Ultra-Distance Trail Runners

Nickname: Ash

Birthday: December 8

Current Location: Chennai – India

Running is like a mirror of life; we may have lost a little bit of ourselves and our true feelings because we depend on muscles and numbers. My love for running started around 2009 when I was going to the gym for fitness and to lose weight, as I was a chubby kid who hated sport. I never had the intention to do races until one fine Sunday morning when a half-marathon was happening in my neighborhood. I was inspired by seeing so many people run so decided to run that distance the next day as I felt I had the fitness to do so. What started with little 10k’s and half-marathons quickly led me to trail running as I was inspired by the landscapes and mountains that these races go through. I’ve never been fazed by challenges so when some of my running friends coaxed me to sign up for a 50k, I bit the bullet and went for it. It was rather painful since I’ve never run more than 21k before that in training but I endured it and started running more often since that painful episode. I ran a marathon after that and my only intention from the beginning was to do ultra-trail races and I took steps towards that goal. I was still relatively young at the time so I had my own fears if this was the right time to make the step up to running 100 milers so I raced a lot and did several 50 milers to be mentally and physically ready. When the time was right I made the step up and have never looked back since. It was a dream that I worked towards and every year I’ve done tougher and more rewarding challenges.

I love the entire vibe of trail running with a low key racing scene supported by a quirky and loving community which has no shortage of characters. I’ve been fortunate enough to live in England and race around Europe the last few years; it’s certainly made me a better mountain runner and opened my horizons as trail running is a big deal in Europe.

I think the biggest obstacle I’ve had to overcome was to silence my mind and my own fears as these are some of the most challenging races in the world that I’ve run but it’s certainly been interesting and rewarding to have faith in yourself and it’s always reassuring when you reach finish lines.

Unlike some people with big bucket lists, I run because I like to be in the mountains, to be free and moving under my own power is magical and empowering. I would like to explore new trails and travel to new places to understand the culture and their views about trail running. Racing is also fun and is very much a by product of the training that I do rather than being the only focus, I would like to try out more technical mountain races in the future with the sport expanding all the time, it’s a hard choice picking the right races that pique my interest. I also have several personal alpinism projects that I am keen to experiment since I live closer to the Himalaya now. Just like with mountain running I like to move fast and light while I’m mountaineering too, although I have very limited experience I would like to hopefully explore more under an experienced climber soon.

I was pleasantly surprised to find an Indian brand working on products for endurance athletes. I have been personally consuming Unived’s products for the past 2 years and am very happy to share that they are on par with some of the best brands in Europe. Especially the RRUNN Pre & Post, and the Endurance Gels and Organic Protein, I find are exceptional and I see no reason why established runners abroad would not consume them. The RRUNN Salt Caps are topclass, too.

I hope that through my partnership with Unived, I could help in a small way by creating more innovative and better products for the endurance community that work in the most extreme conditions. I am excited to be working with my first Indian brand and hopefully this will be the start of a fruitful relationship.

Career Highlights

Old Dominion 100 miler (161 km/4300m+) – 2017: Woodstock, Virginia, USA – 23.45 hours

Tor Des Géants – 330 km (24,000m+) – 2017: Aosta Valley, Italy – 147 hours 43 minutes

Malnad Ultra 80 km – 2017: Karnataka, India – 11.23 hours

Diagonale des Fous – 168 km (10,000m+) – 2017: Réunion Island, France – 56 hours

Ultra-Trail Du Mont Blanc (172 km/10400m+) – 2016: Chamonix, France – 45 hrs 43 mins

Ultra-Trail Hong Kong (170km/8500m+) – 2016: Hong Kong – 38 hrs 32 mins

Lavaredo Ultra-Trail (119 km/5800m+) – 2016: Cortina, Italy – 28 hrs 32 mins

Transvulcania (75 km/4800m+) – 2015: La Palma, Spain – 16 hrs 38 mins

Autumn 100 (163 km/1800m+) – 2015: Goring, England – 23 hrs 32 mins

Up Close and Personal

To me, sport stands for

Celebrating our shared passion for a specific goal, making new friends and being part of something that is bigger and wilder! You always get more out it than what you put in so it’s very rewarding.

On a typical training day,

I do: A run in the morning and gym/mobility/climbing session in the evening or at the very least foam roll in front of the telly

I eat: Lots of fresh fruit and veggies drinking lots of water!

I wear: WAA Ultra equipment

I listen to: Coco the butterfields, Clean Bandit, Jess Glyne and Pretty lights

I recover by: I have always believed that active recovery is the best type of recovery. After a race or big training session it’s better to get out there and get moving. I walk, hike, cycle or climb to improve recovery time

I cross-train by: Climbing hiking

My idea of an effective weight training session is

My thoughts on this are varied and it will depend on the type of race, distance terrain I’m running, I usually tend to work on certain specific aspects like ankle strengthening and mobility. For trail running I believe strength training is vital as going up long ascents feels like doing a million lunges and having solid quad strength is very important to enjoy the downhill’s and not wince in pain!

The moment when I discovered my athletic potential was

It was through bodybuilding when I used to love cardio and could run in the treadmill like a hamster, I felt there was definitely something there and then I found ultra running!

The three biggest lessons I have learnt so far in my athletic career

1. Strive for progress not perfection

2. Learning to be patient and listening to your body, Rome wasn’t built in a day

3. Be passionate and have endless enthusiasm for the sport you practice

Before a big race, I tell myself

Enjoy it! Take a moment to enjoy the views, relish the endorphin rush of a thrilling descent and above all, delight in the arresting landscapes that you traverse.

The toughest race of my life was

3×3000 80k Skyrace (4000m+) in the Lake district (UK) in 2014, we had waist deep water in the valley and hail up on the fells, I even got stuck shoulder deep into a bog and almost got hypothermic but it was still “fun” 😉

The most memorable moment of my sporting career so far

Finishing my first 100 mile race in bonnie Scotland as the youngest competitor that year was a proud moment, the second half was a struggle but the views were pretty and I forged some friendships that will last a lifetime.

My training sanctuary is

Sherwood Forest but now Elliot’s beach

My dream starting line is

Tor des Geants (205 miles/24000m+)

I nourish my soul with

I like to read, follow other sports like X-county skiing, mountaineering and adventure racing. I love travelling and my passion for running has enabled me to go to some pretty incredible places and meet like minded souls. I’m always keen on following mountain sports and it’s brought me a lot of joy over the years.

Unived helps me by…

RRUNN During: helps me with maintaining my calorie intake during activity and it’s a very clean product easy on the stomach.

RRUNN Electrolyte Salt Caps: These are a lifesaver during hot and humid runs as I can pop one every hour and not worry about cramps or dehydration.

Organic Pea Protein: I use them in my smoothies every morning and it helps me a great deal to recover from my efforts especially during days when I train twice a day.

RRUNN Ultra Butter: I absolutely love these as they are so yummy apart from being healthier and more protein rich!

I have chosen to associate with Unived because…

I believe in the product and the people and I love the fact that they continue to innovate and push the boundaries.

My favorite Unived product is…

Organic Pea Protein Isolate – Chocolate

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