FERAL Joggers veteran Arun Tiwari has become the first person for nearly two years to join the illustrious 3000km club after reaching the milestone during Saturday's run at Scenic Hill.
Tiwari is the 18th runner to have notched 3000km since the Griffith Feral Joggers began counting in 1994.
He was handed the Wardle Waddle trophy, which immortalises late club favourite and Scenic Hill regular Gary Wardle.
And he timed his run superbly, turning the ripe old age of 53 the very next day.
"It's all in good fun. We all enjoy each other's company and I shook hands with those guys (in the 3000km club) and told them whether they want me or not, I'm happy to join their club," Tiwari laughed.
"They were very pleased and so am I. The club is just fantastic."
Tiwari has been running with the Feral Joggers for 13 years and has an excellent attendance rate, estimating that he misses only a handful of weekly meetings every year.
He was originally dragged into the club by his "energetic" son, Devansh, who used to love running so much that he would often ask his father to pull over during long road trips, just to let him stretch his legs for a jog.
Tiwari one day resolved to bring Devansh to the Feral Joggers, but his son wouldn't go without him - and thus, a love affair was born.
"It has been a good way for me to build a nice social network," said Tiwari, who was born and raised in India and arrived in Griffith in 1992, after a one-year spell in Sydney.
"Most of my good friends are from the club. Everyone is trying their best and encouraging each other.
"That really fits in very well with me. It's competitive but non-competitive as well.
"But most of the time since it's a handicapped run, you are competing against yourself."
Tiwari, who works in Coleambally, said he was surprised to discover several weeks ago that he was nearing the 3000km mark.
But surpassing it on Saturday was just reward for his commitment and endurance over the years.
"I never ran on the hill with any goal other than to complete the run on that Saturday," said Tiwari, who is also an insulin-dependent diabetic.
"I just go there to enjoy and relax and to run.
"It's probably the satisfaction that I enjoy the most - after completing a run, you just feel fantastic.
"Most of the runs are quite challenging - we do at least one or two hills (every week) so it's generally quite interesting."