One Hundred Days of Running

I am Ishan Joshi, a sixteen-year-old boy studying in the Shri Ram School- Aravali. My father, Rahool Joshi, is a proficient runner who has run about several marathons, and my mother, Sonal Joshi, is as competent a runner as he and has run about ten marathons. I have a younger sister as well, called Shravani, whose sheer enthusiasm makes up for her lack of experience in the field. Prior to the 100 days of running challenge, my relationship with running was somewhat unsteady; I ran only around three or four times a week and found myself consistently unable to effectively balance my studies with my running, thus resulting in me forsaking the latter. That changed once I accepted the 100 days of running challenge.

When my sister and I heard about the challenge from my parents, who had already enlisted their names among those who would undertake it, we were greatly excited. I felt that the challenge would be an excellent way to establish a steady relationship with running at last, while my sister probably just liked the idea of tackling the challenge and overcoming it. Nevertheless, despite it being for our own reasons, we were both ready to face it and see it to its end. We registered our names for it.

When the first day dawned, I donned my socks and shoes at 5:00 am and ran at a pace somewhat faster than my usual. Upon finishing the required two kilometres, I was elated. I had, after all, taken the first step to overcome the challenge.

I continued in this vein for the next ten or fifteen days, running sometimes in the evenings and sometimes in the mornings. I was, as we teens put it, ‘on a roll’, finishing my two kilometres in eleven, sometimes ten minutes. At the end of each day, I would log my results, as well as my mother’s and sister’s (my father had- and still has- the Strava app), on the website, feeling a sense of accomplishment every instance. I had, I believed, finally gotten used to running every day without fail, be it even a distance of two kilometres.

However, I hit my first major roadblock during the summer holidays (apart from aches and pains from running so frequently) around day number twenty-five. I had, prior to the challenge, signed up for a residential, two-week-long summer camp called Young Technology Scholars, or YTS for short, intended for the learning of new concepts in science and math. It involved plenty of lectures in the morning and afternoon, followed by our fair share of recreational activities and self-study. Of course, with such rigorous study filling my afternoons and evenings, my only option was to rise early and finish my two kilometres quota as soon as possible.

However, I couldn’t always do that, as to go anywhere at all on the campus where we were stationed (Pathways World Aravali), I needed some sort of figure of authority, like a management volunteer, to come with me for safety- and they weren’t always willing to rise at the most ungodly hours of the dawn to watch some kid jog, even if it was for only ten minutes. So how did I manage to continue running? Simple- I ran whenever and wherever I could, be it in corridors, the field while everyone else played basketball, or even when the volunteers weren’t looking. It was here I saw what it really took to maintain a relationship with the sport called running- dedication and hard work pushed to the maximum, and then some more.

As more and more people dropped out of the challenge, I realized just how difficult this challenge really was- after all, having to dedicate time to running despite every muscle howling protest was not something many people could do. But in the end, I persevered. I continued to run, and as day number seventy passed, I started to enjoy it. I got used to running everyday even if I wasn’t in the mood for it.

And what should I say about my little sister (although she annoys me a lot, today I have only praise and admiration for her 🙂 ). She has surprised all of us. Being a 9 year youngest member of the family, we did not expect her to come so far. But she preserved throughout. She had her fair set of challenges – ear infection, an injury in the foot, school, her classes, dram practice etc. But every day she would wake up early or go out late in the evening but finish her 2 km within our complex.

Now, as day ninety-seven approaches, all I can think of is how I can’t believe that I’ve made it this far. Every ounce of pain and irritation I felt has all been worth it. Every drop of sweat I’ve shed has been worth it. Every bleary morning has been worth it. I couldn’t have made it this far without my family’s invaluable support, and I can’t thank them enough for it. As the climactic day approaches- day number hundred- the fifth of August- all I feel is excitement and anticipation; for the hundredth day as well as tomorrow, when I will lace up my shoes and run like I’ve never run before, so I may face the last days of this challenge with a smile as well as every ounce of strength I have.