I recently participated in the Bangalore Ultra Marathon . I participated owing to two reasons. A good friend prompted me to join and I had a lingering feeling of incompleteness, as I could not the finish the Bangalore Full Marathon in 2013.

Typically, preparing for marathon of this nature requires months , but I do not think I have prepared for anything for that duration. So it boiled down to preparations of two weeks and the maximum I did was 17.5 KM’s in 2 hours 45 minutes. I figured out if I can finish the first 25 KM’s in the first four hours, I can finish the rest before the allotted ten hours by the authorities to be eligible for a finisher medal and finisher certificate.

Unfortunately, my friend who had to pull out in the last minute owing to a knee injury, knowing my penchant for food  cautioned me on not to miss the lunch. I saw the time table and saw the race starts at 6 AM and the lunch ends at 3 PM. So instead of 10 hours I had 9 hours. So I had to finish in 9 hours. There is no way I am going to miss that lunch. I am one of those outliers who live to eat and not vice versa.

Also, no one could not beat me in the first four hours, as I was the last!

Cutting a long story short, I did manage to finish the race and here are the details for the statistically and analytically inclined.


Nothing impressive about the above.

There was ten minutes grace time for lunch to complete and I completed within the grace time.

I can bore you with many further things about this run, but I just wanted to share just one thing. I wondered what made me to finish and surprisingly the answer is


‘Fear of Failure’


Failing Whom ? I do not think anyone knew or cared till I came back and boasted about it in whatsapp groups (I possibly would have remained silent, if I had not made it ). My home was just putting up with my known eccentricities and withheld their irritation, when I had to leave at 4 AM in the morning to reach the venue of run.

I wonder,  why the ‘Fear of Failure’ pushed me to complete. At one point when I had completed the third lap (37.5 KM’s) , I just wanted to give up. But something inside me ‘Hey Zunder, do not do this yet again.  Aren’t you ashamed of the excuses you give yourself? Just keep walking’.

As I pulled myself up and limped the last lap, I could not but notice that the fear of not finishing engulfing me.

So it makes me wonder if ‘Fear is a good motivator’ despite being typically portrayed as a negative emotion. I am not sure what science says on this subject, but I did feel that I would have liked myself a little less if I had not completed and the primary motivator apart from the lunch was ‘Fear’

Surprising, but true.

So, has ‘Fear helped you achieve your goals/milestones/plans’ ?

What do you think ?

Is Fear a good intrinsic motivator ?

When I was casually searching for an answer, I read this quote in the book that featured in the weekly book review column

“Fear is an unbelievable motivator, but it also makes people freeze in their tracks. Once you understand it, fear becomes something you can tap into.”

I am not sure if I understood fear, but I understood I had fear!

There is only one other thought I want to leave you with.  By definition of BMI (Body Mass Index) I am morbidly obese and if I can complete 50KMs, anyone can complete. Hopefully you will get there in the next Bangalore Ultra.

Enjoy Maadi (Have Fun)