Shri Arun Kumar Bhardwaj, Bharat’s ultra marathon runner will be our ambassador to spread awareness of plant based foods and healthy lifestyles. Arun is vegan and teetotaler and is passionate about taking our shared vision around the world through his races.
Arun will compete in the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team’s 10 Day Race from April 22nd to May 2nd at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, New York. Participation in this race is by invitation only and the best runners are invited from over 24 countries to compete for 6-10 days and test their endurance, stress and grit while trying to cover maximum miles with minimal sleep.
Arun is from New Delhi and won the 3-Days race of Icarus Florida Ultrafest, 2015 by covering 325 km. He has several ‘firsts’ to his list of achievements:
- He was the first internationally acclaimed endurance runner from India. He is the best multi day runner of India as well as whole South Asian region.
- He was the first Indian to run over 100 miles within a time frame of 24 hours, first on a treadmill (2007: 102 miles: New Delhi) and then on road (2009: 110 miles: Athens Int’l 24hr race)
- He was the first Indian to finish the Badwater Ultramarathon in 2011 which, according to National Geographic, is the toughest organized footrace on the planet
- Arun became the first ever Indian winner of any multiday race when he won the George Archer Six Days Race, 2010 in South Africa by covering 567 km
- At the age of 43 years, he became the first person to run across India i.e. Kargil to Kanyakumari via Leh, a distance of over 4000km in 61 days – 1st October to 30th November 2012.
Bhardwaj is an established ultrarunner of international repute. He has covered 11790km in international races in various countries viz. Taiwan, Australia, USA, Denmark, Mexico, Germany, Russia, Greece, England, Wales, South Africa, Serbia and Hungary.
Bhardwaj trains 160-200 kms/week. He has undergone four major surgeries of Parotid Tumor between 14 and 17 years of age. With poor health from the age of 6 to 19 he was a victim of malaria every year in the rainy season. His body weight was only 26 kg when he was 14 years of age and 35 kg at 17 yrs. Arun was always the weakest amongst his classmates.
Fun facts about Arun in his words!
Favorite Ultra Foods: Being vegan and teetotaler I stay nourished with fruit juice, banana and sugar cane.
Why I am vegan: I don’t want to contribute to animal cruelty for getting milk from cattle. I like to stay fit and healthy with veggies, fruit, nuts, juices and soy/almond milk.
Things I like most about Ultra: Traveling, getting to make new friends. It gives opportunity to explore the unknown inner world and give spiritual ecstasy. I like my tears most during my ultras, I love them.
Things I hate most about Ultras: Leaving my kids waiting for me
What got me started doing Ultras: To produce myself as an example before my daughter that ‘Impossible is Nothing’ for a willing heart.
Why I do Ultras: I enjoy pushing myself to my limits. I am the only ultra marathon runner in Bharat, a country of more than 1 billion people and one can understand the difficulties I’ve faced in continuing my passion. But I always knew that my story will become a great source of inspiration for coming generations and that would be the greatest reward. Also, the pure spirit I found in Ultra Marathoners is matchless, celestial and I want to be a part of them. When you run beyond the imagination and beat your own bests, it gives a special sense of exceeding.
Why I am an ambassador for Sankara : I want to use my ultra distance running on a vegan diet to inspire mankind to take up running and to eat a plant based diet for better health. Through Sankara Healthcare Foundation I can take my message and experience of a disease free lifestyle to a larger audience and inspire people to live happier and more productive lives. Sankara’s HEAL(Healthy Eating and Living) Project is a great step in this effort and I want to help take it to the masses.
My favourite Ultra quotes:
“Never Give Up”. “If you have indomitable will-power then Impossibility-gate is not an obstruction.”
“When you believe then you can do it. Do you believe?”