Topic outline

    • Atacama Desert Runner (By Rudraneil Sengupta)

      About the passage

      Read to understand

      A. Answer these questions with reference to the context.

      1. ‘This marathon is organized by ‘Racing the planet’, a sporting event management company headquartered in Hong Kong, and is widely recognized as the most prestigious outdoor series in the world.’

      a. Which marathon is being talked about here? Where is it held?

      Ans. The Atacama Crossing Race is being talked about here. It was held in the Atacama Desert in Chile.


      b. What is the total distance covered in this marathon?

      Ans. The entire race covers a total of 250 km, at altitudes between 1,600 and 3,000 metres on the course.


      C. What is the ultimate objective of this marathon?

      Ans. The ultimate objective of the event is not just sport but to foster greater understanding between diverse cultures and nationalities.


      2. ‘The feeling of elation and pride I felt is indescribable’

      a. Who is ‘I’ here?

      Ans. ‘I’ here refers to Sumanth Cidambi.


      b. What do you understand by the word ‘elation’?

      Ans. The word ‘elation’ means a state of extreme happiness or excitement.


      c. Why did ‘I’ have a feeling of elation and pride?

      Ans. Sumanth Cidambi had a feeling elation and pride because he was the first Indian to complete The Atacama Crossing Race.

      B. Mark these statements as true (T) or false (F).

      1. Mawsynram is the driest place on earth. F

      2. The Atacama Crossing Race is organized by ‘Racing the Earth’. F

      3. Cidambi took up running after being diagnosed with diabetes. T

      4. Cidmabi and kakade were the first Indians to compete in the Atacama ultra-marathon. T

      5. The competitors safely crossed through the minefield with the help of glowsticks. T


      C. Answer these questions.

      1. What makes the Atacama Crossing Marathon a very challenging one?

      Ans. The Atacama Crossing Marathon is a very challenging one because the entire race covers a total of 250km, at altitudes between 1,600 and 3,000 metres on the course and daytime temperatures can reach 45° Celsius, while nighttime temperatures may drop to 5° Celsius.


      2. What motivated Cidambi to join the race?

      Ans. Cidambi had a passion for the sport. He had attempted a half-marathon in 2006, Mumbai and a full marathon in 2007. This race was a greater challenge he wanted to take on.


      3. What kind of terrain did the marathoners have to face?

      Ans. The marathoners had to face sand dunes, rocky climbs, bare mountains, and canyons.


      4. The participants were from different races, religions, and nationalities. How do you know this?

      Ans. The participants were from different races, religions, and nationalities because they were from 30 different countries.


      5. Why did Cidambi feel like giving up? What helped him to stay focussed?

      Ans. Cidambi felt like giving up because Stage 3 and Stage 4 were very difficult and Stage 5 was worse. Cidambi had blistered and sore feet and the food did not agree with him. He stayed positive at all times focusing on good thoughts.


      6. Why was a ‘safe route marked out by glowsticks’?

      Ans. A safe route was marked out by glowsticks as there were minefields in the area because of a border dispute between Chile and Argentina.


      7. Was it a kind thing to suggest to the runners that the glowsticks might have been moved?

      Ans. It was not a good idea to suggest to the runners that the glow sticks might have been moved because this would have caused the runners to go a long way to escape the mine and it would have made things more difficult for the tired, tense runners.


      8. Why does Cidambi say ‘being first was merely an optional extra’?

      Ans. The competitors were able to share hopes and fears. They were able to help each other and a feeling of brotherhood had developed between them even though they were from different countries. That’s why Cidambi said ‘being first was merely an optional extra’.

      Discuss and write

      1. What do you think surviving the minefield ordeal can be compared to?

      Ans. Surviving the minefield ordeal can only be compared to a frightening experience with death.


      2. Do you think the runners were conscious of the differences in their culture and backgrounds? Why do you think so?

      Ans. The runners were not conscious of the differences in their culture and backgrounds instead they were celebrating a sense of brotherhood. In such circumstances, they would need each other’s support and the differences did not matter.