It’s frustrating speaking to stockbroker and marathon enthusiast Mohanadas Kandiah. After reaching his life’s goal of running 100 marathons (he started at age 35), you’d expect this hardened athlete to dish out hardcore advice on how to make the 42km distance seem less daunting. Instead, the 50-year-old simply says running marathons back-to-back on consecutive weekends are “easy” – it’s all about having fun. Here’s what he said.
Why 100 Marathons
This 100-marathon target was a result of a friend’s challenge back in 2004, when he asked me to break his 13-marathon record by 2005. So, I had to complete six marathons in 2004. I won the challenge, and set a lofty target of reaching the century mark. I hit my 100th 42km run during the Brisbane Marathon on Aug 1 last year. Right now, I’m up to 115, and I’m not going to stop. Milestones in your life – like your first marathon – are only the start of many more.
"I Wasn’t Enjoying Myself"
I was really competitive when I first started training for marathons. For a beginner runner, I trained hard and wasn’t enjoying myself. At my peak, I was doing 100km to 110km per week. I put myself under pressure to make every run faster than the previous one. But, gradually, I became less competitive and just had fun. Now, I can’t stop running – and marathons are my training runs, because I do them so regularly!
"The Hardest 20 Minutes Of My Life"
You’ve got to adapt to your body’s natural rhythms. You can’t expect a solid performance every time. Midway through a local ultramarathon last year, a safety vehicle drove up alongside when I was struggling through the 26km mark and the driver asked if I wanted to give up. I did – it was my off day and I couldn’t continue any more. The ride back to the starting line was the hardest 20 minutes of my life.
Run To Live
I hope I can inspire people to run because it can change their lives – like it changed mine. I was a heavy smoker, drinker and failed my medical test when I was 28. I was shocked at my physical state, so I started running with friends. It changed my perspective on things and, at 35, I entered my first marathon, finishing it in 5hr 35min. I gave up smoking and dropped it to 3:59 within 11 months.
Running Is Universal
During the Beijing Marathon last year, I saw a Chinese lady – maybe in her 60s – plodding along at the 36km mark. I couldn’t speak Mandarin but encouraged her to keep going. She didn’t understand me, but she knew my intent. She grabbed my arm and we ran hand-in-hand from the 36km mark. Running is a universal language.
YOUR FIRST 42KM
Keep running with Mohan’s tips.
You can’t run away from clocking mileage. Still, don’t be afraid to mix things up. If you’re due for a 20km run, split it into a morning and evening run, for instance.
Reduce your speed by about 10 per cent, and you should be able to run a distance that’s an additional 20 to 25 per cent longer comfortably.
During the mid-to-late stages of a marathon, you’ll slow down and take a longer time to get to the next water point. Why not try carrying some water with you for this stage of the race?