Ullas Narayan wins India’s first international medal in ultra running

Ullas Narayan came third at the IAU 24 Hour Asia & Oceania Championships, behind two Japanese runners Yoshihiko Ishikawa (253 km) and Nobuyuki Takahashi (252 km).

Ullas Narayan (Extreme right) bagged bronze in the 2018 International Association of Ultra Running (IAU) 24 Hour Asia & Oceania Championships.   -  @afiindia /Twitter

Ullas Narayan became the first ever Indian to win an individual medal in an international ultra running event as he clinched bronze at the 2018 International Association of Ultra Running (IAU) 24 Hour Asia & Oceania Championships in Taipei City.

Narayan came third, completing 250 km in 24 hours, behind two Japanese runners Yoshihiko Ishikawa (253 km) and Nobuyuki Takahashi (252 km).

The Indian team, comprising Narayan (250 km), Sunil Sharma (202 km) and L L Meena (192 km), also won the team bronze with their combined distance of 644 km. Japan won the team gold (756 km) and Australia (684 km) came second.

Among the Indian women, Hemlata Saini completed 172 km while Meenal Kotak ran 161 km.

Ultra races involve running over extremely long distances - far longer than traditional races. They are contested over two different types of race modalities, either over a set distance  (50 km, 100 km and longer events) or a set time (6 hour, 24 hourr, and multi-day events).

The Athletics Federation of India joined the International Association of Ultra Runners (IAU), the official body for Ultra Running, in 2017.

The IAU conducts International Ultra Marathon Championships and includes World and Continental Championships in the category of 50 km Ultra Marathon, 100 km Ultra Marathon, 24 Hour Race and Trail Championships.

AFI President Adille Sumariwalla said: “This is indeed a very proud moment for Ultra Running in India. The aim is to leave an impression, and this is precisely what the team has done.

“Our endeavour is to encourage ultra runners to achieve higher standards comparable on the global platform. The Ultra Running Committee of AFI has been working to take the sport forward with a vision of excellence and free of drugs.”