Vasudev Hemachandran on participating and completing the Rishikesh Half Marathon

Like many students of management Vasudev Hemachandran races against time to finish projects and seminars. However, Vasudev, also a fitness and sports enthusiast, decided to tread a different beat and participated in the 21.1-km Second XC Rishikesh Half Marathon that covers the picturesque but tough terrain at the foothills of the Himalayas.

A student of Management Development Institute in Gurgaon, Vasudev, who was on a holiday in the city, says he was motivated to join the marathon on account of his friend Anirban Patra.

“I was used to running five to seven km on the treadmill. So I felt that I could do it,” says this former student of Loyola School and College of Engineering, Thiruvananthapuram.

Organised by Running and Living, an organisation that promotes running, the marathon attracts people from all walks of life. The website of the organisation states: “This is a gruelling run for those who have run a few half marathons in 2:30 or quicker – be prepared for upto 45 - 60 mins slower times….The course for the XC Half Marathon is very tough – train well and get ready to be humbled on this trail.”

Vasudev finished the half marathon on May 26 in three hours and 44 minutes. He says the joy is in completing the marathon because the steep incline and hilly terrain is quite daunting and can challenge the resolve of many. In addition to promoting running, the marathon also had the lofty aim of raising awareness about efforts to clean and thus save the Ganga.

“Beginning at 5 a.m. from a place near Shivpuri, we go uphill till Malakunti Village. Then we cross a hanging bride over the Ganga. Most of the course hugs the Ganga and one can see the river down below. The scenery is breathtaking. Once we cross the bridge, the going gets tough. It is hilly and very difficult because you are going uphill. There is no question of running…you can only walk and the ground varies,” says Vasudev.

The incline takes runners to Kota Village and then it is back to the Malakunti bridge.

Both weather and terrain test the stamina and will power of the participants. “Although it was pleasant in the early morning, by 8.30 a.m. the sun was up and the heat and the humidity made it quite uncomfortable,” he recalls. Most of the trail was lonely except for a house or two at a distance of four-five km. He admits that covering the distance from 12 to 14 km of the course requires endurance and determination because of the steep climb.

Now, Vasudev has set his sights on the Delhi Marathon. In the long run, this should help the engineer and management student to stay on course without losing sight of his goal.