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How young is too young to run an ultra marathon?

Should a race beyond the distance of a full marathon be a barrier for young girls to break their limits?

Well, I just did!

I’ve participated in a half marathon, full marathon, but running a 50 kilometre ultra marathon was beyond my imagination. And I marked my debut at the Four Feathers Ultra Marathon 2020.

I trained myself for that particular day for months, and I could see my progress as the actual race day came closer. I did not approach a coach or a nutritionist. I did not have high end supplement, but a good pair of trail shoes as well as the fighting spiring to hit the trails.

Having said that, my father was there in every part of the journey. He was the special energy gel to keep me going both in training and race. The race allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and try something that may make or break me.

So, did it break me?

As the sunlight raised and all runners gathering at the starting point, my anxiety hit.

The moment when the emcee counted down to the flag off, I was boosted up by the adrenaline rush and readied to tackle the first obstacle which was a 2.5 kilometre hill. I had to push myself a little harder to be fast before a “human traffic jam” in the single trail occurred. My heart rate stayed stable, around 141 to 157bpm but not until the moment I had to face the second 1.4 kilometre hill.

The sun was scorching hot. My mind was not cooperating and to top it all off, I had to face a short yet steep hill to reach the third aid station, that was at the 30 kilometre mark. Although the thought of “DNF” impacted my mind, my heart was stronger. Kilometre after kilometre, my dad became my pacer when I was low, whereas I became his pacer when he was low and by doing so, we could finish strong together.

Reaching the second last aid station, I was rather excited than miserable because we were so close to the finish line and at the fifth aid station, there were foods like rice, chicken and vegetables. Being in the trails for hours and not having some decent food in, this was my moment to indulge but it had to be fast because my goal was to finish under 12 hours.

After fuelling, we had to face another 2 kilometre uphill which I called the ‘Never Ending Hill’ and a 4 kilometre downhill. The hill was not steep but most runners were walking and it was a fight of 10% physical and 90% mental. Going step by step, we reached on the top and my spirit got higher as I knew I was left with another 6 kilometre downhill to finish.

I consumed my power bar and I was ready to run all the way down. The feeling knowing that I had another 6 kilometre to the finish line was a big relief. After months of training, waking up at 5:10am to run, doing long runs every weekend, the journey was gruelling but a huge satisfaction.

Approximately 400m away from the finish line, I could still see the sun setting down. The beautiful skies, breath-taking scenery and my dad by my side made the moment more memorable. Crossing the finish line, the first thing I did was, to thank God for giving us strength, and tell my dad – ‘We did it!’

So, to answer the question, it made myself believe that I could run such distances by trying something I never believe I can. Even after running a 50 kilometre, I’m not stopping here. There’s more to come.

It’s never too early nor too late to start!

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