Category Archives: Runner Profiles

Interviews with featured runners

Luck by Chance- An unexpected tryst with Pat Farmer

It was one of those normal evenings, when my editor casually asked me to have a look at a piece of news covered on the website which I work for. The title caught my attention instantly as it read “ Marathon man Pat Farmer to run from Kanyakumari to Kashmir”. “Wow! What a guy”, I thought as I read the article with great enthusiasm. He was a former member of the parliament who had undertaken this robust task to raise funds for the girl child education, which is the Nanhi Kali program of Mahindra and Mahindra. Being a runner myself, I was elated when my editor asked to me to pursue this story and interview Pat.

Gathering my network through various sources, I finally managed to touch base with the right contacts who would help me get through to Pat Farmer. He had commenced his run on Jan 26th from Kanyakumari and would land in Mumbai on February 17th. ‘It would be great if runners could accompany Pat’, I was told which propelled me to encourage my family of runners from Mumbai road runners (MRR) to join this expedition till whatever distance they could while Pat was in Mumbai.

The D day arrived with the route schedule not arriving till the last moment. I could barely sleep that night due to a strange combination of excitement and anxiety. We reached Turbhe flyover at Vashi, where the run was supposed to start. It was still dark considering it was barely 5 am with trucks moving up the highway at a fast pace. We stood in zest holding posters saying ‘Mumbai Road Runners (MRR) welcomes you Pat”. Our guest finally arrived.

Now whenever you meet a fellow runner, it feels like you are meeting a long lost friend as you start bonding from the word go. That’s exactly what happened with Pat. After a round of introduction about the running community and photographs, we set off. The route had changed from what it was stated earlier. Nevertheless we decided to prod on this road less travelled, joined by other fellow MRR runners midway.

Amicably chatting with Pat about Cricket, the weather, Mumbai city and the incessant honking which apparently amused him, we ran along, followed by his crew, right behind us in a car and the traffic police in front, shooing all the other vehicles to give us space. It was truly a celebrity moment as we continued our strides smiling at the astonished faces of the onlookers. The weather wasn’t exactly at its best with the sudden soar in the humidity levels. However we managed to keep pace with Pat. We passed Tata institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and after reaching a point at Chembur, east, we had completed over 13 km. At this point, we decided to bid Pat goodbye as I was planning to meet him later that afternoon to interview him and needed to prepare for it.

It was one of those rare yet delightful moments where my profession (journalism) and passion (running) had come together. As a journalist, it’s interesting to meet people from different walks of life, which enhances my learning curve and growth as a person. It was intriguing to learn about how and why Pat got into running. As I wrapped up my day with this incredible long distance runner, I wished him good luck with his remaining miles. No doubt, with every mile, he was bound to bring a smile on to the faces of little children especially the nanhi kalis!


Perks of running marathons no one told you about by Dr. Vandana Rajesh

I started training for running half marathons in 2011, mostly due to lack of challenges in life- which any crazy type A mum of crazier two year old type A twins (I’m sure about this one!) would understand!!
My existence had gone from being a fulfilled medical professional to a 24 hour dairy farm and a sleep deprived nut farm!
And the benefits of pounding the streets at 5 AM to blaring music were more than I was prepared for! Of course there are the benefits even the non-runners are bored to death over. Having a great body, getting all those likes on all those running pics after every run, blah blah blah. But there are these benefits no one told me about!!
1. Knowledge
Deep deep knowledge. How much and how to hydrate and carbohydrate how many hours before each run. Intense information on the benefits of running shoeless, shirtless, braless, padless, and you-name-it-less! Information on all kinds of diets … freegan to vegan and everything in between. As you can see everyone can write after that! At least a blog if not a book!
2. Partying… Runner’s style
There will be parties after running, and you will be subjected to running after partying! (Yes, we have suffered some drunk guy races as well)
3. Eating/ Drinking/ Breakfast places
Since all the runners are complete foodies, you will become a completely updated gastronomical genius!
4. Hobbies
You will pick up at least one of these from your runner friends along the way. Writing, photography, baking, cooking, painting, sailing, surfing, golfing. You see runners are an interesting lot!
5. Other forms of fitness
Cycling, swimming, trekking, weight training, pilates, zumba. And here you will arrive at a point, where people will begin to doubt your sanity.
6. The joys of match making
If not for yourself, for the others. Please no queries on personal chats for this one! Unfortunately all my attempts at playing Cupid have so far been unsuccessful (so far….)
7. Marathon tourism
Here’s your opportunity to travel on the pretext of running a marathon. Places you would otherwise not want to and places you have always wanted to… From Satara to Switzerland, Bombay to Berlin, Chennai to China, Leh to London!!
8. Forging great friendships
This is especially close to my heart. I have made friends with the most remarkable people, and had unforgettably good times! Running and otherwise!
9. Events and groups
Introduction to events like Bandra NCPA and groups like MRR. MRR was great help in getting started and staying motivated. From the Hal Higdon charts to running routes, got prompt responses to all my queries. Got running company and running events. Got my clever little tips from how to stuff shoes with papers to run the next rainy day and how to runner-knot my shoe laces! And somewhere when time management became an issue, I got hooked onto Bandra NCPA runs for their fuss free organisation. Most of the half marathons were way too far out, some were poorly organised. Bandra NCPA always started on time, had among the best routes in Bombay a person could choose, and fantastic company! Followed by the usual happy jubilant pictures, breakfast with running buddies and camaraderie.
10. Last but not the least. You can get people to read stuff you write… Which no one would otherwise!!
JJ Have a great day!!
Dr. Vandana Rajesh.

Anchal Mundkur

She’s the PYT with the SUV. Besides being a consistent runner over the years, Anchal also volunteers regularly on our Bandra NCPA runs. Those who know her would say that she runs hard and parties harder. MRR caught up with Anchal to get a brief insight into her running world.


1. How did your initiation into running happen? And when?
About 4 years ago, I would see these super fit people running at all times of the day, in the streets and parks of Hong Kong. They all looked so good and made it look so effortless that I soon deluded myself into thinking that I could do it too.

2. What was the reason you got into running?
So that I could beat that annoying person on the next treadmill and of course to look like those runners they show in the movies. Still waiting for the latter.

3. What was your initial experience when you started running in Mumbai in terms of weather, people’s response the roads, traffic and crowds?
I thought nobody runs in Mumbai, other than for trains and busses. After all there is no place to run! Initially it was a bit daunting and awkward, cos everywhere you look you get that smile-less stare from everyone. Luckily I get to run on a beach and am saved from weaving through traffic, which in any case is very minimal in the early hours. Most of the year, the weather is just plain cruel – but you just get used to it and get a little stronger, one humid day after another.

4. How did you hear about Bandra NCPA monthly run? Any memorable or funny moments?
I heard about it through Anjali (Patwardhan) if I remember right. It’s not at all funny when every single person in the group overtakes me, every time!

5. A word on your association with Mumbai Road Runners and Bandra-NCPA run
MRR is an amazing group of runners who warmly embrace each and every runner irrespective of their running credentials. Being a lone runner of sorts and not having a coach or formal running group, these once a month Bandra – NCPA group runs give me that sense of being a part of the running community (without any of the drama 😉 , and it’s here that I have met some really great people and made some seriously awesome friends!

Ashok Someshwar



  1. How did your initiation into running happen? And when?

I was always interested in outdoor sports, but could not follow any sports early in life due to family finances and consequently the focus being only education. I grew up in a modest one room tenement in the housing board colony of Tilak Nagar, Chembur. However whenever schools used to shut for vacations,   I along with my building boys used to run a couple of kilometres early morning. Later on once I started working, I got seriously hooked into hiking and rock climbing and as a part of strengthening the legs, I used to run around 5 kms every weekend. I was always in awe of athletes and especially the distance runners, and used to keenly watch such events on TV. I wanted to run distances, but could not sum up the guts to venture into it.

008Then the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon happened and I so much wanted to be a part of the event, but still could not muster enough courage to register myself. Then one fine day in July 2005, the cloudburst happened in Mumbai which left us stranded in office for a day. The next day I trekked from my office at Prabhadevi to my home in Chandivali a distance of approximately 20kms in a little over 4 hours. That is when I realised that running/ walking a half marathon within that time was a feasible option. I started training from the next month, mostly on the Eastern Express Highway, initially 5-10 kms and gradually scaled the same to 20km. However as luck would have it, 15 days before the race I pulled a hamstring and was doubtful of completing the race, but with a bit of physiotherapy and painkillers and a lot of guts I finished the Standard Chartered Mumbai half marathon of January, 2006 in 2:35 mins. Thus began my long association with running.

  1. What was the reason you got into running?

I don’t think there was any specific reason for getting into running apart from being fit and building up endurance for my long treks. However once bitten by the bug, now I run more for the joy of running and exploring the limits that I can push. One of the joys of running is the amazing amount of friends that I have accumulated. The kind of love and affection that I have got over the years is hard to describe and put down on paper. It is an experience.

  1. What was your initial experience when you started running in Mumbai in terms of weather, people’s response the roads, traffic and crowds?

I have been fortunate at not having any adverse experiences even initially, apart from the fact that I was alone on the roads running, and would sometimes meet some people who were out for walks. Initially dogs were a bother, but looks like most of them have got used to runners now. I have been born and brought up in Mumbai, and hence the weather never really bothered me. However with serious training now, I realise that one has to take it easy during summers. Therefore now summers are the off season training days where I concentrate more on heart rate based slow runs and on improving the form. Being an avid trekker, I thoroughly enjoy running in the rains and in the winter. As regards crowd behavior, sometimes earlier I had experienced young boys calling out of vehicles and making fun, but that’s probably their way of enjoyment and I leave it at that. But in recent times, I have seen that people look at runners with a lot of respect.

  1. How did you hear about Bandra NCPA monthly run? Any memorable or funny moments?

It was somewhere in 2009, when Saurabh a friend asked me if I was interested in coming to Borivali National Park on a Sunday for a 10k run. I agreed, and it turned out that Giles Drego, whom I met for the first time there, had initiated the run to introduce people to running. One thing lead to another and a group was formed on the Runners For Life web page. This led to many local running groups being formed, like the Run Run Run, Mumbai Marathon Runners, Navi Mumbai Runners, and Bandra runners ( I forget the group name). 015This is where Giles, Ram, Milton, myself and few others got together and started organizing events like the BNP Half Marathon, which ran for three consecutive years. Milton was instrumental in starting the Bandra NCPA run as a training route for all those training for the SCMM, since the route was the same. Hence I was a part of the initial runs itself, though I cannot recollect the dates. Each of these runs have been memorable and runners from far and wide across Mumbai have participated all along. Hence it has truly become a melting pot of runners. It will be difficult to single out a moment out of so many treasured moments, but the ones that stand out are the runs with Kothandapani Sir and Barefoot Ted. Both awesome runners. The chit chats, the cheering at the finish, and the jokes and camaraderie, and above all the breakfast at the Irani restaurants all sum up to make the Bandra NCPA runs so awesome. The Anniversary runs also have been very memorable, with the cakes and celebrations.

  1. A word on your association with Mumbai Road Runners and Bandra-NCPA run

I have been associated with Mumbai Road Runners since its earlier avatar Mumbai marathon Runners and we have organized so many events, in which I have had some part to play, though the lions share of all the efforts were always by Ram, Milton, Giles and few others. Hence my association with the Bandra NCPA runs have also been since its inception. These monthly runs have a special place in my heart as we all started the fire! A run not to be missed for anytime if one is in Mumbai. Let the cheers and the tribe of selfless volunteers increase, for they are the life of the Bandra NCPA runs.

Khushru Patel


  1. How did your initiation into running happen? And when?                                                

When I was 47 years old a friend’s son brought me a form for a race which was to happen within 10 days.  The distance was 10 Kmts.   He made me sign the form and he got me my race bib etc.  I came 10th in that veteran race and the prize money I got was Rs.100/-.  This is what gave me the incentive to get into serious running.  All this was sometime way back in 1986.

  1. What was the reason you got into running?

As I came 10th in my first race with only 4 outings before the race as the 5th outing was the race itself – gave me the confidence to take up the sport as I felt that with constant practice I could be a winner.

  1. What was your initial experience when you started running in Mumbai in terms of weather, people’s response the roads, traffic and crowds?
  • As far as the weather is concerned, I am from Mumbai and did the weather did not have much impact on me as I was used to the climatic condition.
  • People’s response was varied.  When on practice some cheered and some jeered – matara matara.  Some youngsters would stop the car next to me and asked me “Uncle you want to race” laugh and zoom off.
  • The roads are pathetic.  Pot holes can damage an athlete’s foot and slows you down as you are constantly looking down to evade these.
  • As far as the crowds are concerned in race conditions, they always cheer which give you a high to push yourself.
  • One has to be cautious of the traffic on normal practice runs.   However, on race runs it depends how well the organizers have made traffic arrangements.


  1.  How did you hear about Bandra NCPA monthly run? Any memorable or funny moments?

Through running buddies, I think Milton Frank who put me on to it.   There are quite a few moments that I will cherish.  There is Bhaskar Desai who always makes people laugh with his antics.  So does Cowboy Kavin.   The camaradie between runners is fantastic.

  1.  A word on your association with Mumbai Road Runners and Bandra-NCPA run.

I try to join them whenever I can if in town.  I look forward to these runs every month.  What is more you can meet the new runners most young and some not so young.


Dr. Nipa Diwanji Sheth

Time to say good bye to our beloved Runner, Dentist and excellent Dancer. Sadly this was her last MRR run with us as a runner and volunteer. She’s headed back to the States and we wish her all the best. So here’s to Nipa!

NipaProfile1. How did your initiation into running happen? And when?
I started to run in 2004 following the birth of my first child, a daughter.
While I was in California, I was the President of a non profit dance troupe that raised funds for various charities. One such organization was Asha for Education. I was extremely impressed with the great work they did wrt children’s education in India and learnt about their marathon training program.
I joined their non-profit marathon training group and helped raise funds for them.
I ran my first half and my first full marathon then in beautiful Hawaii under their guidance.
I took a break from running after the birth of my second child for a year and then restarted soon thereafter.

2. What was the reason you got into running?
Multiple reasons.
One, a desire to help kids. I had a beautiful baby girl… first. Motherhood had given me a center and focus in my life that I never had before. It had made me want for a better world, and it had made me more committed to the future than ever before. What better way to celebrate the birth of my daughter than to try and help other children in the world who are less fortunate than she might be. My daughter would never know what it is to not have the means to a good education and if I could ensure that even one other child could get there then I could truly celebrate her birth.
Secondly, in some small way if I could be her role model in addition to being a parent then that’s an additional bonus. Apart from good values, the one thing I hope to share with my children is the ability to set ambitious goals and work hard towards achieving them throughout life.
(This was one big reason I prepared for and performed my Arangetram at age 44 too…something teenagers do)!
Since 2004 until now, I’ve had an on-again, off-again relationship with running. Motherhood, dentistry and dance took center stage in my life and running took backstage. However, I’m slowly getting back into long distance running because I love everything it has to offer…the camaraderie, the high-after and the cardio-vascular fitness.

3. What was your initial experience when you started running in Mumbai in terms of weather, people’s response the roads, traffic and crowds?
Mumbai’s running group is amazingly friendly. They welcome and encourage everyone regardless of speed or distance they can run.
The weather is tough to handle but I guess that’s what makes our runners here truly remarkable! It’s much harder to run under these tough conditions, be it weather, pollution or traffic and that’s what makes them tougher than the rest.
Road conditions are great during the early mornings but later can be tough, given the traffic, heat and humidity.

One thing I’d like to add here… While I was in the US, I noticed that a lot of runners raise funds for various charities. They and their friends and families pledge an amount they will donate per mile run. I would love to see Mumbai adopt this. In whatever small or big way it can. There are runners who buy charity bibs here but it’s not the same. Raising funds for charities involves helping spread the word for that particular charity which goes a longer way than simply buying a charity bib. I don’t wish to preach but it would be good for society in general and our running community to be more involved in social projects 🙂

4. How did you hear about Bandra NCPA monthly run? Any memorable or funny moments?
I met a fellow mom from my kids’ school then who was training for the Goa half, when I first relocated back to india. Through her, I met other runners and then learnt about the Bandra NCPA runs. What a great concept! To bring runners together along a route which they would be running on during the Mumbai marathon 🙂
My most memorable moments were when I met runners who were legends in their own rights. I had a small party at my place and had asked people to invite a few runners. I met some of my closest runner friends at that time and have established very close bonds through these years.
The tough Pedder Rd hill and the feeling of jubilation once it is crossed, the cheers of fellow runners near NCPA, the chit-chat and photo sessions after, the cool down stretches and breakfast at Kayani following the run are etched in my memory.

5. A word on your association with Mumbai Road Runners and Bandra-NCPA run
This group has a lot to offer for new and established runners in terms of resources and advice. The runs every month are very well organised and help everyone get into the groove of things before the main event aka SCMM. I would strongly recommend anyone in Mumbai who wishes to take up running whether for short distances or for long ones, to join the group and learn and share.
Running is a very social sport. The Bandra-NCPA runs help runners to strengthen the friendships and improve on their running while having fun in the process.
Also, it is great to see the selflessness among runners during these runs. Volunteers who step forward to help by giving out water and food and photographers who help preserve these wonderful memories created.

Giles Drego

May, typically an offseason period for all us runners. The heat and humidity in Mumbai is what most of us describe as killing. Most of us get into maintenance mode and run minimal distances just to keep our fitness levels in check. However there are some runners who look upon this month as a challenge. They throw aside all reasoning and log phenomenal mileages. Well, 512.23kms to be precise. Meet Giles Drego, a runner and coach who needs no introduction. The King from the Queen of the Suburbs!

gilesprofile1. How did your initiation into running happen? And when?
On my First Race Day there wasn’t much crowd; hardly any cheering as in today’s day and age; but towards the finish there was ‘some’ cheering and ‘some’ crowd, all looking on, as we runners tried our Best to sprint the last 100 or 200 mtrs to the finish. The crowd looked on in Awe as at that time not many people ran. We were looked upon as “really fit guys”. And those finishing the Half in 2hrs or there abouts were considered like “hey these guys are really good”. It was certainly a heady feeling of Joy and Pride, Achievement and we Danced Right There at the Finish Line (that doesn’t happen now though”.

I remember the 2007 HM clearly. The road opened out to free running within 200mtrs unlike today, where in the SCMM HM one has to push, jostle, elbow and zig zag his way through for almost 4-5k before one finds enough space to run freely.

 2. What was the reason I got into running??
By age 50 I was overweight and couldnt run at all. Even to Walk to the nearest Bus Stop was an arduous task. I would think “in my late 20s I was so much in such good shape, was toned an fit” and “now I am 50+ an Look at how I have become”

So one fine day, on 3rd Nov, 2006 wen I was 50+ I decided to run and get back in shape, get fit an toned like I used to. I decided “I must do the marathon”. In running, exercising and training, I knew I would get fit.

 3. What was your initial experience when you started running in Mumbai, in terms of weather, people’s response, the roads, traffic and crowds?
As I started training from November 2006, the weather was not hot. It was Cool weather to train in an I didn’t have any problems running from November to Race Day in January. Later on, in the summer months it was almost No Training as summer months were too hot to train. Today, however,  quite a few runners train even in the hot summer months.

After the summer months passed an the monsoons began, training would re-start an I would train by running in the rain.

Initially people would wonder why I was running so much. Many thought I was crazy to run so much. My family too thought I ran too much an they all wondered whether it would tell on my health.

Roads and traffic though didn’t bother me too much as I ran in my vicinity where there wasn’t much traffic and the road was good.

Running in other parts of the city was and Is tricky. On coming traffic is a hazard the runner has to face whenever he runs on crowded roads and I always was at risk of being knocked down. But running on the side of the roads is how I just about managed.

Running on crowded roads was and Is a problem even to this day. I continue to face the ire of slow moving vehicles, honking and drivers even giving me ‘gaalis’ on one side and on the other side when I would run on the pavement, people

4. How did I hear about the Bandra-NCPA monthly run?? 
Hahahaha!! I didn’t hear about the Bandra-NCPA run — I Started it (along with Ram Venkataraman and Milton Frank). We were then on the Runners for Life (RFL) site and I had my own group there by name ‘Run Mumbai Run’ where many runners followed my tips, msgs, chats, discussions on running. Milton Frank too had his own group RFL by name ‘Bandra Runners’. Milton came up with the idea that we run from Bandra to NCPA and thats how this Bandra-NCPA run was born. Ram, Milton, myself an 2 or 3 others ran the First Bandra-NCPA run. We later promoted this Bandra-NCPA run on RFL.

I don’t remember any funny or awkward moments in the Bandra-NCPA run. But some memorable runs were certainly there.

We once called Kothandapani Sir all the way from Bangalore to grace one of our Anniversary Runs and we paid for his airfare to and fro.

I must Mention, at that time, we had a few notable volunteers like Mumtaz Querishi, Laxminarayan Iyer (Mani), who arranged for water an bananas at the finish. Anand (Ram’s brother) got Gatorade to sponsor energy drink. Ram and myself helped in other activities.

Another very memorable Bandra-NCPA run was when the Great Ted McDonald (a.k.a Barefoot Ted and who features in the book Born to Run) came and ran the Bandra-NCPA run with us.

We honoured Barefoot Ted by cutting a chocolate cake made in the shape of a Bare Foot.

5. A word on your association with Mumbai Road Runners and Bandra-NCPA run.
I am associated with Mumbai Road Runners (MRR) for long. Right from its inception. And I would like to continue being associated with MRR. But not being too Net Savvy, am unable to contribute in a big way via Net, E-mail, though in person I am definitely up-to-it to do my bit.

As a footnote I may add that I have done the Most No. of Bandra-NCPA runs — 53 till date. July 5th, 2015 will be my 55th bandra-ncpa run.

Interview with Andrea Reinsmoen Stadler by Rupal Shah

Interview with Andrea Reinsmoen Stadler
(interview taken by Rupal Shah)
1. How did your initiation into running happen? And when?

Andrea: For so long I swore I would avoid running because of all the sports I thought it was as boring as playing golf. I started running to complete triathlons. It wasn’t my favorite sport. In Dubai I met a running group and tried to do a marathon, while I did the first 21km in 1:40, I didn’t finish until 4:30 because I was so unprepared. I suffered for a week not being able to go up and down stairs… I decided never to do a marathon again…When I went to the US, after completing a half ironman, my trainer encouraged me to do a marathon the next month. I did 3:48 and felt great. It was all about being well prepared. When I came to Mumbai, cycling was not an option, and so I started running. Little did I know that it would grow on me and that eventually I’d do 100km… in the Himalayas!

2. What was your initial experience when you started running in Mumbai in terms of weather, people’s response the roads, traffic and crowds?

Andrea: I only usually train early mornings, so when I came to Mumbai, that’s what I did. That’s where I met Giles. He introduced me to the running community, but at that time, seven year ago, it was me, him, Anil, and people walking dogs. That has changed SO much. It’s amazing and great to see.

3. How is it different from running your home country or other countries where you have run?
Andrea: The places I have lived in, have more greener, tracks, clear air, clean floors. It is very different. All the people I work with try the first month they are here to come out with me, but none continue because of the conditions. I really wish they’d get to meet the running community as I think it would motivate them to get out, just like it motivated me. To know that others are out there regardless was one thing that got me up.

4. How did you hear about Bandra NCPA monthly run? Any memorable or funny moments?
Andrea: I was running Bandra NCPA with a group of expat friends way back…5-6 years ago. Most of them have left, but our last run together was last weekend. I think Giles then mentioned that others were doing it. So I joined once when my friends couldn’t go. It was great to see the same faces again and again and then on different dates. The big change was after I did the 100km and a lot of people knew who I was. I was very flattered.

5. What was the structure of your training for long-distance running while you were in Mumbai?
Andrea: I run/workout 5 days a week, sometimes twice a day. I keep 2 days off to recover. I do strength workout as well as running, swimming, biking, and

6. A word on Mumbai’s running culture
Andrea: Inspirational. Look at how many turned up today!!! The growth has been amazing. The fact that they are all out running early mornings, has got me out of bed on difficult days. Your “Hi Andrea” along the way have kept me going and made me smile and happy. You have been very rewarding to be around. The fact that volunteers are willing to give up their Sunday sleeping in to give water to runners at different locations leaves me speechless. Such selfless people. There are so many with spirit like Pervin. So many who organize for others like Ram, and those that are there for others so they can accomplish their goals like Puru. And so many other names that it makes me sad to say goodbye to them all.

7. A word on your association with Mumbai Road Runners and Bandra-NCPA run
Andrea: I’ve always hoped that there would be something that would bring the clubs together, so that runners can share their knowledge and experiences with others. I would love to see clubs working together to become better athletes. This run gives this opportunity and I hope people don’t stop, but rather more come and use it as an opportunity to share good tips from each other such as how to recover, nutrition, strength, and good form. The volunteers again, are amazing…..

Babu Ramaswamy – The traveller on the Run – They Inspire

” My only aim is to run long till the last sunday of my life ” He is one of the most busiest professional, his air travel mileages are more than of our PM Narendra modi but lesser than Prathibha patil the expresident , he travels 4 days a week. He works with CISCO in senior position . Very close friend and weekend long run partner. He is part of the prestigious SHLOKA team . He plays almost all the sports . Babu Ramaswamy with more than 50 timed runs(12hrs, 42kms , 25kms , 21kms ……). His greatest inspiration his wife . He is currently aiming and training for 89kms comrades run in 2016 . Had also run many international marathons . A interview with Babu is under ………….. ‪#‎Theyinspire‬‪#‎A3dayseriesonbusiestprofessionalswithloveforrunning‬

1. Why did I choose running as a sport / My Running HISTORY

I have always been sports lover and a follower right from school days. I still remember my first 200 mtrs win when I was in school.

When I was graduating I was in N.C.C ( Army wing ) and this is where I got exposed to the concept of LONG RUNS. Everyday morning before the drill / parade we used to run 5kms, and I used to manage the distance quite easily { and trust me those days we didn’t have fancy sports shoes like asics, nike etc smile emoticon }. This is where I transitioned from a 5 km to half marathon runner. I was associated with the 11 GORKHA Rifles as part of my ARMY Attachment CAMP in NCC. Our Subedaar Sahab used to train us real hard. We used to have our long runs during sundays from afghan church – sassoon docks – cuffe parade – badhwar park – fountain and back. This is how running started becoming an integral part of my life.

As I entered the corporate world, running or for that matter SPORTS started taking a back seat and there came a phase when there was NO SPORT in my schedule it was only booze and cigarettes and work, work & work. This phase has to be the worst in my life; since I was constantly irritated; needless to say my weight had gone for a toss.

Realisation struck and boy it did strike me hard, I was overweight and it was time for a course correction. With complete support of my girl friend { wife now smile emoticon } and a fellow sports enthusiast ( who knew my background ) it was time to lace up and hit the road. This was the second start and where my love with EEH ( Eastern Express Highway ) started. Used to train on EEH ( from Thane checknaka to kanjurmarg turn and back ) and then my first Mumbai Marathon happened. My Wife encouraged me and supported me throughout and post that, there has not been a look back…and hopefully I shall continue as looooong as possible.

2. How many runs so far ?

I have managed to run close to 50 timed marathons till date. I have ventured outside india too and managed few timed marathons. Few notable runs mentioned under..

1. Mumbai Marathon – HM ( 9 ), FM ( 1 )
2. Delhi HM – 4
3. Hyderabad – HM ( 3 )
4. Thane – HM ( 4 )
5. Pune – HM ( 1 )
6. BNP – HM ( 2 )
7. BLR ( 1 )
8. Goa – HM ( 3 )
9. Kaveri ( 1 )
10. Auroville ( 1 )
11. BNP ULTRA ( 1 )
12. Mumbai 12 hour run ( 1 )
13. Satara HM ( 2 )
14. Singapore – HM ( 3 ), FM ( 1 )
15. San Francisco ( 2 )
16. Kuala Lumpur ( 1 )
17. Bangkok ( 1 )
Running Goal

• I want to have my last long run till the last Sunday of my life. That’s my long term goal.
• To be more materialistic, my short term goal is to attempt for BRONZE MEDAL at Comrades. I am giving COMRADES a shot in 2016.
• My short to long term goal is to run in all the seven continents of the world.

3. Running Preparations ???

While I do have a running schedule which I try to follow BUT given my hectic work schedule ( I travel a LOT ) many a times I am unable to follow the exact regime BUT I definitely run a 5K. My travel bag ALWAYS has my running shoes and my running gear. Over all when a major timed marathon is approaching – I start following my regime seriously. Weekday runs include a 5k flat course run, a hill work out, core strengthening at gym, Climbing stairs. I NEVER take an elevator { unless I have lot of baggage ). My residence is on the 7 th floor and office is on 7th floor – I always take the stairs. That adds to the overall work out. Weekends ( Sat and Sunday ) are long runs – anywhere between 15 to 21 kms depending on the race which is coming up.

As part of the cross training, I play badminton, volleyball and do a bit of cycling too. As mentioned above, my work takes me to places and has heavy travel; so to ensure that I do not miss my workout, I ensure that I walk from my hotel to work area and in the evenings before any dinner, do a quick run and walk to the place.

4. What has running given me / Why running ??

Running gives me an IMMENSE HIGH feeling. One such moment is when I finished 12 hour Mumbai run in 2014. When I friends asked me register, I was quite skeptical BUT when the clock struck 5pm on 15th aug, 2014..I had finished running for 12 hours, I could clock 78kms.That was one high I experienced. Second memorable moment was when a good friend cum fellow runner managed to achieve his personal best in Goa in 2014; was happy that I could guide him and give him the required impetus when the race started.

Running has given me many many friends. People who just got introduced to me as runners, have now become part of my life and are my besties – SHLOKA Group smile emoticon . Sanjay Sir ( Club Marathon coach ), Satish Gujran, Biju, Murali, Bobby, Unmesh Nayak, Varun Joshi, Ram and many many more are in my life ONLY because of RUNNIG.

5. Any suggestions, TIPS – Don’t Compete or try and emulate others. Compete with self, train as per your requirements and most important – LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.


Chitra Nitin Nadkarni

If you are running in Bandra in the morning, chances are you will run into a woman who sports long hair and runs very hard. Chitra Nitin Nadkarni’s return to running – she was a sprinter in her youth days – has given her due rewards. She finished among the top three in her age category in Goa and Hyderabad half marathons. Encouraged by her husband and daughter, Chitra ran her first half marathon in her 50th year. She shares her journey with Mumbai Road Runners.

I have always enjoyed running, as I was a highly energetic child. Playing, running or even swimming channelized my energy. I did sprints in schools and college and even as a swimmer I did the short distances. I even reached the inter-district levels in athletics and swimming.
As I graduated, took up a job and got married, athletics and swimming naturally took a back seat. Though I kept myself fairly active through aerobics, gym workouts, dancing, badminton and yoga, the runner in me had never died. As I watched live telecasts of the Mumbai Marathon, the idea of running a half marathon was given a fresh lease of life.My daughter was old enough to take care of herself and in 2005 I did run the dream run in Mumbai marathon.
But it was a mere aberration as life’s duties and a few personal commitments kept me away from reconnecting with running. 

As I was closing in on my 50th birthday, I drew up a bucket list of 50 things to be done of which running was one of the top priorities. There are others like bungee jumping, skydiving, hot air ballooning etc….I hope I can achieve all this within the foreseeable future.

With encouragement from my husband and daughter, I started training for the 2013 Mumbai half marathon in August 2012. They knew that the boundless energy that I had needed to be expended somewhere. 

By that time, I had also quit my job and had plenty of time on hand. Having been a sprinter all my life, running for two hours at a stretch was a challenge initially. But running long distances has its advantages _ it liberates me and makes me happy. It is exhausting but satisfying too.

I ran my first long-distance run in December 2012 when I did the Mast run. I started too fast as the sprinter in me took over but the distance was obviously too long to be tackled with nervous energy. Though I was exhausted midway through the run and started cramping too, I had enough energy to finish the run and win the race among veterans. It was a strange feeling. I was revisiting the winning feeling after nearly three decades and I enjoyed it for sure. 

Next was the Goa Half marathon where I again bagged a podium. I cramped again but finished first in the women’s veteran category! Obviously I was doing something very wrong at the beginning of these races but getting it right at the end to bag podium finishes, I concluded.

Though I had trained hard enough and run two races, I had to give the Mumbai Marathon a miss in 2013 as an opportunity to travel to the United States cropped up and it was too good an offer to resist. A USA trip was also part of my bucket list, so I had to cancel one to fulfill another!

My next marathon was the Hyderabad half marathon in August 2013 and despite cramping from the 13 km mark, I again bagged a podium finish. It was agonizing to have missed a sub-two hour personal best timing by a minute or so.
By now, I have completely taken in the joys of running. I love running in the mornings, as it is peaceful, quiet and pleasant. Morning runs help me sort out my thoughts and plan my day.  

Earlier when I ran, I always listened to music but was advised that it was a dangerous habit as I was not plugging in to the traffic noise and would put my life in danger.

Now with the Mumbai Marathon 2014 less than two months away, I hope I can strike off one more item from my bucket list _ running a half marathon in under two hours. Of course I have other ambitions like running a full marathon, running a half marathon abroad. 

Running long distances is not easy as it takes a heavy toll on the body. You also need to possess mental strength to finish what you have started despite physical pain. Hence, it’s a combination of physical and mental endurance that helps me complete the intended distance, which satisfies me and gives me a sense of achievement.

I also enjoy competitive running, as the encouragement from fellow runners is inspiring. I experienced this recently at the Vasai Virar Mayor’s marathon. I was amazed at the number of people cheering for us. The excitement and energy that they generated was contagious and that made it the most enjoyable run for me.
I also marvel at all the runners I meet, young or old, slow or fast, people who have been running for so many years. I also feel I have the enthusiasm and energy to run even longer distances and hopefully plan to even run the Comrades in the not too distant future.