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A journey of 5,000 kms from the ocean side of California to Annapolis, Maryland was completed by Maharashtra’s Amit Samarth on June 25.

Being the first ever Indian to complete Race Across America (RAAM), the ironman-doctor from Nagpur completed the prestigious race in 11 days and 21 hours.RAAM — Race Across America is widely recognised as the longest, toughest running endurance and challenging bicycle race for the last 35 years, and a tribute to human strength.

From the Pacific coast to Atlantic coast across United States non-stop through 12 states, five long rivers, 88 countries, a distances of 4,925 kms.

It is open to solo racers as well as two, four and eight-person team.

Solo racers must qualify by competing in one of the 30 qualifying events worldwide.The distance covered in the race is equal to covering Mt Everest thrice where there are multiples weather changes, no sleep, extensive test of endurance and most importantly, mental strength.

The 35-year old cyclist decided a year ago to partake in the excruciating event when he was crewing for an American cyclist.Amit was in America three months prior to the race as he was practicing to take the challenge by acclimatising to the conditions.

“I saw many cyclists quitting the race last year and I did not want to do that.

So I decided to go to the US before the race and train hard,” says the record holder.

Amit has previously participated in various national and international marathon and triathlon events in the last couple of years.Amit reveals that financing the race too proved to be a tough job.

“People from Nagpur were really helpful but I needed more than that.

We tried to reach out to the government for support but we could not gain much help from their side as well,” he reveals.

While explaining the most challenging time from the race, he says, “On the third day, when we were in the Arizona area, the heat wasn’t easy to handle.

I saw many participants the race but that thought never came to my mind.

I kept going and my crew was constantly supporting me.”As an endurance athlete he has to his credits — eight Ironman 70.3, RAAM Qualifier-Deccan Cliffhanger 643 kms cycle race from Pune to Goa in 27 hours, more than 100 half marathons and eight full marathons.

He is a 1st Dan Black Belt in Taekwondo and has completed the 1,000 km brevet from India Gate-Wagah Border-New Delhi in 54 hours.

The doctor is also is the founder of ProHealth Foundation, a public health professional, an endurance athlete and promoter for sports for health.  “The food habits that we have these days require a lot of work out.

I am keen on promoting it among the masses through my foundation,” he says.

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