Sukhjeevan Singh Bhimber- Mukkabaaz

This young athletic boy was born and raised in the town of Meerut. Enrolled in the St. Mary’s Academy known for its sports facilities, Sukhjeevan was perpetually on the ground. A short distance sprinter, he excelled in the 100m, 200m besides participating in Long Jump and High Jump. Later Sukhi took up Boxing, even winning a Silver Medal at the State Level. However it all came to a grinding halt when he got injured dislocating his jaw at the age of 21 😕.

Sukhi joined the Marketing Department in Paharpur Industries after completing his MBA in Ghaziabad. Needless to say, the constant travelling and tight work schedules resulted in a complete break from Sports.

Post marriage while working at Bericap India in Pune in May 2007 he developed health issues and was diagnosed with High BP. A full Body Analysis showed that despite his weight being in appropriate range, his muscle mass seemed to be completely enveloped by the fat percentage indicating his body age as 65 years 😨. Sukhi was prescribed a whole load of supplements to counter the same. This served as a Wake-up call and Sukhi decided to focus on his health and took up Gymning determined to get back in prime health over the next year 😊.

During this time, his Boss Christian invited Sukhi to join him for a Half Marathon (HM) at Mainz in Germany. Sukhi questioned him, “Do I have to run throughout?” On getting an affirmative reply he said that he couldn’t do it. Christian encouraged him to train by doing couple of weekly 10K runs. Sukhi started off with running 5K initially. After a month he graduated to 10K.

In 2009 landing in Mainz, Sukhi joined Christian running 12K two days prior to the event to get acclimatized. On the day of the marathon; Sukhi went all out, feeling exhausted at 15K and started walking. However when he saw an old guy running past, he was inspired to run again. The same was repeated when an older female runner passed by him at about the 18K mark. He pushed on successfully completing his first HM in 2:07 😃.

In 2010 Sukhjeevan and Aarti Bhimber moved to Mumbai with their 3-year-old son Angad. In 2011 Sukhi participated in the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon (ADHM) finishing in 1:59 as Aarti and Angad cheered him on.

The following year the couple participated together for the very first time 😃. That’s where Sukhi met Nita Khurana who mentioned about the monthly MRR (Mumbai Road Runner) run.

In January 2013 Aarti and Sukhi met MRR Stalwarts Ram Venkatraman, Giles Drego and Raj Vadgama amongst others during the monthly Bandra-NCPA run. In February they attended the MRR Awards and ever since have been regulars at the monthly runs.

In 2014 both Aarti and Sukhi were podium finishers at the Total Sports Run India Run Event and went on to win the Best Running Family Award at the MRR Awards in 2015 😎.

They have also been Brand Ambassadors and Race Ambassadors as well as Pacers at couple of Events.

This Runner Couple had to figure out how to go about their training schedules as they did not have support to take care of young Angad at the time. Aarti would go for her runs in the mornings while Sukhi would go for evening runs.

Every Saturday evening they would drive together and park at NCPA. Aarti would run from 9-11 PM when Sukhi would feed Angad and put him to sleep in the car. Then Sukhi would take off from 11-1 AM whilst Aarti waited eventually winding up with a super late dinner at Pizza By The Bay only returning home to crash at 3 AM 😌. They followed this schedule for 3+ years till they managed to get decent household help.

Since 2017 Sukhi started following structured training plans given by Coach Daniel Vaz after which he finished his HM in 1:38 following it up with a PB of 1:35 in 2018.

When a friend commented, “You are a Marathoner only when you finish a Full Marathon (FM),” Sukhi took his words to heart and decided to attempt his maiden FM at the IDBI Delhi Marathon in February 2018 finishing in an amazing 3:36 😎.

However the intense training took a toll on him. He says those 3 months prior to the Race were truly grueling when he neglected his family and both Angad and Aarti had to bear the brunt 😑. Sukhi experienced Burn Out and took a break from running for almost 5-6 months.

He went on to participate and finish the HM at the Tata Mumbai Marathon (TMM) 2019 in 1:53 following it up with 1:50 at the Navi Mumbai Half Marathon despite the running break. He credits his timing to his Cross Fit Regime.

Being a sportsman, Sukhi is a firm believer in Strength training. After about 7-8 years of gym workouts he has recently taken up Cross- Fit. He attends 1-hour Cross Fit sessions 6 days a week. His current training schedule involves running thrice weekly including 2 short runs of 8-10K after 1 hour cycling and Sunday long runs of 20-25K.

At the moment Sukhi wants to enjoy running shorter distances. He believes the 10K is the toughest distance to crack. He advises that one should ensure systematic training and not race too much. He suggests racing 3-4 Races including 2-3 HM’s and 1 FM in a year. He says one can participate in every 10K in your city but choose to race in selective good HMs and FM in other cities. He signs off saying, “Don’t shrug away from weight or strength training and always enjoy your Race or Run”

Ami Upadhyay- Keep on Tri-ing

Born to an Engineer-Scientist Father and Teacher Mother in Gujarat, Ami Paneri was the eldest of three sisters. Someone who thoroughly enjoyed the outdoors running and cycling in the paddy fields, climbing trees and playing Kho kho and Kabaddi spending hours outdoors daily 😊. She did her BSc, MSc and MPhil in Physics traveling from Gandhinagar to Ahmedabad. Initially teaching was her passion, and along with studies, she would teach University students as well as IIT-AIEEE students.

Fascinated by Computers from an early age thanks to her father, Ami learnt about Micro Chip programing and to operate the Wireless 😯. Her Research project during Mphil made her join a professional course in Computer Programming and she won a Gold Medal in PGDCSA – Computer Science & Applications, after which she got a campus job in Intech systems Pvt ltd. Of course Sports took a backseat by then.

Ami got married to Sopan Upadhyay and moved to Mumbai in 2007 joining All E Technologies commuting from Kandivali to Vikhroli daily. The grueling commute, desk job and household responsibilities besides taking care of her diabetic mother-in-law who also had cardiac issues, took a toll on Ami 😕. Furthermore her first pregnancy resulted in her weight climbing from 58 Kg to 75 Kg. Subsequently, they were blessed with a beautiful baby girl Aastha in 2008.
Eventually she quit her job in 2009 post which she suffered from a period of depression and lethargy 😑. In 2010, Ami finally took charge and started walking intermittently.

In 2011, Sopan who was working with IDBI Federal Life Insurance encouraged Ami to join him in the Dream Run at the SCMM (Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon). That’s when they were bitten by the Running Bug 😁.

The following year in 2011 Ami conceived once more. This time her weight climbed up to 89 Kg as she was advised to rest up and stop all activities by her Doctor. The accident-prone girl had broken her leg 5-6 times since childhood resulting in left ankle tendon injury that was further exacerbated by this weight gain 😓. During the birth of their son, Shlok she suffered from severe trauma and blood loss taking a lot of time for Recovery.

In 2012, Ami completed her 1-year Diploma in Food and Nutrition from SNDT (IGNOU) to understand basics of diet and nutrition. Determined to get back to work, she joined Serv Pro Technologies conveniently located walking distance from her home. Yet again with household and work responsibilities taking precedence, running took a backseat. In 2013 and in 2014, Ami participated in the HM at the SCMM without preparation and naturally struggled finishing in 3:37.

In 2015 they shifted house. By then Ami hit 93 Kg and somehow completed the SCMM HM in 4 hours 😕. That served as a real Eye-opener and she steadily lost 6-7 Kg over the next year feeling much better in the process.

In 2016, Sopan’s friend, Keyur Kapadia who was organizing the Wada Duathlon encouraged them to participate in August. Cycling being her first love, Ami immediately leaped at the opportunity. She enjoyed the 2.5K Run+20K Cycling+2.5K Run tremendously.

Meeting Sunil and Sangeeta Shetty at the IDBI Federal Life Insurance Half Marathon in 2016, Ami and Sopan were introduced to the MRR (Mumbai Road Runner) Community. First Sopan was nominated in the Most Improved Runner category & the following year they both went on to be nominated in the Best Running Family Category at the MRR Awards 😎.

In November 2016 Ami joined the local cycling group – Malad Cycling Group. For the first time she was part of group rides while getting comfortable in long distance cycling.
Towards the end of 2016 Ami met Ritu Singh as their kids studied in the same school. Ritu invited them for the monthly Bandra-NCPA Runs.

After attending the Run with Ash workshop in 2017, Ami realized that she had recovery issues taking a longer period. Ashok Nath advised her to lose weight before continuing Running.

Furthermore a visit to Physiotherapist Rajani Patil led to Ami discovering that she was not only over-pronating but her left leg was weaker resulting in balance issues while running 😥. She diligently followed the exercises as advised over the next 3 months along with 1-1/2 hour activity.

In September 2017, she took part again in Wada Duathlon sprint Duathlon – 2.5k Run + 20k cycling + 2.5K run winning her very first podium 😎.

In 2018, spotting the Ladakh Marathon stall at the TMM (Tata Mumbai Marathon) Expo, Pradeep Kumbhar advised the Upadhyays to participate in the same. Post TMM, Ami joined the Mad Menon Academy following a structured training program for the very first time under the able guidance of Viv Menon.

Now all she needed to do was complete her 10K in less than 1:25 minutes to qualify for Ladakh HM. Participating in the 10K at the IDBI Federal Life Insurance Marathon in Delhi, she finished in 1:27 improving massively on her previous timing of 1:41 🤗. She went on to finish in 1:21 at the Morehelp Marathon 10K on 15th April and 1:18 at Bandra 10k on 29th April easily achieving her goal 😃.

She ran the April and May editions of the MRR Bandra-NCPA 21K along with Sopan in preparation of Ladakh.

Ami participated in the Tarblazer in June finishing her HM in 3:03 elated about running comfortably without any injuries.

Meanwhile she was introduced to Triathletes in Viv’s training group. Since she enjoyed Cycling more than Running, she decided to give it a go and focused on the upcoming Kolhapur Triathlon Sprint (750m Swim+20K Bike+5K Run) in November.

In June, Ami learned swimming though she didn’t really make much progress in the first month. She joined Shankar Thapa who helped her fine tune her Free Style over the weekends in July; managing to swim 500-700m comfortably within the month 🙂.

Meanwhile Ami comfortably completed the Ladakh HM in 3:32 in September which was a huge milestone for her.

Unfortunately in October Ami was laid down with constant Allergy attacks as well as Work, Maid and Household Issues. As they say, when it rains it pours 😠. As if it wasn’t bad enough that she could not get any experience in open water swimming; Ami came down with Tonsillitis and had fever 2-3 days prior to the Kolhapur Triathlon, even wondering if she should just forego the event.

Eventually they reached Kolhapur late and she could not practice open water swimming. The next morning, Ami could not stabilize and hardly managed to swim 200m resulting in a DNF. However the Organizers encouraged her to complete her 20K Bike and 5K Run which she finished quite comfortably.


Once back, Ami was determined to focus on herself in the New Year. With the entire family pitching in, things soon streamlined. She registered for the Olympic distance (1500m Swim+40K Cycle+10K Run) at the Gandhinagar Triathlon in February determined to achieve her goal come what may 😚.

For the next month after the TMM, she pushed Viv to help her improve in swimming. He would guide her in swimming once or twice a week and as the distance slowly increased, her confidence was boosted.

With the Home Ground advantage, this time everything fell in place and Ami finished in style completing the Olympic distance in 4:21 🤗.

Now Ami’s immediate goal is to improve in the Olympic distance over the next year and then work on attempting the 70.3 Ironman 😌.

Ami’s current training schedule consists of 3 Swimming Sessions, 3 Cycling sessions, 3 Running sessions besides 2 Core & Strength Training Sessions with Mondays being Rest Days.

Ami says that one should not attempt too many things too soon. She also says that she has learnt the importance of consistency in training. She signs off stating, “Getting Fit is more important than just losing weight. Believe me, You are way stronger than you think you are.”

Interview with Vaijayanti Ingawale

1. How does it feel to win the MRR award?
I feel very happy to be the first recipient of this newly introduced award by MRR. Deepak and I have been attending MRR award function since three years. We have enjoyed getting nominated for various categories and have been receiving Best running family award for the last two years.
2. Tell us about your association with MRR?
It’s lovely to be associated with MRR. Its a community of runners with kind hearts and intelligent brains like Ram Venkatraman.
3. What are your goals for 2019?
To just chill and enjoy.
4. How do you suggest on improving the running scenario in India?
I see a lot of improvement taking place in the running scenario in India. I feel a lot more women have to give importance to their own health and participate in running events.

Interview with Nilesh Yadav

“Despite what seems like the extraordinary nature of these events, in the end, they make you even more human.”

My interview with Yadav Nilesh who won the 1st runners up MRR award for Best Ultramarathoner.

1. How does it feel to win the MRR award?

Till now I have never run an ultra race for any award or winning position. I purely ran for the experience. All I wanted was to see what it felt like to run 100 km. What does it take to survive and motivate others during the run. How does it feel to endure the pain, hunger and thirst till the finish line. The experience was unbelievable.

2. Tell us about your association with MRR.

Honestly speaking, I am not very active on MRR. However I found that there are many people who support other runners, motivate them ,cheer for them. I find this spirit really great. In the future I will try and join in for the MRR monthly long runs.

3. What are your goals for 2019?

In 2019, my goal is just to become a better version of myself. I will try and improve my pace. Most importantly I will try to run injury free and hopefully also find a running partner.

4. How do you suggest on improving the running scenario in India?

My suggestion to people is that whether it’s for 5 minutes or one hour, just try and run. Keep yourself active by living a healthy life style. Running is the most affordable sport unless of course you are signing up for multiple events. Otherwise just 15-30 minutes of running is enough to keep you going.

Reborn on the Run-book review



Book Review

Title: Reborn on the Run
Author : Catra Corbett
Genre: Memoir

There are times in life when you stumble upon things by accident and that turns out to be a much needed dose of inspiration.

I stumbled upon this book at a trail running event last month. It’s a memoir by Catra Corbett- an ultra-runner and the first American woman to run 100 miles or more on more than several occasions. She is also the first to run 212 miles in the Ozone wilderness and holds the fastest known double time for the 425-mile-long John Muir trail, completing it in 12 days, 4 hours and 57 minutes.

‘Reborn on the Run’ traces her journey from being a meth addictive who was busted for selling drugs to being reborn as a runner. Spending one night in prison was enough for her to set her life straight. Giving up her lifestyle that was dependent on drugs and abandoning her wild friends, she moves back to her mother’s place for a fresh start. She is introduced to running by her one ‘clean’ friend who pushes her to run a 10-km race. Hooked to the feel of the newly discovered runner’s high, Catra signs up for the San Francisco marathon. After which she goes on to conquer the most grueling ultra runs and trails including the daunting Western States Ultra.

The book takes the readers through Catra’s roller coaster journey in her life and also through some of the grueling races in California. We feel her pain as she runs on those forbidding terrains, encounters wild animals and harsh weather conditions. We feel her jubilance pulsating through her veins when she crosses that finish line. We feel her anguish when she loses her father and also her mother who was her sole cheer leader during her runs. We feel her agony when she enters into a bad marriage, during her loneliness and when her drug addict sister is enticed into the jaws of death.

Amidst these ups and downs, running becomes an ally and a getaway from her trauma. The running community becomes her family and Catra is more than addicted to this sport. Catra also mentions about her child abuse, unstable relationships and her discovery of her alter ego during her run which gives justice to the title.

Written in a compelling manner, Catra is candid and unabashedly honest. Her determination and grit comes through clearly while she embarks on those deadly and lonely wild terrains. Themes of pain, loss and love are touched upon here.

Every runner will resonate with each word in this book. It makes you realize that everything in life happens in order to shape you up into a person that you are today. In Catra’s case, being a drug addict eventually paved her way into becoming an ultra-runner.

A must read if you want that dose of an inspiration pill. An overdose of this one will still be rendered healthy. After all its the runner’s high!


Prakash Wani- Once A Cop

The fifth amongst 8 siblings Prakash Wani was born in a simple lower middle class family in Pune.  Their father was a hardworking farmer and mother worked as an Ayah in the nearby hospital to support the growing family.  Though both parents were uneducated, they strived to provide the best possible Education to their children .

An Athletic kid, Prakash enjoyed participating in various sports right from his school days.  His adventurous streak continued in College when he joined NCC (National Cadet Corps) even learning Gliding in 1973.  In fact he was even selected as a General Duty Pilot courtesy NCC 😎.  However, he did not join due to his mother’s reluctance.

Prakash went on to do his graduation in B.Com.  During his final year, he got a job as a clerk in LIC.  However when he was transferred to Daund, he quit choosing to focus on his graduation and higher studies.

In 1975 during the Emergency, after his MPSC (Maharashtra Public Service Commission) exams Prakash applied for the post of Sub Inspector.  He was selected and sent for training to Nashik for 2 years.  Subsequently he joined on duty at the Matunga Police Station in 1978 settling down in Sion with his wife Sushila.  They were blessed with two children Arti and Sameer.

Meanwhile Prakash went from strength to strength climbing up the ladder in the Police Department- including a stint as Ambassador for United Nations for its Peace Keeping Mission in Kosovo in 2002-2003, eventually retiring as the ACP (Assistant Commissioner of Police) Crime Branch in 2012.  However, thanks to his rigorous duty hours and constant postings he put on tons of weight hitting almost 100Kg 😑; his infrequent gymning sessions during his executive postings didn’t really make much of a difference.

Post retirement, after a bit of traveling with family, Prakash joined the Shamrao Vitthal Cooperative Bank as the Chief Security Officer in April 2012.  On a site visit to Nashik, he felt some giddiness and immediately consulted a local Physician who advised for an in-depth health check-up. On returning to Mumbai, he consulted his family physician who put it down to Obesity advising him to lose weight.  That served as a wake-up call and Prakash decided to shift focus on himself and his health.  In fact he joined the local AF10 Gym at Chembur on 31st December itself 😁.

In the Gym, Prakash met Marathoner Girish Bindra who was instrumental in getting him into running.  Prakash had always aspired to run the Mumbai Marathon ever since its inception.  Girish advised him to run the 10K at the Run India Run event in July 2013 in Borivali so as to qualify for the SCMM (Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon).  He even helped him to get his registration done.  He went on to finish his first 10K in 1:03:52 and the Runner was born 😃.

Prakash did his first HM (Half Marathon) at the SHHM (Satara Hill Half Marathon) in September 2013 in 2:37:07 followed by another HM at the Goa River Marathon in 2:32: 09 and finally the SCMM finishing in 2:19:35.  He even postponed his 60th birthday celebration that year as it clashed with the SCMM 😀.  He got his PB (Personal Best) at the SCMM in 2015 finishing in 2:03:31 🤗.

In 2015 Prakash Wani met MRR Admins Bijay Nair and Viv Menon at the monthly Bandra-NCPA Run.  He also met Pedong Express-Roshni Rai who was organizing her first Half Marathon in Darjeeling from Kalimpong to Pedong in a bid to scout and support local talent.  Prakash immediately pitched in sponsoring the medals for the event and registered for the same.  He finished the same in 2:53 well within the cut off despite the elevation and hilly terrain.

Ever since Prakash Wani is the go to person for most Runners and Event Organizers; whether it is a Security issue faced by a female runner, a sponsorship issue, support for a needy runner or a permission issue faced by an Organizer.  Always willing to give a helping hand, this warm hearted Runner is perpetually available to the Running community 😊.

Thereafter Prakash has participated in 40+ 10K and 25+ HMs.  Besides winning couple of podiums at various events; the latest being the GSC (Goregaon Sports Club) Spirit of Sport Run in February 2019, he has also been Race Ambassador of different events like Nagpur Marathon, Veterun, Pachmarhi Marathon etc.

As far as his training is concerned, Prakash gets his training advice from Coaches Raj Vadgama and Girish Bindra preferring to train on his own at his home grounds of BARC.  He runs thrice weekly including variations like speed workouts, hill repeats and tempo runs besides doing Pranayam and Stretching thrice weekly.  He also goes to the Gym once a week.

Prakash states that he has observed with the Budding running culture, there is increased health awareness and increasing running events.  Overenthusiastic newbies have a tendency of going overboard participating in one event after the other resulting in injury.  He is very proud of the fact that till date he hasn’t really suffered from any Running injury.

He signs off stating “If one is not an Elite, one should just compete with oneself.  After all finishing a Race without injury is an achievement in itself 😁.”

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

Ashok Someshwar- What The Fish

Dreaming of a better life, a young 19 year old fisherman from the tiny fishing village of Someshwar in coastal Mangalore decided to move to Mumbai.  After getting a job as an industrial worker, he got married and was joined by his wife. Settling in Mumbai,  initially at Mazgaon and later at the industrial housing board colony at Tilaknagar in Chembur, they had three kids.  In a bid to give them a good education, the father, now a textile mill worker toiled very hard, working double shifts whilst their mother, a whiz at stretching their limited income looked after their every need.  Aware of their daily struggle, the youngest sibling Ashok was particularly focused and hardworking as he saw education as his only escape from this hard life.

Totally absorbed in his studies, there was no scope for sports, or any other leisure pursuits.  However, his father who had played football,  would send them out to run during their vacations, to get some exercise.  Ashok graduated in Commerce and immediately joined Indian Airlines as an Accounts Assistant while continuing his higher studies.  He went on to do a Masters in Commerce, a degree in Law, and also qualified as a Company Secretary, as he continued working side by side.  It was while working with Indian Airlines, that Ashok had a first taste of an organized sport, when he learned to play Badminton and was soon playing well enough to be considered in the official team 😎.

During his college days, Ashok went for his very first trek for 3-4 days to Rajmachi along with a friend who  was in National Cadet Corps and was hooked, soon becoming a compulsive trekker.  He later joined the Youth Hostels Association and was an ardent participant of their Mumbai unit which organized local treks.  He went on to learn Rock climbing and did more than 90 treks.  In fact, all his vacation would be spent on either exams or trekking 😂.

After 1 ½ years with Indian Airlines, he felt stagnated and moved to the private sector- Advertising, where he worked up his way for eight years, during which time he completed his studies. Since  the Company Secretarial course required him to undergo training in a corporate secretarial set up, he had to leave the job.   The Finance Manager at Everest Advertising, helped him with his contacts in Mafatlal’s  and Ashok soon joined NOCIL for a year as a trainee under Bharat Vasani, who later went on to become the General Counsel for the Tata Group.

Ashok also  took up Cricket, even playing in the Corporate team for 2-3 years 😊.  He would also go to a nearby Gym run by national weight lifter, Mr. Khan after coming back from work. Seeing Ashok’s potential, Mr. Khan even wanted him to participate in competitions within the year.  However, everything went for a toss when Ashok was detected with back issues at the young age of 21.  Playing Badminton, Cricket as well as Gymming simultaneously besides his hectic work schedule seemed to have taken a toll 😥.  So weight training  went out of the window, and badminton was also restricted, but with regular playing, the pain was mitigated to a large extent and only reappeared on excess strain.

Badminton stopped once his family moved to a 1BHK in Borivali.  That’s when Ashok started regularly going to the Borivali National Park (BNP), running about 6-7K, in order to strengthen the leg muscles for trekking and rock climbing.  He would usually run upto Kanheri caves and  then practice  rock climbing at one of the many popular spots.

After his divorce, Ashok moved to Powai in 2003.  Though he would run regularly in his building later venturing to Hiranandani and Eastern Express Highway (EEH), he didn’t think he could really run a Marathon.

During the 2005 Mumbai floods, Ashok had stayed back at his office near Keerti college.  The next day he walked back home covering a distance of 20K in about 4 hours and participating in a Half Marathon no longer seemed so daunting 😀.

Ashok started training for the upcoming Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon (SCMM) 2006 doing short runs on week days and weekend long runs at EEH.  By December he was doing 20K easily.  Unfortunately, he was hit by a hamstring injury 15 days before the  run 😫.  He visited the physio at the Sushrusth Hospital at Dadar.  He still went on to participate and managed to complete his first HM in 2:37.

On a visit to the US in 2007 when his nephew took him to a huge shoe store in Princeton, Ashok was like a kid in a candy story and bought his first technically assessed running shoe, along with his first GPS watch (Garmin ForeRunner 305).  Reading up a lot about Danny Dryer and Chi Running he subsequently bought the book and DVD on the same.  These helped him to work on his form correcting his Heel Strike to a Mid Foot Strike.

In 2008-9 a colleague invited Ashok for a group run in BNP.  That’s where he met the original MRR Gang- Giles Drego, Ram Venkatraman, Milton Frank, Bhasker Desai, Raj Vadgama, Kaushik Panchal etc. This was also the time he started running at Aarey and met Coach Daniel Vaz.  Then the whole group started having regular group runs on Saturdays.  They created the MMR (Mumbai Marathon Runners) group on the Runners for Life Page (later rechristened as Mumbai Road Runners on FB).  MMR organized their first 6K Event in BNP on 21 March, 2010,  and went on to organize three Half Marathons in BNP in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

In 2011-12 Ashok started going regularly to the Nike Run Club (NRC) at the Police Grounds near Wilson College, Marine Lines, and later at Sports Authority of India (SAI) track at Kandivali, for his speed intervals, tempo runs and plyometrics training under Coach Daniel Vaz and Coach Melwyn Crasto who were instrumental in correcting Ashok’s form.

In 2010, having checked with Dan, Ashok started training for his first FM in 2011.  The focus was on building mileage for 5-6 months after which the actual race training would commence in the remaining 5-6 months.  Unfortunately, Ashok had yet another setback and in November at the peak of training, he was detected with a severe disc prolapse at the L4-L5 region in his spine 😕.

Though initially advised surgery in order to continue running; Ashok took a second opinion on the advice of his physiotherapist Garima, who sent him to Dr Abhay Nene, a spine specialist and a Marathoner.  Dr. Nene told him to continue running focusing on strengthening and said that they would opt for a microsurgery only if required 😌.  After a period of rest and doing regular strengthening exercises with Garima, Ashok finished his first FM in 5:11 although the last 10K was tough 😣.

After the SCMM in 2011, his office colleague referred Ashok to Acupuncturist Dr. Ajit Mistry in Mulund.  A medical professional, the doctor gave him a Pilates DVD to help in back strengthening while commencing with Acupuncture.  After 20 sessions Ashok felt some relief and after 30 sessions felt 70% better.

That year for 7 months, Ashok completely stopped running though he stayed active by swimming, gymming, doing pilates etc.  Once recovered he celebrated by running 28K at Amby valley with friends.   Subsequently, he went on to do the SCMM 2012 in 4:23 😎.

In 2016 during the IDBI Promo Run at Bandra Ashok was running at a fast pace without adequate warm up, and got injured 😔.  He was diagnosed with Tenosynovitis of Flexor Hallucis Longus tendon (fluid retention) and plantar fasciitis which had him go off running for 6-7 months.  Despite having registered for IDBI and TMM he decided to give them a miss focusing on his rest and recovery.  Following Dr. Nikhil Latey’s advice, he used temporary foot inserts to release the tension and reduce pain. After the prescribed rehab, he slowly got into running again and since then, things have been going much better 😁.

2017-18 has been a tremendous year, what with a hat-trick of PBs for Ashok 🤗.  He got his 10K PB at the Navy Run finishing in 47:59, 21K PB at the Powai Run finishing in 1:45 and 42K PB at the IDBI Delhi Marathon finishing in 3:54 😎.  Besides all this he also has some podiums and a race ambassadorship in his kitty.

A regular fixture on the Mumbai running circuit, this Angel never deters from helping others be it his awesome photography, giving advice or volunteering.  He says that one should not get taken in by the whole Social media hoopla.  For fitness and good health, a 5K run 3-4 times a week is enough along with some other sport.  Strength training is a must at least twice a week and Yoga helps in flexibility.  Trekking, Cycling and Swimming are also good forms of Cross training. It is only people who love to run longer distances who should  take up distance running.

He advises that you should always enjoy your run.  “Don’t think of it as punishment.  Only the Elites are justified to think that way.  Improve at a particular distance before increasing the mileage.”  He suggests completing 10K in 60-61 minutes before proceeding to 21K.  Since recovery is fast, one can race or do a time trial of 10K every 15 days.  Besides 10K is a sweet distance to run 😊. However, if contemplating an FM, one should ideally be able to complete a HM in 2:10-2:15, and further  planning  and training for  an FM should begin a year in advance.  The devil is always in the training, so if one is consistent and regular at training, race day is just another day.

Though a normal diet is enough for  recreational runners, for distances upto a Full Marathon, one must consult a Nutritionist in case one is participating in Ultra Marathon distances.  Adequate rest is the most important part of any training.  In case one is  feeling tired or fatigued then one should opt for Rest instead of Training.  Always stop at the first sign of injury.  If the pain lasts for more than a week, it is not just muscle soreness and one  needs to consult a good Physiotherapist.  He signs off saying, “Don’t ignore your injury and Race just because you signed up for it.  Never ever run in pain, you can always volunteer and give back to the Running community instead, something one should do any which ways 😄.”