The Story of National Record Champion
“I wished that it would get over quickly, but quitting was never an option. The discomfort only made me run faster and better.”
When Fitso’s Head Coach (Running and Fitness), Abhishek Rathor became the First Indian to cross 120 Km mark in 12 hours and create a new NEB 12 Hours Category record on Indian Soil, we couldn’t have been more proud. This milestone by Fitso’s champion was achieved in the recent 24 Hour New Delhi Ultra Stadium Run which was held on 15th Dec 2019. We thought of giving you a glimpse into his life. In conversation with Mr. Rathor.
How do you feel after achieving this Great Milestone?
I thought this would be my first and last ultra. The random target of breaking 116 km which is already an Indian national record. When I started with this goal my body reacted proactively. I was determined and accomplished my entire marathon record unknowingly in 3:20 hours which was previously 3:41 hours officially. I managed to cover 70 km in a span of 6 hours.
When I realized that I had broken the Indian record, I knew I should continue with Ultramarathon. By profession, I was a half marathoner, not an ultra runner at all. Then I qualified for IAU world championships. Although it has been more than 24 hrs since I finished my first 12-hour stadium run, the emotions are still exhilarating. And why shouldn’t it be? After all, it was all about conquering over the gushing adrenaline, mental resistance, unimaginable pain and the fight with my inner devil who was luring me to stop. And it was all worth it when they said, “You just ran 120.1 km in 12 hrs.” And that my friends happened to be the maximum distance by an athlete in India in any 12-hour competition!
How did you Train for this 24 Hour Stadium Run?
When the competition began in our own company with the Step War challenge, to make my team win I was determined to run every day beyond limits. I also managed to help my friends who were running in Bhatti ultra mines, then I realized I can do this. My friend Biplab and Vipin encouraged me to come and run at night as we were juggling with work in the daytime.
Who do you think is your Biggest Inspiration or support to accomplish this run?
First of all, I’d like to thank my Parents and my colleagues from Fitso. Without their constant motivation, support and boosting my morale throughout my training.
Also, the crew members, especially Sumit Singh, and Chandan Kumar. I can’t even think how I could achieve this if it weren’t for these guys. A massive thank you to all of them for enduring with me through those 12 hrs. Thanks to my friend Kishlay Rai for planning the run and nutrition. It wasn’t just me guys, we broke the record, together! They always counted on me and inspired me to break this record. Thanks for counting on me Biplab Mukherjee, Vipin Sharma, and all the #Sunchasers!! When I joined the Sunchasers team, I saw many ultra runners. When Binay Shah ran for the Croatia 100Km, I set a goal and got inspired by him. Vipin and Biplab co-employees managed to finish 100 miles at Bhatti mines, I registered for 24-hour stadium run just after their race. So, these 3 people were my biggest inspiration.
What Challenges did you face that day?
The race started at 7 pm in the evening in an extremely cold atmosphere. There were two people ahead of me so I pushed myself to run faster. First two hours were the fastest for me, crossing 6 hours was really tough as I had blisters developed and nails were broken. I ran completely barefoot for the 8th hour. After 60% of my race was completed, I was tired and exhausted. Though I wanted to give up, my mind and soul didn’t approve and then I wore a fresh pair of shoes and started running and that moment was just for 15 minutes. I refreshed myself after the 12th hour.
The Heart of the Matter!
What is He currently doing in Fitso?
Today being the HOD at Fitso and overseeing its day to day operations along with the coaching of Running, Fitness and Nutrition gives me immense pleasure. Before Fitso, I worked as Head Coach for Bhagta Bharat NGO and have 4+years of experience in Operations, building start-up businesses and counseling.
How did it all Start?
I was always active in sports since school days and in the year 2015 at 25 my passion for fitness and running reignited. Soon I started participating in running events and have many half-marathons, marathons and an ultra-marathon to my credit. I’m proud to be appointed as one of the best pacers with the running community at Nike (Nike + Run Club).
Let’s talk about his Achievements in running till now!
I understand the importance of physical fitness in running and fun core training plans that have helped me to improve my performance. I have consistently outperformed my personal best timings in New Delhi Half Marathon for 5 years in a row. My personal best in Full Marathon is 3:41 hrs in NDM and Half Marathon is 1:17 hr. Through training, I share my experience running efficiently along with speed & injury prevention. This has helped many runners achieve their personal bests.
As a coach, I have nailed Bhaati Ultra in October 2017 and become champion of 50 km Ultra run along with the participation of New Delhi Triathlon Championship 2017. Amazing everyone and myself, I have accomplished to be the first and become Champion of Masters Triathlon (Swim + Bike + Run) to create a New Course Record.
On the flip side, I traveled to Kalmar, Sweden on 19th August and conquered the title of IRONMAN by finishing IRONMAN distance in Kalmar at 13:52 hours. Ironman is 3.8 km swim, 180 km bike, and 42.197 km (FM) run. I have been trying to create a wave in Delhi-NCR so that people can show their interest in running and Fitness.
The road ahead is full of opportunities. I aim to participate in World Championships and grab the medal for India in ultra running. People don’t usually perform well in both Ironman and ultras but I am eyeing to become the Fastest Finisher in Ironman in coming years. This will be the greatest achievement for me and India as well!