Jatin Marken is a runner from Yamunanagar, a city in the state of Haryana. He ran the 2017 edition of 100 Days of Running, and that was his stepping stone to bigger things. Here’s his 100 days story.

“Elite Runner or not, everyone somehow vividly remembers the exact moment or person that triggered running in them”. In my case, it was 100 Days of Running (HDOR)!

At the outset itself, I’d like to dedicate my running life to HDOR. I had never been too much of an outdoor person until last year when my brother asked me to register for HDOR’17, to which I indifferently responded “, Chalo, register karne mein kya jata hai”!

It all started since then!

I started small with a minimum 2k and then looked at changing “tomorrow morning – just tomorrow morning; just one step at a time”, got that squared away and gradually step after step, mile after mile, one victory at a time, one foot in front of the other, I slowly upgraded from 2k to an ultra marathoner!

HDOR’17 not only made me realise the runner in me, but also made me a local hero (as I was the only participant from Yamunanagar)! I met like- minded runners who are my support system now. Last year, to celebrate my success, my running friend, Keshav Manik Tahla along with other runners had thrown a surprise party on the last day of the event. This witnessed flagging off of the event by the local MLA along with a small celebration. The event also attracted fair media coverage. I finished the event with 638.4 kms clocking 25k on the last day! And then there was no looking back!

While earning miles on miles, I developed a special bond with Keshav Bhai (current leader of HDOR’18). His infectious energy, par excellence with numbers and constant encouragement made me realise my running potential and I would like to thank him for the following developments:
1 – First 25k – I was running 5-10KMs on daily basis but he pushed and made me run my first 25KMs on the final day of 100 days!
2 – First 30k – I ran my first 30k with him on Jan 01, 2018 when he was doing his regular New Year 50k!
3 – First Ultra – He was very clear and equally adamant that I wouldn’t be doing any full marathon. I was really confused but he was conceiving my first ultra underneath and on Global Running Day(June 06, 2018) the stage was set and I did my first Ultra (55.55 kms from Yamunanagar to Ambala in 7:41:57) while he attempted the mighty 100k (111.11KMs in 13 hours and 38 minutes).
He has jumped straight to 100k from 21.1 on 12/12/12 and he did the same to me!

HDOR’17 was about tasting and running and this year is about tasting grit! It’s all about running long this year. Even before registering, I’d set out a target of achieving in one month what I achieved in the full hundred days in HDOR’17. With the Almighty by my side, I clocked 638.4 kms on 26th May, bagging 5th position on the leaderboard. I was ecstatic and this only fuelled in more energy in me to run farther and farther!

In this journey of running, the important question is not why I started, but why I continue! And it’s because of my running community and it’s support. I would like to thank Keshav Bhai for his unending encouragement and Zainul Bhai for constantly motivating me. A big Thank you to Irina Hazarika Barua who has persistently supported me. Karan Saini and Naman Jha – grateful to both of you for always pushing me to do my best.

Most of all, I am indebted to the organizers of HDOR for introducing to me the wonderful world of running. HDOR has taken me from couch-to-ultra and from fat-to-fit.

The event has also taught me that nothing is unachievable when we are determined to achieve our goals. It has made me realize that one of the greatest moments in my life is realizing that one year back my body couldn’t do what it is doing now.

Thank you HDOR!