Hyderabad: A city amateur runner Vijay Yargal has become the only Indian to have qualified for this year’s edition of Ultra-Trail Mt. Fuji, the well-known ultra-marathon that involves running for 165 km and in the process gaining a cumulative altitude of 9,500 metres. Billed as an unprecedented running event, the Ultra-Trail Mt Fuji course connects mountain trails, local footpaths, forest roads around the foothills of the iconic Mt. Fuji, Japan’s tallest peak at 3,776 metres.
Depending on the course, the participants run or sometimes even walk around the Mt. Fuji perimeter and have to complete the ultramarathon within 46 hours. The selection process for the trail run is extremely tough and involves submission of proof of earning a sufficient number of points by finishing other ultramarathons, which are that frequently around the world.
Every year, the ultramarathon of Mt. Fuji invites nearly 3,400 ultra-runners from across the globe who have fulfilled the qualification criteria and Vijay is one among the amateur athletes who will represent India in the race. “I feel blessed to have qualified for the ultramarathon because it is a dream come true to participate in the toughest and technically demanding race in the world. I must also thank Hyderabad Runners, with whom I have been training for a long time in the city,” says Vijay.
The Mt. Fuji ultramarathon is considered to be Asia’s longest single-stretch mountain trail and the races of Ultra-Trail World Tour, which comprises of 23 best and toughest trail runs of more than 100 km distance in the world. The run over the unforgiving mountainous terrain of Mt Fuji will not only test the physical abilities but also challenges the mental toughness of participants. “I have been training and preparing a lot and hopefully should be able to finish the run within the stipulated time,” he says.
In the last few years, Vijay Yargal has also qualified and completed the tough Ultra Trail di Mont Blanc, a 170 km long ultramarathon skirting the tough Mont Blanc mountain ranges circling the intersection of France, Italy and Switzerland. To his credit, he already has completed more than six such ultra-marathons, where the distance hovers between 78 km and 221 km. “So far I have managed to stay injury free and I feel really great to be able to qualify for this particular ultramarathon” Vijay added.