One of the most heart-warming stories from the runners in The Great India Run is that of Dhanee Kumar, the runner from Anjar in Kutch district of Gujarat. Dhanee may look slight and unassuming, but he has won six ultramarathons in the country in the past two years, despite not having any athletics training.
Hailing from a rural farming family, Dhanee keeps busy with tending at the farm when he is not breaking ultramarathon records in the country. “I started running when I was five years old. Over time, people around me said I had talent in the field and that’s when I took it up seriously. I’ve never looked back since then,” Dhanee says when asked where he started the practice of running long distances. Nowadays he’s busy training to run with some of the best ultra-runners in the world in The Great India Run.
The 29-year-old started practicing on his own owing to lack of funds to hire a coach, when his current coach Jitendra Khodiyar scouted him and started training him for the ultras. Since 2013, Dhanee has completed noted ultramarathons such as the 100km Zendurance ultra-run in Ladakh, another 100km run – the famous‘Run the Rann’ in Kutch, a 160km ‘Globeracers Ultra’ again in his home state of Gujarat in the Rann of Kutch, and then returned to win the 160km ‘Run the Rann’ again last year.
“My first ultramarathon was in Ladakh and it was really great. But the most memorable run was one in Rann of Kutch in which I lost my way at night. I was only five kilometres from the finish line, but was then lost for five hours.”
Now, as he prepares for the run of his life in The Great India Run, he runs 30-40 km each day. and fuels himself with a simple diet of dal, rice, vegetables and chapatis. This is what works for him. “I work out every day and take rest on Sundays. Usually, it’s a long run at a slow pace one day, followed by a high-intensity session the next day. I eat a usual diet, nothing too dramatic. It’s usually my coach who sets the workout patterns as he is the one who guides me,” says Dhanee who has studied till Class 12.
About The Great Indian Run, which is being organised by mobiefit along with ProSportify, he says. “This run will be good for motivating people to start running. The essential requirements for running are the power of one’s mind and proper training. If one can make a career out of something that he/she loves doing, then there is nothing like that,” he concludes.