Yearly Archives: 2019

Interview with MRR award winner – Pooja Varma

1.     How does it feel to win the MRR award?
 I’m elated! It was my most desired award and winning it was a dream come true for me.
2.Tell us about your association with MRR? 
I got associated with MRR around a year back after my Tata Mumbai marathon in 2018. I got to know about their monthly runs which are organized on the Mumbai marathon route. They have an amazing volunteer support as well. So, I started running with them since then. I have learnt a lot from this community.
Personally, I was weighing 79 kg few years back. Though I was working in the education field in a good post, I was very unfit and had breathing issues as well. My husband encouraged me to start running in order to lose weight. When I started, I was amazed at the results. My colleagues got encouraged and inspired towards running as well. So gradually I started participating in running events and there is no looking back since then. I am happy and humbled that I have managed to inspire many people to take up running and adopt this healthy lifestyle as well.
3.  What are your goals for 2019?
I am starting 2019 on a very positive note in spite of my debacle in the Tata Mumbai Marathon. I am looking forward to participating in fewer events as compared to last year.  I am focusing on mainly doing events that challenge me. This year I am taking it step by step and preparing for one event at a time.
4. How do think the running scenario in India can be improved? 
Firstly, we have to educate people about why running is important. As ambassadors, we have to set examples and encourage people to join us.  Especially women as they are reluctant to run or give importance to fitness. Running destresses me, keeps me positive and gives me energy to face the day ahead. I think this applies to most of us.

Mayuri Sutar- Fire And Ice

Born to a Carpenter Father and Homemaker Mother in Kandivali, this spunky young girl was a born athlete. From the tender age of 10, Mayuri participated in athletics and group sports like Langdi and Kho Kho in her school Dr. T R Naravne Vidyalay. Usually the Winner or First Runner Up on the School sports day; Mayuri would represent the school participating in the inter-school athletic competitions of the schools located near the Western Line.

She would invariably get first place in most competitions despite not practicing regularly. In fact, Mayuri went on to represent the State in Kho Kho, Maharastra in Langdi and even won a Bronze medal in the Western Zone Maharashtra Athletics participating in 1500m and 3000m in 2014-15 😎.

In 2010, Mayuri participated in a running event organized by the Dahisar Star Sanskriti Krida Club where she ran the 3K in 11 minutes and stood Second 🙂. Her 3K PB is 10:38.

In 2011 when she was in seventh standard, she was spotted by the School PT Teacher, Mr. Yuvraj Naik. He identified about 15 young athletes (boys and girls) and gave them after school training. These kids would have after school practice 6 days a week from 6-8 pm while racing on Sundays. A month prior to the Event, they would start early morning training as well. That’s when the rough diamonds began their journey of being polished to shine 🤗.

Mayuri was encouraged by her sports loving Mom though initially her Father was opposed to all the physical activity fearing undue changes and societal repercussions that their daughter might have to undergo. However now they are both very proud of her.

Yuvraj moved on to become the Regional Sports Authority at Sangli while the kids started training in the Dr. Naravane Sports Academy under the able guidance of Coaches Trupti Nakhwa and Jaydeep Adarakar.

Participating and winning in several Mini marathon events, Mayuri did her first 5K in 19:32. In 2014, Mayuri did her first 10K at the Mumbai Pinkathon where she stood Second winning a Refrigerator after finishing in 43 minutes 😎. She repeated her performance at the HTHM (Hiranandani Thane Half Marathon) standing Second yet again.

However, the prize closest to heart was given to her by an unknown reporter 😁. In 2014 while participating in the 1500m in the Divisional Athletics Event at SAI complex, Kandivali; a barefoot Mayuri stumbled and fell before getting up and continuing on bleeding feet ensuring she kept her word to her coach, Yuvraj Naik winning Second place 😌. An old reporter was so impressed with her that he gave her a Rs. 5000 voucher of SCS Sports telling her to continue scaling new heights 🤗. There was also a media mention regarding her win despite the fall in Mid-Day.

After HTHM, she took to participating regularly in different 10K events in a bid to win prize money and help her parents. She has participated in 30+ 10K running events with a PB of 42 minutes.

In 2016 while riding her cycle during the Ganpati Festival; the handle just came off, resulting in Mayuri suffering from a major back injury 😔. Ever since, she had to reduce running and drop pace to avoid exacerbating her back. She was also advised to increase her weight and prescribed medications besides getting regular massage for the same. During this period, Mayuri also turned to Yoga in order to build her muscle strength and gain flexibility. Despite her injury, Mayuri still managed to maintain her State level participation in Athletics 😌.

She also shifted focus to her studies in Junior college enrolling for B.Com in Viva College, Virar. Currently she is studying in Second Year BCom. Inspired by Civil and Fire Engineer Samadhan Labhade, she has also enrolled for the highly competitive two-year Fire Engineering Course thanks to the sponsorship of the India Bulls Foundation. In fact, Mayuri will be amongst the first few Female Fire Engineers in India 😎.

In a bid to get back to her pre-injury form, Mayuri ensured that she did not go all out in Races and has also restricted her training to jogging only once or twice a week for 5-6K with more focus on Yoga, Stretching and Strength training.

In 2017 when MRR (Mumbai Road Runners) was scouting for two good female runners for their MRR Elite Team to participate in the IDBI Federal Stadium Run, Mayuri’s name was recommended to Deepa Raut by Satish Chavan. This team went on to win the top position in the event 🤗.

Though initially sponsored by MRR, currently the India Bulls Foundation takes care of Mayuri’s Marathon Registration and Training Needs. Time and again, she continues with her winning streak making her Supporters proud. Subsequently, Mayuri has been nominated in the Best Female Runner Category for the MRR Awards 2019.

Last year, after turning 18, Mayuri graduated to participating in HMs (Half Marathons). She did her very first HM at the AFMC Half Marathon where she stood 2nd finishing in 1:45. Thereafter she has participated and been a podium finisher in several other HM’s 😊.

These days Mayuri trains in Aarey running 2-3 days weekly while doing strength training and yoga daily every evening. Currently she has decided to focus on HM’s and controlling her pace due to her back issues and intends to race twice a month.

Despite all her physical and financial issues; at times even having to stay at the Railway Station going directly to the Event Venue in case of Outstation events, this young girl continues valiantly on her journey gathering laurels moving on with strength and confidence.

After completing Fire Engineering; Mayuri wants to pursue Naturopathy and thanks to the encouragement and support of Angel Runners like Cdr. Sunil Handa, aspires to join the Indian Navy. She also dreams of starting her own Running Academy to train underprivileged Runners like her 😃. After all what better way to give back to the Community? With youngsters like her, our Future is definitely in safe hands 🤗.

I got my PH

As 2019 dawned nice and bright, someone asked me what my running goals were for this year.

“To achieve my PH”, I replied promptly.

“PH?” asked that person with a quizzical expression. “What’s that?”

“Personal happiness”. I grinned and went on to explain.

The sheer happiness and enjoyment that I derive by completing an event irrespective of the distance is what I term as PH.

At one point I was chasing PBs be it in my running or triathlons. I kept glancing at my garmin feverishly whenever it buzzed at every km. There were times when I would come back from an event with a scowl on my face failing to cherish the scenic routes or the spirited atmosphere.

“How was your run?”would be met with a grumpy “I have done better” answer much to the chagrin of my partner. It got me reflecting back to the main reason why I took up running.

The runners high and the sheer kick of the endorphins is what got me hooked to the sport initially. Nothing can beat the adrenalin rush pulsating through your veins when you cross the finish line with million strangers cheering for you. No point running if I cannot derive joy from it, I decided.

Does that mean I criticize/ ridicule people who chase PBS or podiums? NO. Not at all.

As I firmly believe in the phrase “Different strokes for different folks”, I choose to respect people  for their goals and congratulate them for their achievements irrespective of the fact it may differ from mine and vice versa.

‘Live and let live’ is my motto.

Meanwhile I am just reveling in my newfound mantra as I look forward to some interesting events this year and as long as I live.

If I can feel the magic in every stride and in every mile without those tiresome niggles or injuries, I consider that my PB oops PH.

Next time someone asks me what my target is and how my run was, I hope to answer with this line “I got my PH”! #IamMRR