MUMBAI: An athlete from Thane has become the first Indian woman to complete the grueling Everesting Running Challenge (ERC), while a man finished it fastest, setting a new national record, the organisers said here on Monday.
The ERC was attempted by a group of five amateur atheletes from Friday evening at the tiny, automobile-free Matheran hillstation in Raigad but was finally completed by two late on Saturday and early Sunday morning.
While Mahejabin S. Ajmanwala, 37, became the first Indian woman to complete it early on Sunday, the group's coach Manish Jaiswal, 29, created a new national record by cracking it in the shortest time till date late on Saturday.
Organized by Snails2Bolt, a fitness group in Mira Road, Thane, ERC involves a tough trial in which the participants must run non-stop to achieve an elevation of 8,849 metres (8.85 km) — or equivalent to the height of Mt. Everest.
The selected spot for the ERC was a 700-metre elevation hill in Matheran which the runners ran up for 6.70 km, returned down and repeated the regimen at least 14-15 times till they attained the height of Mt. Everest, but the supported descent was not counted for the challenge.
An IT engineer with a private company, Jaiswal finished the tough task, running 91 km and a height of 9,183 metres in 18 hours and 58 minutes, notching a new Indian record, compared to the completion time clocked by three previous male participants.
For her new trailblazer ERC record, Ajmanwala, a sales manager with the realtor Kanakia Group, ran a whopping 92 km in 34 hours and 39 minutes to notch the final elevation figure of 9,948 metres.
As per the official announcement on Monday, both Jaiswal and Ajmanwala recorded elevation levels much higher than the required 8,849 metres.
"There were no breaks in the running, it was non-stop even during the two intervening nights, till we completed the ERC and attained the elevation of 8,849 metres," said an elated Jaiswal.
"Even when we got hungry, we ate while sprinting, as no rest period is permitted barring the recovery sessions by our group physio-masseur Rohit Kamble, who made us 'running fit' for the next 6.70 km haul," Ajmanwala said.
Jaiswal said it was a tremendous effort as all the participants trained rigorously for nearly eight months for the final mega-ERC or a 'virtual climb' of the tallest peak on the planet, Mt. Everest.
"We would not have achieved this spectacular performance without the untiring support of our entire Snails2Bolt team and the complete faith of Kanakia Group Managing Director Himanshu Kanakia and Fast&Up, which part-sponsored the event," Jaiswal acknowledged.
The full ERC has been completed by a total of 528 runners worldwide till date, including 36 women, with just five from India - four men and now also a woman - figuring in the Australia-based organisation's globally coveted "Hall of Fame".
Three others who started the ERC on Friday evening - Queenie Silveira, Prashant Rane and Narendra Ranawat - did not finish and dropped out at various stages of the event. IANS