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PSU stocks Coal India and ONGC are the top gainers this week, joined by metal stocks JSW Steel and Hindalco. Titan also made the list, announcing 18% y-o-y growth this quarter.
On the flip side, Adani Enterprises, Eicher Motors, Hindustan Unilever, Tata Consumer, and Mahindra & Mahindra were the top losers. Adani’s first week in Nifty has made it reach the top but is on the wrong side of the chart.
USDINR went up 0.9% this week, while crude climbed 850 basis points to $95 as OPEC+ agreed to cut production. On a yearly basis, Nifty is still negative, albeit on a lower magnitude at -0.2%, while gold is up 10.7%. The 10-year yield is holding on to the 7.4 mark.
Price-to-Earnings (PE) ratio for the Sensex was at 22.4, and there’s a graph below for historical comparison.
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This week on our Kya Lagta Hai Bazaar, Deepak and Nihit talk about India’s outperformance against US markets, how INR stands against other currencies, where Deepak sees USD a decade from here, and which fixed income assets are yielding better than your bank’s fixed deposit.
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This 2000+ member buzzing community does not cease to amaze us, enlighten us, and inspire us. In this post, we are re-sharing an inspiring feat by one of our members, Atul Godbole.
Atul crushed the 90 KMs long Comrades 2022 Marathon in under 10 hours. Yes, 90 KMs in 10 hours. If just the math of calculating distance per hour is making you feel tired, read on to get a feel of the race as Atul describes it in his own words. Let us assure you, this is an inspiring story of training, grit, and perseverance. It is also a nail-biting thriller!
Comrades 2022 Race Report
It was my 4th outing at the Comrades race – the 90K ultra-marathon that takes place every year in Durban, South Africa. This was the 95th staging of this iconic race. It was supposed to be just another day at the office for me. The aim being to do a honest and hard day’s work, and cross the finish line to add +1 to my Comrades medals tally.
But it ended up being a nail-biter as I picked up more pace post 70K. It was a challenge sustaining that pace and even after a while even more challenging to see myself pass 80K. Later, I further pushed myself into the top gear, in my attempt to get under the sub-10 hour mark and snag the prestigious “Robert Mtshali” medal given to all sub-10 finishers.
In the end, I managed to cross the finish line with just 28 seconds to go for the 10 hour mark.
Post my Boston Marathon in April, it took me quite a bit of time to get into regular training rhythm. I was in celebration mode for almost 6 weeks post Boston – and deservedly so, as Boston had been the culmination of non-stop diligent training for almost 18-24 months.
Around May end, I got back into the training groove. Me, along with Team Motiv8, the group of athletes that I coach, did all our long runs on the rolling and hilly routes around Pune. I did one 50K (Tata Ultra), a 40K and a couple of 45Ks for a total of 4 long runs. Not quite enough if you want to have a real crack at Comrades, but good enough (for me) to ensure a safe finish. The rest of the team did a 50K, 55K, 65K and another 55K.
In the 1-2 days before I was supposed to fly out to Durban, all members at my home caught viral fever that was then widespread across Pune as well as most of India. I managed to escape just in time (or so I thought!) and flew into Durban on Thursday evening.
Soon after checking into the hotel, I started having chills and a sore throat. Oh no! I thought I managed to dodge the virus. Apparently not! I had a paracetamol tablet, put on layers, and went to an early bed without having anything to eat.
The next morning, the fever/chills were gone, but the sore throat remained and was now accompanied by body ache. Our team had a 30 minute shakeout run on Friday morning and it was one of the worst pre-race runs I ever had. I wondered How will I be ever able to run 90K on Sunday?
I made a trip to the local pharmacy and shopped for the local version of the “combiflam” tablet (combination of paracetamol and ibuprofen), plus vitamin C and B tablets. It was a feast of medicines that day, along with the occasional glass of hot water.
Thankfully, all that seemed to have helped, and I woke up on Saturday morning recovered and refreshed. It was ON!
On race morning, I woke up early (12.30am!), did my business, had something to eat and drink, and went to catch the marathon bus to the start point. This year, it was a “down” run from Pietermaritzburg to Durban. The race alternates between the “down” run and the “up” run every year, the “down” run being so called because you run down to Durban at sea level.
Consequently, over the course of the 90K, there is a net elevation drop of 600m. But that does not tell the complete story. The entire 90K course is rolling, with quite a few back-breaking climbs. The total elevation gain for the course is 1200m (approximately 2.4 times Sinhagad road climb, for those who have run up that road), and the total elevation drop is 1800m.
I lined up in my assigned section D, and eagerly waited for the rituals. First they played the bilingual South African national anthem, followed by an emotional singing of “Shoosolooza” – the local folk song, following by the theme from the “Chariots Of Fire” movie, followed by the crowing of the cock and the gun blast. It was 5:30am – the race had started!
I took it easy and conservative for the first 40K. Depending on the elevation and climbs by average pace fluctuated and I shuttled back and forth between the 10:00 hour pacer bus and the 10:30 hour pacer bus. Since I had no specific target in mind, other than a sub-11 at the worst, I never forced a specific pace.
The section from 40K to 50K is quite challenging. You are already starting to feel the distance, and then you are to tackle a killer of a 10K segment.
Post 51K is when the “net downhill” portion of the race starts as we begin the journey down to Durban at sea-level. In theory, downhill sounds very easy and tempting but when that downhill comes post 50K when your legs are already tired, it can pound your legs up real bad. The relentless battering of the legs from the downhill actually makes you look forward to some respite in the form of flat sections (of which there are none!) or even climbs, of which there is a healthy sprinkling throughout.
The point where many runners actually feel like crying is the sadistically placed hill around the 71K mark. Its only a bit more than 1K in length, but the gradient and the time of the day and the distance in the race when it arrives all combine to make you wish you could lie down into a fetal position in a cool shade on the side of the road. I climbed the entirety of this hill walking, as did most of the other “runners” around me.
At around 72K mark, as I crested the hill, the 10:30 pacer bus again approached me from behind. There was no way I as going to let that bus overtake me at this stage. I stayed just in front of the bus for almost a km and slowly started finding my “downhill mojo”. I relaxed my body and started freeing up my legs and letting myself go. In short order, the noise from the 10:30 pacer bus was out of earshot.
I was now getting into a nice rhythm. I was suddenly feeling very energetic. For the next 8K, I maintained a brisk pace, broken only by hills or climbs. By 80K, I had managed to shave off almost 15 minutes from the 10:30 mark.
At the 80K mark, My GPS watch showed around 9h:06:xx. I did a quick calculation (which was a miracle as I usually find it difficult or impossible to do pace/distance/time calculations so deep into a race). For a sub10, I had 54 minutes to cover the last 10K. I had good rhythm. I was feeling good. 10K in 54 minutes should be manageable, I thought.
And that’s when somebody shouted “50 minutes for sub10; 50 minutes for sub10!”. I was confused – just a moment ago, I had calculated that I still had 54 minutes. How could it be 50 minutes? Did I get the math wrong?
And then I suddenly realized! I had made a rookie Comrades mistake. I had started my watch only when I crossed the start line, but I had taken almost 3 minutes to cross the start from my lineup position in the D section! I had failed to follow what I always tell my athletes – start the watch when the gun goes off! I probably got casual about it because I did not have any fixed target in mind.
At Comrades, all medals are given by gun time – the time since the gun goes off, not since when one crosses the start-line timing point from their line-up position in their respective section. And thus, I was suddenly 3 minutes short. I had just 51 minutes in which to cover the last 10K.
Was it possible? There will doubtless be climbs which will break my rhythm and pace. Should I even try? I decided to go for it!
I picked up the pace. Hardly a few minutes went by and bam! – another climb – The dreaded Cowie’s hill. I did not have any time to spare. But you have to respect the terrain. If I mindlessly attacked the hill now, I would have paid for it later. So it was a run-walk for the entire 1K climb. By the time I crested the climb, I had gone off target by a precious 2 minutes. I would have to go sub 5:00 pace to cover up that lost time. Was it possible? Lets see I said to myself.
At that point, I was all in! I was going to fight or die trying. As the great runner Emil Zatopek has said “The best pace is suicide pace, and today seems like a good day to die!”.
I went into top gear. What would have easily been 4:30 or 4:40 splits turned into 5:0x or 5:1x splits because of the relentless onslaught of climbs and flyovers. As the minutes ticked by, I approached closer and closer to the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durbam which was the finish point.
In those last 10 kms, I asked at least 10 runners as I passed them if they wanted to tag along with me and make the dash for sub10 together. It would have helped to have somebody running alongside in that tough last 10K segment. From the Indian contingent, I remember asking Kashyap, Aniruddha, Tamali and a couple of others whose names I did not know. I ask a few runners from outside India too.
Everybody said no. It was not possible now, they said. But I was having none of it. Though I was not sure of making the sub10, I wanted to try and at least get as close to it as possible.
The only real flat segment in the entire race is the last 3 kms. Thank heavens! For I could not afford nor endure another climb. There was simply not enough time! Another quick calculation indicated I would have to go close to 4:30 pace in those last 3K. I was already at that effort level since the last many kms. Now the flat last 3K means that effort level actually translated into real pace on the road. I clocked 4:40 and 4:30 for the next 2 kms. Now I was cooking with gas!
It was the last K now. I was breathing hard. My legs were turning to rock. Would I make it under 10? Maybe I would, maybe I wont. But it was less than a km to go and I did not have the mental capacity for fractional math at that stage.
And then suddenly, as if under control from an external force, I slacked off. I turned off the heat. I could not endure it any longer. It was too much. I will do an easy run to the finish. Even a 10:01 or 10:02 would do! It has a nice ring to it! That’s when a group of spectators shouted: “Good running! Good running! You can do it! Last 500m to go!”.
I snapped out of my comfort zone. I cannot slack off now! I was so close!
I willed my legs to move again and went into top gear again. All this happened in less than 2-3 seconds, but I remember them so vividly!
Just before entering the stadium was a large race clock. The time showed 9:58:xx. Or was it 9:59:xx. I was not sure.
In any case, it was do or die. I entered the stadium praying to God that they wont make us run around the entire track.
Thankfully, the finish line was setup half way round the track. I was sprinting at this stage. As I circled round into the home straight, I looked at the finish line clock. It said 9:59:2x.
Thats it! That’s when I knew I would make it.
I was home! I broke into a smile and galloped past the finish line as the clock showed 9:59:32.
I was Comrades medal #4. It was a PB by 40 minutes. It was a sub-10. And it was the coveted Robert Mtshali medal!
I broke into a wide smile. It was from a mixture of relief and happiness and pride. It was from the thrill of having experienced a nail-biting, seat-of-your-pants episode. An epic race day was over.
One I will remember for the rest of my life.