Traversed through many districts talking to people about fitness.

A Vizag man skates 200 km in a day to spread message of fitnessAll image: Facebook/RanaUppalpati
news Feature Tuesday, November 22, 2016 - 10:13

Aiming to complete 200km in one day is perhaps a childlike thought. But it is also a way to turn back the clock, and become the unperturbed boy who just plays through the day, says Rana Uppalpati, a Visakhapatnam-based businessman.

On November 14, 35-year-old Rana, a resident of Visakhapatnam, completed his mission of covering 200 km in a day skating from Andhra-Odisha border to Visakhapatnam. 

He intended to bring awareness on fitness and draw the attention of people to the concept behind Vizag Pinkathon, an event that focuses on women's fitness.

Rana came back to the city on Tuesday after the two-day journey covering an extra 42 km on skates to Bhogapuram as tribute to the Vizag Pink event held on November 20 in the city.

“After first 50 km, which took around two and half hours, I just made the spontaneous decision to skate 200 km. I was confident that I could do that,” he said. 

But the task turned out to be more difficult than he had anticipated. “After 100 km my body shut down, I just knew that I had to take a break,” Rana said. After the break, he was back at it again, and completed the task as planned.

Such long and arduous skating trips aren’t new to Rana. This year in the blazing heat of the summer, he had covered an 800km journey on skates from Visakhapatnam to Chennai and a 600-km journey from Mumbai to Goa. 

As child Rana has always been playing sports, though skating remained his favourite. His skates still bring out the child in him.  When he started skating when he was 8, he never thought his skate will be an inseparable part of his life. 

He started his journey early morning at 6. “As it was winter days, it was easier that previous trips,” he added. 

On his way, he interacted with many people and advised them on how can they stay fit. 

“I passed through many districts on my way and talked to many villagers about staying fit. It was an amazing trip, although I was tired. Giving up in the last 50 km, doesn’t make sense, so I continued,” he added.

On asking why he chose skating, he said, skating is not as popular as biking and walking in the country, it was a different and innovative way to spread awareness. 

He said, people become lazy after a certain point and stop caring about staying fit, the pain and hurdles he felt during his journey seem like a reminder, “never to take your health for granted.”

“People actually notice and listen to me when they saw me skating,” he said.

During his Vizag to Chennai trip he was on a mission to raise fund for patients of breast cancer and was able to raise Rs 6 lakh fund for the cause. 

With the fund he said, he could contribute cure three breast cancer patients in Mahatma Gandhi Cancer Hospital and Research Institute. That was an inspiration for his 200 km journey, he said. 

“Being a businessman I learnt from what all was missing from my first journey from Mumbai to Goa, I planned my second journey,” he added.

Skating for too long in one go was never easy but he always felt determined. During his journeys, sometimes he couldn’t bend his knees, but he always pushed himself forward.

But for now, he’s called it quits. “This is innovative, but I don’t want to overdo it. I’ve already completed three trips this year. The Visakhapatnam trip is my closure trip for now,” he said.



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