Bringing outdoor action within walls
BENGALURU: Repeated lockdowns and no sight of gyms getting reopened has left fitness junkies disheartened. While staying fit indoors comes with its own challenges, such as lack of motivation, there’s nothing that a little competitive spirit can’t solve. City-based venture NthAdventure, which launched virtual adventure sports challenges last month, is back with its third such event. Called the virtual tandem challenge, the event takes place from July 30 to August 3, and requires teams of two (with partners forming pairs from around the world) where each contributes a certain distance (10, 20 or 50 km) either by running or cycling. “Though these usually take place outdoors, they are easily adaptable indoors with gym equipment like treadmills and cycles,” explains Ajita Madan,who co-founded the outdoor adventure sports venture with Sayeesha Kirani.
Madan has been on a mission to make Indians aware of the wide gamut of adventure sports, other than mountaineering, bungee jumping or paragliding, that also qualify under the same spectrum. The Bengaluru-based former management professional co-founded NthAdventure in 2016 and had been organising events on adventure racing (a multidisciplinary team sport that could go on for two hours to two weeks), orienteering (group of sports that require navigational skills using a map and compass), night trail run and tandem challenges. The pandemic may have brought a halt to these competitions but Madan was determined to continue spreading word about them.
So far, Madan has organised two virtual adventure sports events. “In order to verify their claims, we ask them to submit videos, pictures and screenshots of tracking apps,” says Madan, who adds that the first two challenges – on adventure racing and a night trail run -- saw 101 and 70 participants, respectively, from different countries. “Besides keeping our effort at awareness-building going, we also wanted to provide an outlet for fitness junkies so that they could stay in high spirits,” says Madan.
The 30-year-old has been on several adventure sports expeditions to South Africa, Mauritius and New Zealand. Having seen the exposure such sports get in other countries, she says, “In India, we don’t even know about the existence of such sports. We conduct such events so that people become more aware and maybe India can get an athlete to participate in global championships.”
One of the participants in the upcoming tandem challenge will be software engineer Santhosh Gowda, an ultrarunner who has participated in the virtual 25km adventure race. Gowda completed all parts of the race – cycling, running and running with weights – in two days. “For running, I went to a trail near my house and for cycling, I just hit the road. With the Covid scenario, many aren’t stepping out for physical activity either, but I wanted a way to stay fit by maintaining social distancing,” says the Bengalurean.