I was deeply saddened to find out about the demise of Mr. Jeyaram Ramasamy, an inspiring veteran endurance runner, and a wonderful human being.
On the 20th of Jan this year, I received a mail from Mr. Jeyaram in which he wrote that the full marathon time that he submitted as a qualification for OOTYULTRA 60k was outside the qualification time and that he intended to do the 50k Chennai Ultra in order to make the qualification.
After seeing his mail, I went and checked his profile and was shocked to note he was 73! Soon after, I called him and generally discouraged him from running the 60k, considering the rigor of the OOTYULTRA and the associated medical risks. I was awed by the interest that he had developed towards endurance running and triathlons. I felt that I was talking to an 18-year-old enthusiastic teenager who just fell in love with endurance running. I also offered him to be a guest to the OOTYULTRA event regardless of his qualification status and encouraged him to choose either a 15k or 30k distance category.
On the 26th of Jan, I received another email from him stating that he had – quite unsurprisingly – completed the 52k Chennai Ultra successfully with a time of 6:44:37 and wanted us to confirm his entry to OOTYULTRA (Strava link).
I spoke to him after seeing the email, congratulated him, and once again invited him to be a guest to the OOTYULTRA while at the same time encouraging him to choose to run an easier distance. His response, regardless, was firm: “I’m now rightfully qualified to run the OOTYULTRA, and you can’t deny me to enter the event.”
I was amazed by his grit and determination to go the extra mile to qualify for the run by taking on the difficult challenge of running an ultramarathon barely over two weeks after a full marathon. He also expressed his interest in participating in the Bison Ultra, another mountain-based event I organize.
Later on the 7th of Feb, he successfully completed the Bison Ultra as the oldest runner to participate. I still cherish those two days at Yercaud and the small talk that we had on the expo day and at the finish line.
I have met many inspiring people in my life, especially through the running events that I’ve organized and the ultramarathons that I have run. Mr. Jeyaram is a special and inspiring human being, and one of the most interesting people I’ve ever happened to come across. His loss is terrible, and he will certainly be missed by all of us in the running community.
May his soul rest in peace.
Coach Kay, Founder/race director, OOTYULRA & Bison Ultra
Founder & ultramarathon coach, KaysFIT Academy