The biggest bucket list of Arunaabh Shah is to win the Olympics gold medal for India in either 10k or 42k or Triathlon. (He is still confused about it but would go for whichever distance he thinks is competitive). Arunaabh was an avid runner and swimmer from the childhood itself. He believes in taking actions rather than complaining about things. The Indian athletics scene has mainly had stories of struggle but no overwhelming success. Finishing events is separate but winning them is what we have lacked.
He chose this path so that he can be a positive example of how someone with no resources or talent can compete, toe to toe with the best in the world. And, he feels that this will inspire youngsters to take a step forward and actually get us a Gold in athletics at the Olympics.
Arunaabh used to be a swimmer. He started swimming at the age of 13 and has represented his state at 16. Then he left sports for four years because of Engineering studies. He again started running in 2012. So, when he started running and training this time, he had one goal in his mind – to become an Olympian.
The preparation was a vision quest. He read in books about various races and had the Google skills to find stuff he could do.
Thus, in 2012, he again started his training for running and triathlons. Till 2015, he trained himsef. Then he met people like Shreyas Karnad, Zarir Balliwala, Subramani Venkatesh who helped him through their knowledge and resources.
For 2015 SCMM, Arunaabh was coached by Shreyas Karnad. From 2015 Ironman till 2016 he was coached by Deepak Raj of Trianewlife Coaching. Then from 2016 to the beginning of 2017, he was again self-coached. From 2017 January to March, Subramani Venkatesh coached him. From 2017 March till present Shreyas Karnad coaches him.
“Knowledge is power but I didn’t sit around waiting for knowledge to come to my way, I ticked off things and learnt lessons along the way.”
One of the biggest examples is that he learned to swim Openwater in his 1st Half Ironman. He had read it in articles and books and he just implemented what he had read.
Arunaabh has done way too many Half Marathons and Marathons to remember. Other than that, he has done 30 odd official Half Marathons and 10 odd official Marathons. Here are some of them:
|2016||Ultraman Australia 2016||Youngest ever male finisher in Ultraman Australia history||32:16:57|
|2015||Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon||6th place in India||2:56:24|
|2015||200km Audux Brevet Randonneuring Event||7:32:10|
|2015||Mukteswar Half Marathon||8th place||1:39:30|
|2015||Ironman Mallorca||87th in age category||13:01:38|
|2015||7*70.3 Half Iron distance Triathlon||Self supported in 7 days|
|2015||12 Hour Stadium Relay Run||Winner||Covered 29.2 kms in 2 hours|
|2014||Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon||Category Rank: 49||3:27:41|
|2014||Aravali Trail Blazers Ultramarathon-56k||2nd place||5:22:08|
|2014||Mukteswar Half Marathon||9th place||1:36:32|
|2014||Nike Run Himalayas Challenge||Covered 901 kms in 42 days|
|2014||200km Audux Brevet Randonneuring Event||Cycled 250kms in 9 hours|
|2014||Globracers Bhati Ultramarathon-100k||1st place||15:16:30|
|2014||Bengaluru Half Marathon||12th place||1:24:16|
|2014||Ironman 70.3 Triathlon, Triathlon, Taiwan||149th out of 1578 people||5:33:32|
|2014||Airtel Delhi Half Marathon||20th in India||1:20:16|
|2013||Globracers Bhati Ultramarathon-50k||3rd place||5:21:10|
|2013||Airtel Delhi Half Marathon||77th out of 6654 Runners||1:25:01|
|2013||RWM Rohini Half Marathon||1st place||1:29:00|
|2012||Airtel Delhi Half Marathon||2:23:43|
“They made me more structured. I had a plan in hand and I had to follow it. With Shreyas, it is always fun because he gives the leverage to do things on my own too and allows space without pushing to do a workout in one specific way and doesn’t nitpick on it being too fast.”For the 7 Half Ironman, his cumulative time was 37 hours, and for the Ironman-70.3 in 2014, it was 5:33:32. His Personal Best for Half Marathon is 1:20:16, and for full Marathon, it is 2:56:16.
His experiences have ranged from intense euphoria to clinical depression. Everyone sees the person crossing the finish line and even the race that preceded it. But they overlook the effort it takes to get to the start line.
He feels that he is still in Step 2 of his bucket list and so, there is much more to learn.
“But so far the impact has been life changing. I have learnt many lessons along the way and widened my perspective and grown as a person. I have met many types of people along the way and learnt how to adapt.”
Other than the Olympics gold medal bucket list, his long term goals are to become the Ultraman World Champion and win prestigious Ultramarathons like the 4 Deserts, UTMB, Western States 100, Badwater 135, Leadville 100, Barkley Marathons. Along the way, he has several smaller goals: more Half Marathons, Marathons, Ultramarathons, Half Ironmans, Ironman, and Ultraman.
He also wants to start his NGO where he can fund the education, gear, nutrition, and training of young athletes and can produce Olympic Gold Medalists. And thus, to leave the world a better place than he came in.
“Well, until you can fully commit to your goals don’t do it. If you want something bad enough you will achieve it, if you don’t then you will give all sorts of excuses. And, learn self-reliance and do things on your own because you are your strongest asset.”