It was mid summer night of October when I was fast asleep and suddenly got a call from my friend, would you like to join us for the “Run The Rann”?
I asked, what’s this all about? He said its not for the faint hearted, it’s the Ultra Marathon, Ultra Trail 51kms in the Rann of Kutch, set against the silver-white landscape of India’s biggest salt desert in Dholavira.
I readily said yes as I was excited about hearing it. And since I had the opportunity to visit the Rann Utsav In Dhordo, my second bucket list was getting fulfilled.
So after a strenuous training with my coach for 4 months, that included Hill Training, Long Runs, Sand Walking and Treks, I landed at Bhuj Airport on 1st Feb 2018.
Run The Rann | The Great Rann of Kutch
Rann Utsav is an awesome festival of Kutch, Gujarat, India. It is a Carnival of Music, Dance, Nature beauty of White Rann and much more than that, especially when one visits under the Full Moon. Kutch Rann Utsav is in this shimmering landscape that gives the enchanting moments to this Fest, and which feels like Heaven On Earth during Festival Time.
We stayed with friends here for one night in the Swiss Tents; though we felt that we should have stayed more. But nevertheless all time spent here was worth the while and I will always cherish the moments. We sure agreed that we would love to visit this place again.
White Desert of the Rann
We visited the White desert of the Rann and there the Sunset was so enchanting that we all fell in love with it’s awesomeness. It’s so beautiful that one cannot describe it in as many words.
Dholavira Ultra Marathon
Time had come to say goodbye to the Utsav and head towards The Great Rann Of Kutch where the 51 kms Ultra marathon was to be held in Dholavira.
Dholavira, was one of the largest, grandest, and the most advanced metropolises of the 5000-year old Indus Valley Civilization. It was one of the five largest metropolises of the Harappan civilization, a site of immense archaeological interest. It’s located on the Khadir Belt island in the Great Rann of Kutch. And a tour of the Archaeological Museum and Fossil Park reveals many such incredible discoveries.
Run The Rann
Run The Rann is not your average trail running race. It’s more of an adventure that will take you deep into what Incredible India has to offer. Only the strong could Brave The Desert. The Race in which your trail is not marked and you happen to have a hand held GPS device which was the only hope for your survival and not to get lost in the midst of the desert jungle.
With formal training in GPS navigation and Trail route orientation, we had to start early at 5am the next day before sunrise and finish the race before the cut off time of 12 hours. Here’s a formal photograph thatI took with my friends before start, in case I got lost and could not be traced…..
The race started exactly on time and we navigated our route through Salt Pans, the Dry Desert, Thorny Bushes, Ran through the Mountains, Paddy fields, Lakes, Cracked desert land, Vast salt marshes, and unforgiving cacti along with a few slithery surprises like wet mud, Quick sand, Snakes.
At one point, I felt like quitting the race as it was so treacherous and was literally struggling my way to the finish line. Imagine not a single soul to be seen in kilometers ahead of you, with Dogs barking and hounding behind you, and literally scared out of wits. Imagine no Trail Markings and only the Garmin GPS devise in hand, 51kms seemed to be unending. But once at the finish line, it is a big sigh of relief, with a race which lasted 10hrs behind, it is now the memories to be cherished.
This Ultra Marathon Trail Run has changed my perspective towards life. We all crib for small small things and don’t realize how unimportant they are and so minuscule they are in life. I have learned to look at life with a bigger picture and with an open heart. Sharing with you, am sure it will make a difference in you too.
A La Prochaine