At first, finishing his latest hundred-mile run in 23 hours, 33 minutes, and 57 seconds was a personal record and a big moment for alumnus Nishad Singh, '09. But then it got even bigger. He soon learned that his time set the world record for the fastest hundred-mile run by a sixteen year old, and that he was the youngest person in the United States to finish a 100-mile race in less than twenty-four hours.
"The idea of finishing the run in less than twenty-four hours was very daunting. It was on my mind as a bucket-list item, but I was afraid to tell myself I could run that particular one in less than twenty-four hours," says Nishad.
But Nishad had lots of help from his coach and tons of support from his family and friends, who not only cheered him on from the sidelines but also paced laps with him. For about fifty miles of his race Nishad had company, some of whom were also Nueva alumni.
"It makes a world of difference to have someone running next to you," said Nishad.
Besides the company, Nishad likes running because he gets to be outside in nature, and the endorphins are a nice bonus, too. Though he now wishes he had started sooner, Nishad did not start running until he was in high school. He began by completing half a mile every day as a way to get into shape, but he soon realized that his asthma prevented him from running fast. He knew he loved running and did not want to give it up.
So he turned to his Nueva education. "Why was I limiting myself to what all the other kids were doing?" he writes on his blog. "Being a Nueva kid, I decided to do it my own way." And thus a long-distance runner was born with a future in ultra-marathons.
Running long distances "is much more of a mental race than a physical one," said Nishad. "You have your own cadence, and there are no big intense moments of racing because it's about the long haul. You can enjoy every moment of the run."
Nishad credits his years at Nueva for developing him as a student and teaching him what friendship really meant. He fondly remembers "the mini world" he enjoyed, playing and trading in the forts. Lit Club also stands out as one of his favorite memories. "We always looked forward to every meeting."
But it was the overall accepting atmosphere of the school that allowed Nishad to move past the bullying he experienced in public school. Even if his Nueva friends didn't share the same interests, they still appreciated them. Nishad flourished under the school's emphasis on creativity and valued that the end results are not as important as the process of learning; it was okay to make mistakes.
"I'm forever indebted to Nueva."
Nishad also took to heart the school's motto -- Learn by doing. Learn by caring -- by using his races to raise thousands of dollars for the Crystal Scholarship fund at his high school and for the San Francisco American Asthma Foundation.
Nishad will be visiting Nueva to participate in the 2nd annual Fun Run on Friday, October 12, 2012.
For more information about the Nueva Fun Run and/or register to participate in this day of fitness and festivities, visit www.nuevaschool.org/funrun.
For more information about Nishad you can check out his blog: http://nishadgivingback.blogspot.com/