Wg. Cdr. Sandeep Kinha

I’m delighted to introduce Wg. Cdr. Sandeep Kinha, an airforce pilot, and our eighth OOTYULTRA 90k endurance runner, to run the GavaTeaOotyultra 2020

As announced before, the OOTYULTRA 2020 will feature a brand new 90k category (only by invitation) with ~3800 m elevation gain and ~3620 m elevation drop and comes with a 12 hr cut-off time.

Sandeep lives in Wellington near Coonoor and loves sports and endurance running in general. I’m happy to present my interactions with him here.

Hi Sandeep, Congratulations, and welcome to run the OOYTULTRA 90k. Please tell me more about you and your love for sports.

I am an Indian Air Force pilot for the last 22 years. Presently I am posted at Defence Services College Wellington, Coonoor, Tamil Nadu. I have been an outdoor person since my school days. I loved spending my spare time playing sports and other physical activities, including running, swimming, cycling & tracking. In the past, I have played most of the outdoor games to include Football, Hockey, Basketball, Volleyball, and Tennis. Presently I am into Golf and Squash. I have also done a course in basic mountaineering.

How did you start running? Does your family run too?

I have been a good sportsman but started running long distances only in the year 2015 at the age of 39. I did not have any exposure or motivation to run marathons until I met Gary, a friend from the National Defence Academy (NDA) in Delhi. Gary runs half Marathons regularly. His narration of marathon running experiences motivated me to take up running after a break of nearly 20 years. There has been no looking back since then. I started with Half Marathon in 2015 and graduated to the full marathon in 6 months and finally ran my first ultra (75 K, Nilgiri Ultra) in the year 2017. I have also started motivating other friends to take up long-distance running, and quite a few of them have taken it seriously. My son, who is 12 yrs old, also regularly participates in runs up to 15k. My wife runs 10k & daughter (8 years) does 5k. So, now it has become a family affair.

What is so unique about training for an ultramarathon?

Initially, it started as an endurance test to see if I could run long distances, and slowly, it got converted to passion. I was able to meet a large number of people who are positive and full of energy whenever I went out for a run. The added motivation to run is the freedom it provides me to eat & drink whatever I want since burning calories is an integral part of running. Running Ultras was a natural progression for me since I wanted to test my physical and mental endurance. I love being outdoors, and ultra runs provide an excellent opportunity. The training for such ultramarathons brings discipline in my lifestyle, ensuring adequate physical work. The extra km are surely adding more healthy years to my life.

What ultramarathon races have you done in the past?

I have done about 20 plus half marathons and 15 odd full marathons. My best timing for HM (Delhi) is 1Hr 33 min, and for FM (Mumbai) is 3 Hr 46 Min. I participated in Ladakh FM and stood third in the Non-Ladakhi category. I stood first in the 75K distance category of Nilgiris Ultra in 2017 and came first in 100 K in the year 2018. Since my 40th birthday, I have started running the distance equal to my age, i.e., 40K and reaching 43K on my last birthday. I plan to continue such runs till I turn 50 and start reverse counting after that till I reach 1 Km at 99 (who knows?).

How did you know about OOTYULTRA?

I got to know about OOTYULTRA through my friend Col Prashanth who is a keen runner and our group leader cum coordinator. I realized that the race has been receiving a great response by all runners with positive feedbacks for the organizers. I am sure it will be even better this time.

What is your strategy towards completing the OOTYULTRA 90k?

The 90k route is surely is tough, but the challenge lies in doing tough things. Running 90K itself is a big challenge and adds to it the steep elevation change. Still, the human body is designed to adapt to training. I plan to finish it in 11 hr 40 min but, more importantly, aim to finish healthy and strong till such time I am within 12 hrs. I have been training in the general area around Ooty since I am based at Coonoor. Progressively I have been increasing my mileage as well as distances for long runs.

Whats after this?

My next target is to participate in Triathlon, Ironman and might consider running the Comrades marathon in the future.

Please join me in wishing Sandeep a fabulous and a flying OOTYULTRA 90k finish.OOTYULTRA is just 40 days away, and all the registrations will close on 28-Feb-2020 or before we hit the capacity. The 15k tickets are sold out, and 30k will be closed today. Those who are trying to register will have an option to buy the limited number of Save Nilgiris charity tickets between 29-Feb-2020 to 4-Mar-2020.

#coachkay, Race Director, OOTYULTRA,