A Boca Raton resident plans to compete in November’s New York City Marathon and next year’s Boston Marathon—challenges that are difficult enough on two feet. But Ashwin Kalyandurg, a fourth-year medical student at Nova Southeastern University, plans to navigate the 26.2-mile course on his hands, to raise money for charity.
This past June, Kalyandurg broke the Guinness World Record for hand walking by moving 3.2 miles, or 5,100 meters, on his hands, shattering the previous record of 5,000 meters. The feat, which began at Clive Daniel Home and included some brief on-his-feet breaks, spanned eight hours. He says he did it to raise money for local charities, including Eat Better Live Better, a Palm Beach County charity aimed at preventing, reversing and reducing childhood obesity; the Unicorn Children’s Foundation, which supports children and families with special needs; Rotary International (District 6930); and the Pediatric Oncology Support Team, a nonprofit that provides free psychosocial support to Palm Beach County children with cancer and their families.
Despite the worthy causes, Kalyandurg’s accomplishment didn’t meet its philanthropic goals: According to the fundraising page for the June event, gofundme.com/pledgeperstep, only $212 of his $10,000 goal trickled in. That hasn’t deterred the 22-year-old Boca Raton resident, who plans to specialize in neuromuscular skeletal medicine. A month after his record-breaking hand-walk, while battling a 102-degree fever, he hopscotched for a mile to support the multiple sclerosis charity Hopping 4 a Cure. At the Boston Marathon next April, he hopes to raise substantial sums for victims of the Boston Marathon bombing and military veterans who have lost limbs in battle.
“I want to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for veterans and amputees [at the Boston Marathon],” he says. “If I could get people to donate for every step I walk on my hands, it would be a lot, because I’m walking 100,000 steps.”
Kalyandurg, who says he trained himself to walk on his hands to stay in shape during high school, trained for his record-breaking hand walk in Boca with a daily regimen of 100 push-ups, 100 squats, 100 sit-ups and a 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) run.
For anyone interested in learning how to hand walk, Kalyandurg recommends preparing with about six weeks of incline and decline push-ups, as well as handstands against the wall. Incline push-ups are a modified version of the traditional push-up, in which your hands are higher than your feet. This version focuses more on strengthening the middle of your chest. The decline push-up, in which your hands are lower than your feet, puts more pressure on the upper chest and front of the shoulders.
“After that, I would start walking on my hands in the pool, to get acclimated to being upside down,” he says.
There are plenty of opportunities to raise money during Kalyandurg’s extensive training, and he’s happy to talk with charities interested in collaborating. Those interested should call him at 561/306-4964.