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One kilometre, one life: the Anantapur Ultramarathon

Men running an ultramarathon in India
Author: Felita Viegas
Copyrights: Rural Development Trust

One kilometre, one life: the Anantapur Ultramarathon

Rural Development Trust reports on a unique sporting challenge raising funds to improve the living conditions of families in Srisailam, India.

128 runners participated in the fifth edition of the Anantapur Ultramarathon (AUM) on 24 January 2020. These runners were a part of a unique and exciting sports challenge: to run 170km in teams of four through the villages and scenic countryside of Ananthapuramu to enable 39 families in Srisailam to improve their living conditions. A challenge that they accomplished successfully before their run!

The AUM was an initiative by Juan Manuel Viera, an ultrarunner from Spain and Rural Development Trust (RDT) volunteer, who decided to run one kilometre for every new child enrolled under RDT’s education and health programmes in Anantapur.

¨The ´1 KM 1 Life´ intiative was born in 2015 out of the idea of linking the value of solidarity and sport together and that is the essence of the Anantapur Ultramarathon,"  said Veira. "Every year when we come back, we see the impact of what we have achieved through the previous editions and that raises our spirits and makes us want to keep going. That is why this year we want to give a special thank you to all RDT staff that support us and make it possible.¨ 

“This year we are seeing the highest participation since this event started," remarked Moncho Ferrer, RDT programme director. "We are so thrilled to see runners from different countries join us here at Ananthapuramu and support our cause,” remarked Moncho Ferrer, RDT programme director.

Encouraged by the RDT staff and the locals who gathered in huge numbers for the opening ceremony of the event, the runners started their adventure at 4.30 PM, covering the Bukkarayasamudram hill, the RDT High School for Speech and Hearing Impaired, rivers and many villages where people kept raising their spirits with drums and enthusiastic cheers until the end.

After going all through the night, these 32 teams concluded the relay ultramarathon, the only one in India, at the RDT Hospital premises in Bathalapalli.

As goes the motto of AUM which is ‘One kilometre, one life’, I joined the relay because running is one of my passions and through this initiative, I can change lives with it,” - Gowthami Bai, a local trained athlete who has participated in many national-level athletics competitions.  

Peter, who came all the way from Ireland to join the AUM for the second time said, “I have been a part of many marathons and it is always a great challenge, but the AUM is unique, because here I do not run for myself but to help others to access a dignified life”.

Mojde, who hails from Iran and is currently living in Bangalore remarked, “This is my first time running a marathon like this. Physically it has been a challenge, but emotionally it has been overwhelming to see how in all the villages and transition points there were people waiting for us. It has been a wonderful experience.”

Additionally, 130 runners participated in the Anantapur 10K which started at the resting place of Vicente Ferrer in RDT Hospital in Bathalapalli, and concluded along with the ultrarunners.

“I am a regular 10K runner but this experience has been like no other.  I came alone to this race but all through the running, I never felt alone. I made some friends along the way,” said Sajal Das, who came from Bangalore.

These runners have outdone themselves to successfully raise more than 1.5 crore rupees for the housing of the families in Srisailam. No matter their diverse background, their passion for running united them all at the V Anantapur Ultramarathon, and so did their will to fight against poverty. Most of them are already waiting to do it again next year. 

About Rural Development Trust

The Rural Development Trust (RDT) is a non-religious, non-political NGO that implements integrated development programmes in education, hospitals and community health, disability inclusion, women empowerment, housing and infrastructure, ecology and livelihoods and sports for development.

Started in 1969, it now works in over 3,700 villages spread across four districts of Andhra Pradesh and 2 districts of Telangana. Among them are 276 villages of Chenchu tribes of Nallamala forest areas spread across 29 mandals.

Visit the Rural Development Trust website for more information.

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Article type

News

Author

Felita Viegas

Copyrights

Rural Development Trust

Published

Friday, January 31, 2020 - 12:50