Elango & Neha

“It is admirable for a man to take his son fishing, but there is a special place in heaven for the father who takes his daughter shopping.”

John Sinor

Proudly introducing Elango Shanmugam, who not only takes her daughter Neha for shopping but also accompanies her to various running events.

Elango is a 49 years old inspiring Dad and also an entrepreneur is a regular ultramarathoner and finisher of several short distance races and ultramarathons.

Few of his running credentials include,

  • finisher of the Khardungla 72k ultra and the full marathon back to back in 2 days in 2018
  • 12 hr stadium run, Nitros festival in Chennai
  • 110k at Malnad Ultra
  • 75k at Jawathu Hills Ultra
  • 60k at OOTYULTRA
  • 52k at Val Vil Ori Ultra
  • 50k, 2 times finisher at the Chennai Trail Ultra
  • 50k at Yercaud Hills Ultra
  • Veteran category HM podium finisher
  • Marina Runnerz – 1st place
  • Cool Runners Half Marathon – 2nd runner up
  • Nellai Half Marathon 2019 – 1st place

Elango is currently preparing for his first-ever Comrades Marathon Up Run to be held on the 7-Jun-2019 from Durban and he will also be running the 2nd edition of OOTYULTRA on the 7-Apr-2019.

On could easily find Elango as a calm person in general and running has been his passion. He not only inspires many buddy runners within his circle but also his family to embrace an active lifestyle. He also frequently participates in running events along with her younger daughter Neha.

Here is an inspiring narration of Elango’s experience of running his first-ever OOTYULTRA 60k and also how he had supported her daughter to finish her first-ever 15k mountain run in the same event.

How Was Your Experience Running The OOTYULTRA?

[Elango] The first edition of OOTYULTRA turned out to be a memorable event for me and my daughter in more than a single way. Being an ultramarathon lover, it brought in a great amount of delight to register in the 60k category. The highly demanding altitude and elevation profile of the route brought in instant excitements. The timing of the race was perfect since my entire family decided to go to OOTY on our annual vacation in April.

You Said, Your Daughter Never Ran In The Mountains Before, How Did She Decide To Make An Attempt To Run The OOTYULTRA 15k?

[Elango] My daughter Neha, although she has been participating in a few events running up to a half marathon, she had never tried running on steep mountains. Since she is very athletic and plays football regularly, my wife and I were confident that she would take the 15k run as a challenge and attempt it. She loves challenges and I believe that’s what made her sign up for the event.

What Happened?

[Elango] Neha had completed the 15k successfully. As a father, I was proud and happy to accompany her till the finish line. I had encouraged her and ran alongside till the finish line. Many of my other friends and runners appreciated her efforts and in many sections in the route, they ran along with us. We both were very happy and comfortable running as the course gave a feeling of “namma ooru run” (in Tamil means a run happening in our own town). We took plenty of pictures at many scenic sections on the running route and enjoyed our run thoroughly.

What Did You Enjoy The Most About The Run?

[Elango] It was a delightful moment when we reached the well-frequented Doddabetta point to find no sign of tourists or any sort of crowd at all. It felt like we were owning that place. We spent some time to admire the view from the top and captured many pictures. This was a moment we cherish in our memories forever. The local police and forest department had supported and blocked the entire stretch of road leading up to the peak and there was no traffic.

After spending a while, we moved on to run down the mountain to reach the 15k finish point almost closer to the cut off time of 2 hrs 30 mins almost cutting very close to the 15k cut-off time. It was a tense moment since even, I had to cross the cut-off and finish 60k.

What Were The Final Moments?

[Elango] My daughter finished her run at my 15km checkpoint. She was very exhausted in the final sections of her run, especially the last few excruciating meters of the uphill run to the finish line. However, the cheer up and count time made her gain some extra energy to push herself to dash into the finish line strong. She was so exhausted and at the same time happy to finish the run very close to the cut off time and also receive the personalized medal with her name. She felt so proud that OOTYULTRA became her first hill ultra!

It was a close call for you too, to get through the 15k cut off to go and finish your 60k, how did you manage to do that?

After running with my daughter till the 15k finish mark I continued my run to get through the 30k well within the cut off time. The rest of my run was equally delightful. OOTYULTRA course was very scenic and I ran through many villages, tea factories, and temples. Though I had visited Ooty several times in the past, I never had the chance to experience its hidden beauty away from the tourist spots. This run really made me see a completely different perspective of Ooty. I was so excited to experience this and I managed to finish the 60k in 9:48:55, well within the 60k cut off time of 10 hrs.

Lastly and yet quite importantly, the participants were from all over India, many being regular ultramarathon runners and Comrades participants. It was a proud experience to run with them


Please join me in wishing Elango a successful maiden Comrades marathon and for all his future running events.

On behalf of OOTYULTRA, we thank Elango and her daughter Neha for providing us with an inspiring Father-Daughter running story.

. Are you planning to run the 2nd edition of OOTYULTRA with your family?


Do write about your story to info@ootyultra.com. We will review your story and all the shortlisted stories will be published in our social media pages