‘I like the challenge of running,’ Globeracers founder Kavitha Kanaparthi
“There is a sense of complete freedom and exhilaration every time I hit the trails, the energy and joy I experience is something that I cannot explain. I like the challenge of running on difficult trails. It is the steady rhythmic pace with every step, the gruelling ride down mountains and different terrain that keeps me going.” – Kavitha Kanaparthi, Race Director Globeracers.
It was 5 in the morning and Kavitha was heading to her friend’s place for a run as usual, unfortunately this morning life had other plans. On her way, Kavitha was hit by a bus leaving her body broken and giving her injuries that she would have to probably carry for life. Waking up after three weeks of coma, she had lost and forgotten several pieces of life, which meant relearning and rebuilding several aspects of her life. She was 15 years old then, and few months away from her board exams.
Nevertheless, undaunted, Kavitha carried on with her life. “Every time I would be confused or find anything difficult I would grab my shoes and hit the trails. It kept my sanity,” she says. After her schooling, Kavitha went to the USA and completed her higher education. Her life has gone through various stages – an electrical engineer by education, stints in computer hardware, interior designing and finally organizing ultra-races and the creation of Globeracers in 2009.
“Globeracers happened by chance, it wasn’t meant to be an ultra-race organizing website. It was a blog that was meant to record my runs across the country,” she adds. However, destiny again had other plans, during one of her consulting visits from US to India in 2009, Kavitha happened to meet a runner at the serviced apartment she was put up in. In due course, they decided to gear up and go running to the mountains.
The run was in Sandakphu, for which, all the logistics and preparations were done by Kavitha. “I wanted to experience this run completely, so I decided to organize the logistics, speak to the locals, route out the maps and plan everything,” she says.
After the run, Kavitha realised that she could easily organize runs across the country. While she had come to India from the US for a short visit, she decided to extend her stay here and start focusing on organizing ultra-races. She started looking at races differently. She began reading more about the kind of experiences people have, the international standards of each race, what kind of training one needs to put in, and after reading all the different guidelines, Kavitha headed out on a recce for the first race by Globeracers to Jaisalmer and Pokhran.And soon the first endurance race began in India in late 2009 – The Thar Run, a 210kms five-stage race in the Thar Desert of Rajasthan. “We registered people offline, the marketing was all word-of-mouth, it was our very first race, we didn’t have a manual or a plan ahead in time. There were several things that had last minute hiccups, but we managed well, we even managed to partner with brands like Gatorade, Suunto and Salomon,” reminisces Kavitha.
The Thar Run had India’s first ultra-runner Arun Bharadwaj participating along with two Germans, two Singaporeans and a Canadian. “That was our first race, we had no plans, no idea about anything, so each race turned out to be learning experience,and today we understand everything. The recce and organizational work begins at least a year in advance, we brief the drivers’ volunteers, everyone to the ‘T’,” says Kavitha.
While growing as a company and an organization, Globeracers has only one priority –the runner. “Each race is understood and briefed differently based on the terrain and landscape. We are very strict in our
rules and limit the number of runners in every race, while brands want a race that has multitude of people participating.We are very particular of the ratio, and each terrain has a different volunteer to runner ratio,” says Kavitha.Elaborating, she adds, “We have become more of a nurturing ground for ultra-runners.The runners, who have dreams for themselves, start coming for Globeracers races, we give them guidance on the ground of what they should and shouldn’t be doing, how they should train, what it means to train well before a race, what needs to be prepared, mandatory gear you need to carry, and so on. We also brief them on how you need to react when you are lost, how you need to react when your health is failing, how to save yourself, we don’t want to lose a runner on ground.”
Creating a base for Indian ultra-runners, who can be counted among top international runners in the world, is one of the main focus points for Globeracers in the coming years.