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Posted at: Jul 24, 2017, 10:23 PM; last updated: Jul 24, 2017, 10:23 PM (IST)

UP labourer struggles to find sponsors for dream race

Ramanand Chaurasia wants to become first Indian to qualify La Ultra marathon
UP labourer struggles to find sponsors for dream race
Ramanand Chaurasia, labourer

Ishfaq Tantry

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, July 23

Ramanand Chaurasia, belonging to a poor family from Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh and working as a casual labourer in the Border Roads Organisation (Beacon), is chasing his dreams in Jammu and Kashmir. 

But it is his poverty which is becoming a hurdle to accomplish his dream of qualifying the world’s most challenging ultramarathon, La Ultra-The High, to be held in Ladakh region of J&K in August this year.

Chaurasia has been preparing for the ultra run for over a year now by running daily 20 km. By qualifying the 222-km race, scheduled be held on August 17, he wants to become the first Indian to qualify this segment of the race.

La Ultra is an incredible race, which takes place in the Himalayas of Leh at a very high altitude (between 14,000 and 17,700 ft) every year. Last year, Chaurasia, a graduate in arts, was among the seven participants who qualified the 111-km ultra marathon race in 19.49 hours.

“If I qualify this segment of the ultramarathon, I will become the first Indian to do so. The race needs a lot of stamina, courage and practice,” says Chaurasia, who is still not sure if he can participate in the race, because he has not been able to manage the sponsorship amount of Rs 42,000.

“I work as a casual paid labourer in the Becaon and get a consolidated amount of Rs 8,060 per month. From this, I pay Rs 750 as mess charges whereas the rest of the amount goes to support my poor family in Gorakhpur,” says Chaurasia, who takes only ‘chana’ (horse gram) as a supplementary diet after his daily routine of 20-km run as he cannot afford a better diet. Back home, Chaurasia supports his four younger brothers and a sister, as his father Ramadhar sells ‘paan’ on the streets of Gorakhpur, struggling to meet the ends.

Such is the financial condition of Chaurasia, who is currently posted at the Srinagar headquarters of the Beacon, that he has got a pair of running shoes for Rs 500 as he is unable to buy high-quality shoes required for such ultramarathons.

If Chaurasia, who started running from a very young age, is able to make it to the 222-km run and qualify it, he will be eligible for future sponsorships and can also participate in ultramarathons. Not ready to abandon his dream, Chaurasia appeals the sports authorities of the J&K government and also the UP government for financial help.

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