Vikash Malik becomes fastest Indian to run 100 miles

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Vikash Malik 

What’s the story?

Vikash Malik has become fastest Indian to complete a 100 mile (160 km) race. He achieved this milestone on October 7th 2017, in an ultra running event (The Hennepin Hundred) held in near Chicago, USA. Malik ran 160 km in 18 hours and 20 minutes - 17 minutes faster than the Fastest Known Time (FKT) ran by an Indian when he completed the race in 18 hours and 20 minutes.

The previous record for 100 miles was held by elite Indian ultra-runner Kieren D'Souza.

The background

Any distance longer than 42 km (marathon distance) is considered ultra-distance. India sent its first ultra-running team to trail the world championship held in Italy on June 10, 2017. This event is organized by International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU), an international body that deals with ultra-running events.

The heart of the matter

Originally from Shamli, U.P., Malik moved to the United States in 2011 and got interested in ultra-running. "I started running to lose weight but then it became a way of life or better you can call it ‘addiction’," stated the runner.

He started running half marathons in the beginning but then fell in love with long distances that are beyond 42 km. He had been training for this race since last one year, simply by focusing on longer races and putting a lot of miles in training.

"My goal was to run a sub 20 hour 100 miler when I looked at my watch at mile 70, I started thinking about Indian record," says Vikash. "It was very tough at the end but with the help of my pacer, I made it happen."

Vikash holds a PhD in Physics and currently working as a Research Scientist in a multinational company. "I love long distance running and feeling of freedom when I go for a run," says Vikash.

When asked about how he trained for the event, he replied, “I try to run a minimum of 120 km each week that includes a weekly long run of longer than 30 km. Sometimes it is very difficult to train because of my job and family responsibilities but if you love doing something you will make time for it.

Vikash has completed many 50-mile races in the past and also ran the Boston marathon this year.

What's next?

He gives credit of his success to his family and friends. "I could not have done this without their help, they kept my nutrition and hydration in check from one aid station to another," says Vikash. "There is a lot of room for improvement and I am now working on my diet and training."

His next goal is to qualify for the Western States 100-mile race. "I would love to represent my country in ultra-running if I get a chance."

Author’s take

I like reading about emerging athletes and their passion for sports. The time and energy, these people devote in their sport are truly inspiring. India has produced some very talented ultra-runners that include Arun Bhardwaj, Amit Kumar, Kieren Dsouza and Ullas Narayan to name only a few. All these members represented India in World Trail Championship held on June 10th 2017, in Italy.

Kieren Dsouza crossed the 100-mile mark in spartathlon 2016 in 18 hours and 37 minutes and that was the fastest known time ran by an Indian in a 100-mile race. Vikash covered the same distance in 18 hours and 20 minutes.I did a thorough search to learn about the fastest time run by an Indian athlete in 100 mile category. Details and results of his time (Hennepin 100) can be found on the following links.

Edited by Abhijit Bharali
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