Dubai: UAE-based Jacob Thankachen has turned his attention to inspiring a significant section of the modern generation after undertaking a unique 70km ultra-marathon earlier this month.
Earlier this month, the 40-year-old, who played cricket at the college level while still enjoying tennis as a sport, undertook a 70km run up to the Jebel Jais summit in an attempt to inspire people towards an active lifestyle.
“No pain, no gain,” Thankachen told Gulf News after completing his unique feat.
“The more you dream and work towards it, you will definitely reach your destination. The more you try to motivate others the more you achieve in life. This isn’t about personal success alone. I have realised in a short span that one can be more successful when you have followers who can be motivated. People only follow achievers and motivators, and I think I can be proud that I motivated many in the process while changing the lives of others in the bargain.”
Thankachen started his career in running from 2016, and since then has seen his life change after participating in his first major event at the Spice Coast Marathon in Kochi, India, at the end of the same year.
Things were not exactly easy for the Indian runner. To start with, he had no idea of open-water swimming during his debut race held in Fujairah, in November 2019.
“But it was all about consistency, patience and above all mental strength to push myself. I just kept going and got better over a period of time,” he said.
Subsequently, he also participated in various gruelling races including the Abu Dhabi Marathon, the Coimbatore Marathon and the RAK Half Marathon.
In February this year, Thankachen completed his first Ironman 70.3 (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride and 13.1 mile run) and that proved to be a huge learning curve. Subsequently, he participated in the Ooty Ultra-Marathon (in Tamil Nadu, India) and the Wagamon ULtrail (in Cochin, India).
“All these events gave me the experience and the confidence to better myself and keep myself prepared for life’s challenges. And I am now quite keen to see if the younger generation will accept the challenges in the future,” Thankachen said.
“The next step for me will be the Tuffman Desert Ultra in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, in December. I want to do this run for my father, an ex-serviceman, and I am confident I can complete this race and motivate some more youngsters.
“When I started off I found it tough to do a 5km run. Now I have the mental strength to even compete for a 160km run in Jaisalmer [in December]. And even during this pandemic these extreme activities bring in a great sense of self-belief as one can eat well, sleep well while also having the immense sense of accomplishment. Youngsters need to experience this sense of belief in their lives, and that’s the main aim for me to take my activity to the next level.”