My guest today is someone that is all in on going long with his running pursuits.
His story with running began 4 short years ago, yet he has already done multi-day races and distances well over 100 miles.
I’m looking forward to going a few easy miles with Aum Gandhi and learning more about him!
Finding An Outlet
Aum Gandhi can trace his running journey back to April of 2018.
He was working in a high-stress industry where he often found himself working 80+ hour weeks.
His career along with financial and family issues all culminated at the same time.
Aum needed an outlet and that is when running came into his life.
He chose running because it seemed to be the simplest of sports to get into.
The first time he laced up and went out the door, Aum ran about a quarter of a mile before he needed to walk.
The feeling that running gave him kept drawing him back day after day.
This was the first time in his life that Aum had committed to something for mental health reasons.
Worth It For The Good Moments
It took about a month and a half before Aum really began to enjoy running.
Even now that he is in much better shape, he still finds getting out the door one of the hardest parts of the run.
In the early stages, Aum was committed to sticking with the sport.
Not every run will be a great run or even a good run.
Aum has stuck with running over the years for the good moments that often show up unexpectedly.
The inclusive running community is another thing that Aum loves about the sport.
How To Run 100 Miles
Shortly after Aum began running he looked up the toughest races in the United States.
He came across a documentary produced by REI called, “How To Run 100 Miles.”
After watching it, Aum viewed ultra runners as superhuman gods that were unlike the average runner.
He was working towards running his first 5k at the time and therefore was dismissive of the ultra distance.
In late 2019, Aum pushed himself beyond his comfort zone and signed up for a marathon.
The start of the new year was also the year of the pandemic which altered everyone’s lives.
With limited races going on in 2020, Aum began running on the trails more.
All the time on the trails was enough to convince him to sign up for his first 100-mile race with 9 months to prepare.
Figuring It Out Along The Way
Aum lives his life setting big goals and figuring out how to attain them along the way.
Signing up for a 100-mile race was no different for him.
He had no idea what he was getting into, but he began to devise a plan and adjust along the way.
With 9 months to train, Aum began by working towards running a 50k in 3 months’ time.
Aum spent a lot of time on Google and YouTube when he had questions about his training.
He made a significant amount of mistakes along the way and learned as he went.
Aum was fortunate during his second 50k in February of 2021 to meet the person that would coach him to his first 100 finish.
Without her knowledge and guidance leading up to the race, Aum is unsure whether he would have completed the race.
Aum’s first 100-mile race was his most memorable finish.
He was the last one to cross the finish line with only 2 minutes to spare.
The race began smoothly, but things began to fall apart around the 50-mile mark.
Nutrition/GI and feet issues slowed Aum down, but it was an injury late in the race that almost led to him not reaching his goal.
With 20 miles to go, Aum suffered an ankle injury that slowed him to a crawl.
Aum credits his friend along with aid station volunteers for getting him to the finish line.
Originally, Aum wanted to be one and done with the 100-mile distance.
Upon crossing the finish line, he knew that it was only the beginning of his journey in the ultra world.
Fail Big Philosophy
After completing 100 miles, Aum wanted to also try pushing himself in different ways.
He signed up for a 72-hour race format that took place on a 1-mile loop.
His big goal was 200 miles, but ultimately he fell short and finished with almost 169 miles.
Aum was proud of what he was able to accomplish and it gives him another reason to try again.
He has a fail big philosophy that leads him to set big goals.
Aum would rather fail big, than set small goals he can easily accomplish.
He learned a lot during those 3 days that he will use in future races.
After completing multiple ultras in various formats, he has realized there are pros and cons to all of them.
For a timed race the pros are:
- No cut-offs to worry about
- The loop will be familiar therefore there are no surprises in the course
- Can carry less, because you are always going in a loop
- Will see other runners more often and are rarely completely alone for long periods of time
- Offers controlled environment to test your physical limits
- Looped races may not work well for someone that isn’t disciplined
- Without a set distance to complete, it is easier to stop once a certain mileage is reached
- Stopping after every loop may be tempting and more time may be lost without even realizing how it’s adding up
- Course may not be as exciting
Aum set another big goal for the race this year.
He signed up for the 6-day race and hopes to reach a minimum of 300 miles with 400 miles being his stretch goal.
A Cause Close To His Heart
Aum has a personal connection to Richstone Family Center, a charity that he has been working with since college.
Over the years he has built a relationship with the organization and the families that they work with.
He has raised money in the past for the Center and has upped his goal this year to really make an impact.
The organization’s mission is to “create safe and resilient families in which children can thrive and grow.”
Running for this charity gives Aum the motivation to train and complete his longest distance yet which will be the Moab 240.
Aum is proud to be the first person to represent India in the race.
Run Tri Bike
Aum is interested in all endurance sports, not only the running side.
He has partnered with others to create a marketing company that focuses on endurance events.
The company also produces a free monthly digital magazine called Run Tri Bike Mag.
Run Tri Bike is all about inclusivity.
They strongly believe that everyone should feel comfortable at the start line.
Every Tuesday the Run Tri Bike Instagram page hosts a fireside chat which has helped the community to grow organically.
Ultras and growing a business have taught Aum that “all he knows is he knows nothing.”
Mentioned In This Episode:
- Richstone Family Center
- Richstone Family For the Kids 2022 Campaign
- Run Tri Bike
- Across the Years
- REI Presents: How To Run 100 Miles
Stay connected with Aum Gandhi by following him on Instagram.
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