No ob­sta­cle too tough in this race

CHAL­LENG­ING LIM­ITS Ob­sta­cle run­ning is catch­ing up fast with other ex­treme sports and In­dia’s Amit Ka­dian has shown po­ten­tial to shine

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - - SPORT - Ab­hishek Paul ab­[email protected]

NEW DELHI: For the res­i­dents of Beri, a small town in Jha­j­jar, Haryana, agri­cul­ture is the main oc­cu­pa­tion. And for the past cou­ple of years, they have been wit­ness to a rather odd sight as they toil on the fields.

A man runs around the fields with a tree trunk or a heavy sand bag on his shoul­der un­der the hot sun. Some­times he would crawl on the muddy field, and even jump into the canal nearby and swim for a dis­tance. It causes amuse­ment to the farm­ing com­mu­nity, a sort of comic re­lief as they slog in the blaz­ing sun.

For the man in fo­cus though, Amit Ka­dian, the seem­ingly lu­natic ac­tions are all part of prepa­ra­tion for his pas­sion --ob­sta­cle run­ning --- and his home­town Beri pro­vides the arena to per­fect the art.

Ka­dian took to ex­treme sport in 2013. He tried his hand in ul­tra-marathons, iron­man and other events be­fore set­tling on ob­sta­cle run­ning. In Novem­ber 2016, he par­tic­i­pated in his first in­ter­na­tional event, the Spar­tan Race Sprint in Hong Kong, fin­ish­ing eighth.

He also com­peted in the 2017 OCR World Cham­pi­onships. Last year, he qual­i­fied for the Spar­tan World Cham­pi­onship in USA, but could not go due to lack of funds. He has qual­i­fied for the 2019 edi­tion af­ter his con­sis­tency in the Spar­tan cir­cuit. “This is my strength. I did ul­tra-marathons and the Iron­man 70.3 (half iron­man) in Delhi, Hy­der­abad and Goa, but could not fin­ish on the podium. I then com­peted in the Dev­ils Cir­cuit, one of the big­gest ob­sta­cle races in In­dia, and found this sport is my thing,” Ka­dian, 34, said. “Since then I am hooked to it.” Dev­ils Cir­cuit is pro­claimed as the big­gest ob­sta­cle run­ning series in In­dia. A typ­i­cal event, it the or­gan­is­ers says, in­volves “run­ning across a 5km raw ter­rain in­ter­spersed with 15 mil­i­tary-style ob­sta­cles.”

EX­TREME SPORT

Along with the grow­ing fit­ness fad, num­ber of ex­treme sport en­thu­si­asts is also ex­pand­ing in In­dia, be it ul­tra-marathon, track run­ning or trekking. Ob­sta­cle run­ning is one of the most pop­u­lar events.

In In­dia, the Dev­ils Cir­cuit, The Bat­tleram and The Mud Rush are some of the most fol­lowed races. How­ever, the disci- One has to throw the spear in one at­tempt and have it stick into the spear­man (wood or hay). One has to crawl un­der barbed wire. Any packs/bot­tles must go through the ob­sta­cle. One has to hang from a rope 16 feet above the ground. The rope is caked with mud and wa­ter. pline is still at a nascent stage in the coun­try. Abroad, ob­sta­cle rac­ing has grown by leaps and bounds with Spar­tan and Tough Mud­der two of the big­gest races.

The chal­lenge for the com­peti­tors ranges from off-trail run­ning --- ranges from 3km to over 15km --- to crawl­ing un­der barbed wire to spear throw­ing. At­las lift (car­ry­ing a round stone weigh­ing around 100 pounds for a short dis­tance, past mark­ers), rope climb­ing, wall scal­ing and swim­ming are some of the other ob­sta­cles. If a com­peti­tor fails to scale an ob­sta­cle, he or she will be pe­nalised and must do burpees. Or­gan­is­ers may add new A racer has to carry a round stone of ap­prox­i­mately 45 kg from one point to another, do five burpees and bring back the stone to the start­ing point. A bucket has to be filled with gravel and it has to be car­ried along a pre­scribed route.

ob­sta­cles if they see par­tic­i­pants tire be­fore reach­ing the fin­ish line, to make the task harder. “Ob­sta­cle rac­ing not just tests your endurance but your agility and strength.”

PREPA­RA­TION

The paucity of train­ing ap­pa­ra­tus in In­dia led to Ka­dian set­ting up his own train­ing base. “I do one out­door train­ing (ses­sion) in Beri gen­er­ally dur­ing the week­ends. I have set up the ob­sta­cles my­self sim­u­lat­ing in­ter­na­tional races. It took a while but all this hard work was worth it once I started to see my progress in races. One has to pull him­self/her­self up a wooden board and slide on the other side. One has to hang from bars and carry him­self/her­self for­ward.

“I train for strength and grip in Delhi on a week­day. The gyms lack ob­sta­cle­spe­cific equip­ment so most of the time I im­pro­vise, set up some­thing that mim­ics the ob­sta­cles and chal­lenges.”

Ka­dian also trav­els to other places to train for dif­fer­ent con­di­tions. “The race con­di­tions are di­verse. But in Asia it’s done un­der a hot sun where tem­per­a­ture usu­ally goes up to 40 de­grees Cel­sius. So, I try to train in all weather con­di­tions.. I have also trained by go­ing to Vaishno devi and tak­ing less trav­elled paths to ac­cli­ma­tise to cold con­di­tions.”

His wife Ka­jal is also an ob­sta­cle race Ath­letes have to drag a tyre over a cer­tain dis­tance. The tyre must be touch­ing the ground at all times. One has leap over a wall of flame to claim the fin­isher’s medal. en­thu­si­ast and they plan to com­pete to­gether. Ka­dian is a veg­e­tar­ian and needs spe­cial diet, which Ka­jal helps over­see. “Nu­tri­tion-wise I fo­cus on eat­ing pure veg­e­tar­ian home-made food, pre­pared by my wife. Ghee and milk is com­pul­sory in the daily diet. Nutty grit­ties, dry fruits and green veg­eta­bles are also there to sup­ply nu­tri­ents and es­sen­tial min­er­als. I make it a point to eat sea­sonal fruits. I oc­ca­sion­ally take pro­tein sup­ple­ments. I also take part in team races. My part­ners Ricky Ran­jeet Sahni, who is based in Viet­nam, and San­ket Bak­shi, who is in New Jer­sey, also help me.”

HT PHOTO

Amit Ka­dian dur­ing a barbed wire crawl.

SANCHIT KHANNA/HT PHOTO

Amit Ka­dian poses with his haul of medals.

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