Ullas Narayan on Sunday became the first ever Indian individual medal winner in an international ultra running event by clinching a bronze in the 2018 International Association of Ultra Running (IAU) 24 Hour Asia & Oceania Championships here.
Narayan bagged the third position, completing 250 km, behind two Japanese runners Yoshihiko Ishikawa (253 km) and Nobuyuki Takahashi (252 km).
The Indian team, comprising Narayan (250 km), Sunil Sharma (202 km) and L L Meena (192 km), also won a bronze with their combined distance of 644 km.
Japan won the team event gold with a distance of 756 km and Australia (684 km) got the silver.
Among the Indian women, Hemlata Saini completed 172 km while Meenal Kotak ran 161 km.
Ultra races involved running over extremely long distances which are far longer than the traditional races. They are contested over two different types of race modalities, either over a set distance (like 50 km, 100 km and longer events) or a set time (like 6 hr, 24 hr, and multi-day events).
The Athletics Federation of India joined the International Association of Ultra Runners (IAU), the official body for Ultra Running, only last year.
The IAU conducts International Ultra Marathon Championships and includes World and Continental Championships in the category of 50 km Ultra Marathon, 100 km Ultra Marathon, 24 Hour Race and Trail Championships.
AFI President Adille Sumariwalla said, “This is indeed a very proud moment for Ultra Running in India. The aim is to leave an impression, and this is precisely what the team has done.
“Our endeavour is to encourage ultra runners to achieve higher standards comparable on the global platform. The Ultra Running Committee of AFI has been working to take the sport forward with a vision of excellence and free of drugs.”