Pilani,Rajsthan: I am BK Dalip Shekhawat associated with Brahma Kumaris centre, Pilani. With the belief that with Baba’s blessings there is always a chance to be extraordinary, fight through the pain and suffering and test my limits to discover how far I can push myself. From June 5th-9th 2022, I completed the 8th edition of the Jungle ultra marathon held in the Amazon rainforest of Peru.
Jungle ultra is a breathtaking footrace through the Amazon rainforest. It is a 230 km race split into 5 stages of suffocating jungle. It is a self-supporting race, runners are responsible for carrying out all their food, 2.5 litres of water, a sleeping hammock, sleeping bag and safety equipment. Accommodations each night were provided by research stations. We all slept outside in our hammocks in the Jungle. A total of 60 elite runners signed up for the race, 38 started the race, and only 20 could finish the full course.
The race was intense, adventurous, and soul-purifying. Each stage was tough and offered different challenges. It felt like the jungle beat me up, I tripped and crashed multiple times on the trail, got bitten by red ants and bugs, fell on sharp rocks, got scraped and bruised by the spiky undergrowth, still with the determination to wave Baba’s flag at the finish line, I managed to crawl and stumble through the slippery and steep climbs, shin-deep mud and knee to waist-deep water busted my legs. Dangerous wildlife, heavy rain and choking humidity kept me drenched and uncomfortable, yet very fortunate to pause in the middle of the chaos and admire the beauty of the Amazon. All the scratches, contusions, and pain were the gifts of the jungle.
At times, I felt weak and vulnerable, especially on stage 5, which was a 70 km long stage, it was very technical, and it involved 15km of the river crossing, climbing 1150 meters of the hill and sharp slippery descents in the dark. Around 7:30 pm I was at 55th km into the race, it was pitch dark by now. As I was running down the steep descent, suddenly my headlamp flickered and turned off, I was terrified for a few moments to find myself stuck in the middle of the jungle with no headlamp. It was impossible to move even one step without a headlamp on that treacherous descent. At that moment I asked Shiv Baba for help, then I gave a few taps to the headlamp and to my surprise the headlamp started working. I thanked Baba and went full throttle to get out of the jungle as fast as I could, fortunately, the headlamp died exactly when I came out of the jungle into the shallow river. I used my hiking poles to cross the river and managed to navigate another 2 km on the waterlogged path to reach the checkpoint. I will always be thankful to Baba for helping me during the crisis and giving me the strength to run through the Jungle and wave the flag at the finish line.
With Baba’s blessings, I climbed Mt Everest in 2019 and completed a gruelling 250km ultra-marathon in the scorching heat of the Sahara Desert of Morocco. To date, I have climbed 17 mountain peaks and ran over 33 ultra marathons. Over and again Baba has helped me throughout my adventure journey. In December this year, I am traveling to the South Pole on a 16-day ski expedition and in April next year, I will run a marathon on the North Pole. For both the adventures, I am preparing to bring Baba’s flag to the Poles.
I am very thankful to my family, members of the Rising Runners group and my father BK Nathu Singh Shekhawat who inspired me throughout my planning, training, and run. I am also thankful to Asha didi and Swati didi at Brahma Kumaris Center at Pilani for handing in the Shiv Baba flag to wave at the finish line. Through these adventures, I am trying to rise above worldly things and put myself into the higher domains of spiritual consciousness.
“Not all the challenges are real, through meditation, self-discipline, and commitment to the plan, we all have the power to pull off the impossible”.