Imagine having to run 246 km in 36 hours. Tobias Lundgren, a Project Manager with TCS, successfully completed this challenge posed by Spartathlon, a race from Sparta to Athens.
In September 2015, Tobias participated in Spartathlon, a legendary ultra- run from Athens to Sparta that spans 246 kilometres. Being a part of the ultramarathon community, Tobias frequently heard about the Spartathlonthe-'holy grail' of ultramarathon, and one of the most difficult races in the world. "The feeling of running a race like Spartathlon is difficult to explain. I find more satisfaction in distance than I do in speed. In fact, I dont run an ultra-run like the Spartathlon for the challenge, I do it for the sheer pleasure it gives me," says Tobias. But, a race like Spartathlon cannot be attempted without a strategy in place. Tobias explains, You need to do your research. Preparation is the key to success in Spartathlon. Create a plan that works for you." The fact that only a third of the runners make it to the finish demonstrates how daunting the race is.
While talking about his incredible running journey, Tobias points out that running was not always a part of his routine. He had made attempts in the past to make it a habit but never succeeded. For him, running seemed fun for a couple of months, but after that it became more of a chore. Tobias began his quest of running five years back when he was marginally overweight and unfit. "I was never into any sports as a kid, but I was keen on competing in a marathon," mentions Tobias. The need to get fit and the challenge of running a marathon encouraged him to make a new start. As a newbie, Tobias was highly enthused about running but ended up getting injured and his plan to run the -Amsterdam Marathon 2010 did not materialize, forcing him to take a step back, evaluate, and build up his training at a slower pace. Tobias successfully completed his first marathonthe Amsterdam Marathon in 2011. "The transition from a non-runner to a runner is never immediate. For someone with a sedentary lifestyle, the body is extremely weak and can only endure limited training. The muscles need time to get stronger. This was my first important lesson about running," states Tobias.
Today, as a #Superhero for Amsterdam Marathon 2015, Tobias says, "I believe I was born to run. I run to feel that I am alive. Running is a part of me and I can't even think of missing it." After completing 62 races of 42.5 km or more, Tobias runs a marathon often just as a workout. He finds it incredibly invigorating to be outside and breathe in the fresh air. "Running makes me feel good. When I started running, health and the challenge were two reasons that motivated me, but not anymore. I run for the same reason a yogi does yoga. I don't run for the challenge or to prove anything to myself or anyone else. Only for the pleasure of letting my body and mind melt together. Running is about feeling alive, in a physical and spiritual kind of way. Running long distances is making a journey into yourself," states Tobias.
"To transform yourself to become a runner, or marathoner, or an ultra-runner is not about building up an exceptional athletic fitness. It is about discovering what we were built for. Our potential is much greater than what most people believe. Ultra-running is not about beating your personal record or to prove something. It is the pleasure of the journey of discovering who you really are," he expresses. According to him, when people shy away from challenges, they build a wall around themselves and limit their potential. "For success," he reveals, "become stronger and this can be achieved only through practice."