.
The Marine Ultra Marathon stands as one of Bangladesh's most prestigious running events, offering three challenging distances of 50 KM, 100 KM, and 161 KM. Having never participated in an ultra marathon before, I opted for the 50 KM distance. While the event demands significant preparation, the journey to participate proved to be a unique and rewarding experience.
Participation in the Marine Ultra Marathon requires participants to meet rigorous prerequisites, including completing at least four half marathons in the four months leading up to the event. Despite my reluctance to adopt modern tracking apps like Strava, I successfully navigated these requirements by providing detailed documentation, certificates, and personal motivation in the application form.
Countdown to Race Day:
In the week leading up to the marathon, I pushed my limits with an almost 50 KM run and an eight-hour regular workout regimen. The logistical challenges were not to be underestimated, involving a 600 KM journey by bus and train. The pressure mounted, and sleep eluded me the night before the race.
The Marathon Journey:
Once the race commenced, the pre-race anxieties dissipated, and my focus shifted solely to the next steps. Unlike my usual strategy of adhering to a strict time frame per kilometer, this time I adopted a more intuitive approach – it was not a strategy, just running until I was alive and facing no major injury. Hydration stations every 5 KM became my lifeline, with brief 1-2 minute breaks to refuel. Surprisingly, an abundance of chocolate, water, saline, glucose, biscuits, and fruits provided the sustenance needed for the miles ahead.
The Challenge Unfolds:
The initial 25 KM unfolded seamlessly, but the true test began as my body entered uncharted territory. I always knew that after 20 KM, my energy started to drain linearly. However, after 30 KM, I discovered that it started to drain exponentially. Between 30 and 40 KM, running and walking sustained me. However, the last 10 KM proved to be a monumental struggle, with every bone and joint seemingly at its breaking point. Despite the physical toll, I pressed on, determined to reach the 50 KM mark before the cut-off time.
Triumph at the Finish Line:
After a grueling 7 and a half hours, I crossed the finish line. The overwhelming joy and sense of accomplishment brought tears to my eyes. The cheers of children and the celebratory atmosphere marked the culmination of a test of endurance at its peak.
The undeniable toll on my body quickly altered post-run plans for a relaxing island visit. Despite the initial intention to get a massage, the fatigue was so profound that even walking 200 meters became a daunting task. I spent a few hours recuperating, had lunch, and made the journey back to Dhaka that same night. Like always, I took the same bus, at the same time while returning to Dhaka, It has a special 360-degree view (not exactly!). It was special, because, I took this bus for the 4th time in a row in the last 4 months.
The Marine Ultra Marathon was not just a race but a profound journey that tested my physical and mental resilience. Overcoming challenges, embracing the unknown, and triumphing at the finish line made it an experience worth every step.