AMIT SHETH, Mumbai.

The Satara Hill Ultra half marathon has been one of my favourite 21.1km races since its inception in 2012. There are several reasons why this half marathon is now, arguably one of the best in the world.

Author : Dare to Run

Ambassador - Comrades Ultra Marathon and Recipient of the "Spirit of Comrades" Award.

The Satara Hill Ultra half marathon has been one of my favourite 21.1km races since its inception in 2012.

There are several reasons why this half marathon is now, arguably one of the best in the world.

The passion and dedication of the race director Dr. Sandeep Kate, the meticulous perfection with which every aspect of the race is organized, the hospitality and generosity of the people of Satara and the race management, and the famously beautiful and difficult race route have been just some of the reasons.

The main reason however is one which is very rarely articulated. The race management in the fullness of their wisdom have understood from the very beginning that running the race is a microcosm of life itself. Running a marathon is much like living. We strive to be better today than we were yesterday and we wish to lay today the foundation stones for a better tomorrow.

With this philosophy in mind, the race organizers decided on a route which takes you and down up a notorious hill (which honestly speaking, is a mountain) and then they give out medals for different cut-offs. The sub 2:00 finisher is deemed to be a Hill Champion, the sub 2:30 finisher a Hill Conqueror and those finishing above the 2:30 mark are deemed to be the Hill Challengers. But not for a moment should we understand this to mean that we have vanquished the actual physical hill.

The "Hill" is just a symbol for our perceived limitations. The different medals only signify that within ourselves, which we wish to over come. We wish to break the barriers of time, distance and space and become better today than we were yesterday. The thing that we wish to conqueror or challenge or vanquish on race day is not the "Hill" but the demon within us which stops us from becoming that which each one of us has the potential to become. We all wish to become better than we are and this race affords a wonderful opportunity, once a year, to see where we stand in our quest.

Cheers then to the Satara Hill Half. May you always be the beacon guiding us up and down that cherished Mountain !

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Amit Sheth, Mumbai.