Category Archives: Running Stories

What’s your running story?- by Rodman D’Souza

Article by Rodman D’Souza

What’s your story?

What’s your running story?

Why do you run?

How did you start running?

How can you wake up at such ungodly hours just to run a couple of miles?

How can you run so much?

How can you pay so much just to run a race for a silly medal and some snacks?

These are few but familiar questions that a runner constantly faces. Truth be told, we really don’t know the answers to most of them, and on this Global Running Day, we don’t think we would be able to answer them. How do you explain to a non-runner the passion behind this mad addiction? Very often we don’t remember why we started in the first place. It seems like eons ago that we started running, and now it has become part of our being, the life we live.

We run because we can, because we were born to run. We have been built for running. For our ancestors running was a way of living, a way of surviving, to avoid starvation or being the next meal. But over the years, thanks to progress, we have forgotten to run. Not anymore cause running is back with a bang. We are the running addicts, the runnaholics, who cannot do without running a few miles or kms.

Running knows no age. A true runner doesn’t bother about pace or distance, give them a road and they will be content to run for a lifetime. There’s no particular age to start running.

Kamalaksha Rao started his running journey when most people are content with retirement. He ran his first Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon, or SCMM, doing a HM while he was nearing the golden age of 68. Till date he has completed numerous HMs and 10ks and even 25k. He is currently participating in the 100 days running challenge, already logging in a good 187 kms in 34 days.

Prerna Parwani took to running at the age of 48, to overcome the depression she felt when her son left for the states for further studies. From there on there has been no looking back for her. Numerous races and podium finishes, highs and lows later, running has given her a brand new perspective to not only running but her life too. From being inspired, she’s now a source of inspiration herself.

For Anamika Kundu, it was challenge thrown at her by her other half, to run outdoor and not on the treadmill as she did then. Though difficult at first, she persevered, even getting her husband to join her. After that it was no looking back. Though her medications may have slowed her down, it has not stopped her.

For runners like Swetha Amit, Neetul Mohanty, Shibani Gulati, Amit Yadav and Hari Iyer, running was a way at getting back at nature for the hand it dealt them. It meant overcoming obstacles and setbacks, be it ulcerative colitis, asthma, even life threatening that would require a kidney transplant. Nothing could stop them from getting right up, dusting themselves off, and carrying on. Running gave them a new lease in life, a new challenge. From being that non-athletic kid at school to a distance runner. This meant even running a 10k at Aarey, two months after giving birth. Running helped them to feel at peace with them self, to get over whatever that life threw at them.

For Sanjana Shah, Vignesh Bhatt, Nilesh Sawant, Pranav Subramaniyan, Bijay Nair, Ankit Khandelwal and Gaurav Bharadwaj, it was a way of going from fat to fit, a way of getting rid of the pesky fats, a way of improving their stamina. Overcoming the naysayers and those who mocked them, even overcoming a bit of self-doubts too. They were able to bring about a change in their lifestyle, for a better future, to run without losing breath. Now with their weight loss and their stories, they are a source of inspiration to those who need it to lose those pounds.

For runners like Renata Pavrey, Rahul Chauhan, Ajay Gupta, running meant reconnecting with themselves. Doing something they could be passionate and proud of, another aspect of life. And who knows while undertaking this challenge you may find someone who challenged you even more, like Durgesh Jha’s story, someone who you would spend the rest of your life with.

There are so many such inspirational stories just waiting to be told, to inspire, to be heard. All you need to just scroll down to read their stories in their own words. Meet runner and listen patiently.

There are so many groups to help you get started with your running journey. Primarily among them is the Mumbai Road Runners, or MRR as we like to call it. This is not just another running group or community, it’s a running family. It’s a running family created by runners for runners to help, guide and support them. Their monthly runs from Bandra to NCPA are something to look forward. It’s an experience whether you are running, or volunteering, supporting the runners. You have runners from all walks of life, all corners of Mumbai, sometimes all over India and the world too. A melting pot of runners, giving an opportunity to meet and greet and learn from each other. Along with their partners MRR also supports many underprivileged runners, helping them to reach new heights. Through their various outreach programs they help runners in need. MRR is not always about running, you also have yoga, beach football, and my favourite, ultimate frisbee. The annual MRR awards is the time for runners to let their hair down and celebrate the year of running. MRR also provides you with a platform to let your story to be heard. It needn’t be grand, cause every story and running journey in itself is inspirational.

Running is not just a form of exercise, it’s a way of life. It would not be an exaggeration to say that for a runner, it is as important as breathing. In running it as important to give back as you receive. To cheer and support as much as you receive, sometimes even more. For a non-runner, this would be difficult to understand and we don’t think they ever will. But we are runners and will always run.

The road of life goes on and on

Out from my doorstep

Into the great beyond

Where it will lead us

No one knows

But down that road

I shall go

With a spring in my step

And a smile on my face

The road of life goes on and on

No smoke without fire-World No Tobacco day

Indulging in a puff or a two is usually associated largely with the ‘cool’ quotient. Probably this is why we see that cigarette finding its way into the hands of high school and college students. It starts out as peer pressure with the usual ‘try one puff, nothing will happen’. The need to fit in or the fear of being rejected in social circles ultimately leads to that occasional puff which goes on to becoming an addiction.

What with the likes of some of the celebrities puffing away a cigarette or two on screen, a la Jim Carrey in The Mask or an Ajay Devgan in the action thriller-Khakhee. Little do the naïve young breed of fans realize that this act of emulating their favourite star will result in them having to pay a heavy price literally?

Smoking leads to diseases affecting the heart and lungs besides being a major risk factor for heart attacks, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, and cancer, particularly lung cancer, cancers of the larynx and mouth, liver cancer and pancreatic cancer. Studies have shown reduction in overall life expectancy in long term smokers especially with estimates ranging from 10-17 years lesser than non-smokers. Some evidence suggests a small increased risk of myeloid leukaemia, cancers of the gall bladder, adrenal gland and the small intestine.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) caused by smoking, is a permanent, incurable (often terminal) reduction of pulmonary capacity characterised by shortness of breath, wheezing, persistent cough with sputum and damage to the lungs.

Smoking is also known to reduce appetite-an extreme measure that many resort to in order to shed those pounds and wanting to appear svelte. It is considerable known to affect fertility in women. Providing a short term relief from stress and elevated moods on a temporary basis are some of the reasons why this cigar finds its popularity amongst the adult segment.

Once entangled in this foil of fumes, one finds it tough to break away from that occasional puff and falls prey to this deadly habit. Sort of reminds one of a quicksand which requires tremendous strength to pull a person away from this dangerous situation. Smoking is similar to a quicksand- it’s tough to break away once you are sucked into it.

While it’s tough, it’s certainly not impossible as there have been some inspirational figures who have overcome this temptation and given up that cigar up for good. Having discovered a new found goal in their lives, they have chosen to huff and puff their way to the finish line and reward themselves a medal and the runners high instead of that short term high provided by the life threatening nicotine.

 

Ketan Chauhan, a Mumbai based runner was a regular smoker and was smoking for the last 15 years. He began running in 2013 and would still continue to smoke even after his run. Being associated with MRR (Mumbai road runners) group, he would come across several inspirational stories about different runners which made him focus more on running and building up his mileage.  Finally he took the plunge and quit cigarette smoking end of December 2015.  Says Ketan, “I took my last puff then and from January 2016, I completely stopped smoking. I gave up partying with my friends as well and after a few months of not smoking, I felt good. Some friends would say “ek puff marle kuch nahi hoga” but I knew I did not want to go down that lane ever again. Till date I haven’t touched a cigar and feel thrilled about it. Running really helped me kick the butt. “

Satwik Rajani, another Mumbai based runner tried his first cigarette when he was still in school at the tender age of 16. He got so addicted that he would end up smoking 10-15 cigarettes a day and his scales shot up to a whopping 107 kg. “It all changed when I took up running.” he says. “I started training for my first marathon in November 2016 which prompted me to quit smoking as I wanted to perform well. Since then there has been no looking back as I completed my first full marathon in 3:47. At present I am just a few days away from running my first ultra which is the comrades run at South Africa on June 4th 2017.

Samir Kulkarni from Kalyan Dombivali runners (KDR) group was able to brush off those unhealthy habits aside and embrace a healthy lifestyle. Smoking ruined Samir’s life and made him feel that he was aging a tad too fast. He encountered fatigue while climbing a staircase which prompted this 32 year old to take up fitness seriously.  A 480 m run close to his home made him take up a new challenge.  He gradually built his stamina by increasing his mileage. His association with running communities like KDR and MRR (Mumbai road runners) transformed him from an unhealthy smoker to a fit runner. “Running has made me much more disciplined and achievement oriented.” says Samir. “It has helped me quit bad habits and gain control of my mind. Not to mention the number of friends that I have made and the different kind of high that I face every time I finish a run.” He has sacrificed family events and late evening parties to keep up with his running schedule. He has also inspired non-runners to devote 30 minutess to some physical activity and smokers to quit smoking and follow a healthy lifestyle.

Satish Gujaran-a 7 times comrades’ finisher and an inspiration for many runners, narrates his journey from being a chain smoker to a comrades runner.  He would smoke 2 packets of cigarettes every day. He started running in 2004 and in the quest of wanting to quit smoking, he joined Isha Yoga. Gradually from not smoking for 2 days, he increased it to 7 days and realized that if he could go without smoking for 7 days then it’s not tough to quit smoking for good. “It’s all in the mind”, he says. “Initially when I gave up smoking, I found it very difficult. Running has given me the will power and ability to control my mind which helps me in ultras especially. After a certain distance it becomes more of a mind game. I ran my first comrades in 2010 after which I completely quit smoking. So it took me 6 years to give up this habit entirely.” Satish now makes it a point to help a few runners give up this habit and adopt a healthier lifestyle. From a person who could barely run 1 km to running 89 km is truly a remarkable achievement.

The journey from addiction to dedication is a path that involves great amount of perseverance and will power. Difficult as many may proclaim but certainly not impossible as tough habits don’t last, tough people do!

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Back to school with those strides


It’s been more than year since I got acquainted with this family of runners. Nevertheless it feels like returning back to school, considering the amount of learning that has happened in that one year, changing my perspective towards not only running but life as well.

Every runner certainly has a story behind them-be it battling post pregnancy weight issues, recuperating from several illnesses of varying degrees, coping up with a loss of a loved one or just being inspired by other runner friends.

Over time, opportunity presented itself to interact with these inspiring souls. Hearing about their experiences left me intrigued even further. Whether it was reading one of MRR admin and veteran runner-Bijay Nair’s inspire series, first account narratives or several books/blogs such as ‘Dare to Run’, ‘The Running Soul’, ‘Unstoppable’, the learning curve only continued to move upwards.

Despite their struggles, runners would always display a positive demeanour on the race track. Little does one realise that ‘there’s more it than meets the eye’ for these folks. As I reflected and dwelled on these various stories, I learnt the following:

  • – I was probably not the only one fighting my demons and that there were millions who were traversing this journey of overcoming the odds, which I wasn’t aware of.
  • -I learnt that the pain one goes through, eventually makes them stronger than ever.
  • – I learnt never to be bogged down by the age factor which was gnawing my nerves, as the years rolled by.
  • – I learnt that it was never too late to begin a journey considering how several runners began their own during their 40s.
  • -Most importantly, I learnt the art of expressing gratitude towards those unsung souls, whom otherwise I would end up taking for granted, such as the volunteers and photographers.
  • -I learnt the art of appreciating the finer things in life, to empathise and appreciate others while they were progressing towards their goal.
  • -Lastly, I learnt to be humble irrespective of my achievements as I realised that I was just a small drop in the ocean of runners.

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The journalist in me often seeks to learn about stories behind the lives of other people which is an enriching and transformational experience. As I reflect back, I realise that the learnings incorporated from every runner in the MRR community left me awe struck, gratified and humbled.

On the occasion of Guru Purnima today, no doubt you thank your teachers who have made a difference to your lives. I would like to take this opportunity and thank each one of you.  All of you are teachers in your own way, from whom I have learnt and imbibed a lot. So thank you guys and Happy Guru Purnima to all of you

Inspiring stories from women runners of MRR – on International Women’s Day!!

This International Women’s Day on 8th March, 2016 we asked the women runners of MRR to pen their thoughts on how running has helped them and what influence running has had on their lives and that of their families. Never expected there would be a wealth of real, inspiring, courageous stories from the women runners. These are some really fantastic stories We have collated and compiled their stories below:

The history of all times and of today especially, teaches that —women will be forgotten if they forget to think about themselves. Happy Women’s Day.
Debanjana Bakshi

Running for me has been finding myself.. And the few lines that I have penned down below just followed as the good after effects.

By experience I vouch..
You will no longer be a grouch..
Remember, spending time on yourself is no sin..
Run or walk with that lovely grin..
Distances & timings are but numbers mere..
Watch how it brings to your own self a cheer..

Happy Women’s Day to all the lovely women
Aparna Bhingarkar D’souza

As a working woman…if I can run a gujju house with crazy stuff,…I can run on streets too…Running is balancing my life…..regaining energy…to be a superwoman…fighting all odds that come along….Thank you to the group i am motivated every day.
Kiiran Patel

Running has given me a new life. It’s actually given me wings to let me fly & be myself & live for me. I was pretty happy before I got into running….I was happy doing the usual chores through the day looking after my family and house and trying to help out my husband in business, but once I started running I realised that this is actually what I’m doing for only myself. Running is my ‘my time’. The best part is my family is very supportive and happy that now I’ve got something that makes me happy. I’ve got into a better and healthier lifestyle and live a more satisfied life now! Happy Running.
Poonam Dahiya Bhatia

Running has taken top priority after my daughter in my life now…What started out as a short term goal has pretty much defined my life now…Enjoy this Me Time tremendously. Has given me back my Childhood- those Free Spirited Fun Days all over again…
Manasi Samudra

I started running to gain back my strength after my ulcer attack and ran my first HM at SCMM 2012. The entire experience left me with such euphoria that I felt I wanted to continue this forever. Long distance running became an integral part of my life, even during pregnancy and post that. Running gives me that tranquillity and the space to get away from the mundane routine that we are accustomed to. It has been my magic pill to deal with stress, woes and not to mention given me a new sense of purpose and an entire family of runners. It has humbled me and definitely made me a better person.
Swetha Amit

2 years back my son left for USA to pursue higher studies and life became difficult. The emptiness was killing me and I was on the verge of nervous breakdown.. But whoa I found running…or running found me…the running child in me was born and now I can proudly say that running is my lifeline. Have made so many friends, they keep me busy all the time. So its not only running but reading MRR post, learning from them, commenting…in short my life revolves around running .Today the most happiest is my son.

My family is most supportive and happy that I am actually living for myself now.

And yes I did the times women’s drive this weekend with my new runner friends.
Prerna Parwani

Running opened me up to the universe. It helped me transform not only physically but also mentally and emotionally. It got me in touch with the real me. It helped me give and receive. It helped me shed my inhibitions and accept myself for who I am. I have learnt to push myself beyond. I have found immense calm and peace. It keeps me going. Most importantly it has given me Pinkathon and all of you.
Sonia Kulkarni

I have been running since I was probably 14-15 years old. Though running had been a huge part of my life, but it was never the sole way of staying fit. I tried my hands on long distance running out of sheer boredom while I was working oversees and had nothing better to do on a quiet Christmas morning, and I realized that I could run for 2 hours without breaking much of a sweat (Weather helped). Since then there has been no looking back. Running became my main form of fitness right after I had my kids, because I found that it was the quickest and easiest way to regain my fitness levels. There was a part of me trying to prove it to myself that not only I could go back to where I was before, but I could do better. That belief in me came true when I ran my first HM post delivery and even though I barely managed to slash off 5 mins from the same event pre-pregnancy, it instilled a confidence in me that is not easy to shatter. It’s true what they say – women do become stronger after childbirth!
Today I would probably have an identity crisis if I stopped seeing myself as a runner.
Divya Prabhakar Gupta

Being asthmatic since early childhood, running for me was sprinting few meters to the school bus to get the best seat. It’s astonishing how I have stuck through this gruelling sport and survived initial days of hopelessness when I started 4 1/2 years back. What started as a pure unapologetic, unabashed and selfish ‘me’ time has now transitioned to a ‘together’ time as my man joined this addictive running bandwagon. I would credit running to keep my sanity intact else I would have been clinically a very dangerous woman. swear!!!
Neetul Mohanty

This is the first time ever that I am sharing my story with you all.

Running came to while i was fighting my biggest enemy- Fear.

Fear of returning to normal life post my kidney transplant in March 2010.Running was the response to my fears gift wrapped by the universe in the form of Pinkathon in December 2012.I ran my first 3km.First I didn’t think about my transplant much when I ran, other than how I hoped I was inspiring people with debilitating illnesses to get up and move. I wanted to be an example. Most of what I remember about my time in the hospital is a mish-mash of intense pain, discomfort, and fear, and at first I let those feelings dominate my recovery. I was always afraid that I would get sick again, or my new kidney would fail, so I proceeded cautiously into the world of physical fitness. I used running as a way to distract me from those memories.

This year I ran my second half marathon at the SCMM and preparing for many upcoming events during the year. I use running to help me de-stress and cope with life, but I don’t feel like I’m fighting so hard anymore. I used to feel like everything, even running, was a matter of life and death. Now, if I’m running, I know it’s because I’m alive, at least for the moment. Life doesn’t come with guarantees, so I trust my body and its signals, and I’ve learned that while getting outside my comfort zone is, well, uncomfortable, it is also necessary to move forward.
Every year when this early part of March comes around, I try to spend a bit more time paying attention to the things that I often take for granted. On this day in 2010, I was praying for a successful transplant and fighting alongside my Donor, my younger brother and knew I had months of a gruelling recovery ahead of me. I try to remember that time at Hinduja hospital, instead of forgetting, and I allow myself to accept the experience as a part of my story. It may be behind me, but it is still part of the path I am taking to move forward. Whatever way that path ends up going, I hope to do it running.
Shibani Gulati

Amongst all d FM n HM women runners I want to share my story.. Story of a beginner..I was very active in sports from childhood. Karate n athletics was daily thing.. As I grew up n started working I started gyming.. Lowest weight at 60kgs.. Post 2deliveries (both c section + gestational diabetes + hypothyroidism) I’m struggling to lose weight.. Started re-running since last Nov… I still struggle to complete my 10k.. I am experiencing new energy… Feel so positive and full of life.. Thanks to the amazing motivators who have turned friends.. I am increasing my mileage slowly… Hope to complete a few good races … My goal is to have overall fitness … ! Salute to so many people here who say such kind words… I want to pass my positive energy to them … ! God bless.. In no way particular order.. I want to thank a few good souls…Umedkumar Sinai Bijay Nair Samuel Chettiar Viv Menon Swetha Amit Sayuri Dalvi Deepak Oberoi Sarabjit Singh Jassal Jayraman Rankawat Mufaddal Hararwala Sharmila Munj Inderpal Khalsa Pradeep Yadav Sunil Shetty Giles Drego Yvette Saldanha Amrita Saraf Rai Amalesh KarleChitu Shetty
Kiran John

Running to me has been a very recent encounter… But sometimes u don’t have to do something for too long to fall in love with it.. Sometimes a couple of runs are more than enough. I prefer running at 5.30 am as the roads are empty and it’s still dark and it’s a great feeling to be running when the sun comes up.

Running is like meditation, actually better, because it helps you stay fit! A big thank you to all of you for the inspiring posts and messages everyday. A big thank you to Sonia Kulkarni Aparna Bhingarkar D’souza and Sharmila Munj. Pinkathon gave me the motivation I needed :))

My health, happiness and state of mind are totally blissful. Thank you again
Swati Mukund

Like Kiran said I was also an athlete in college as I was actively into NCC and mountaineering. Mountaineering was my passion but after getting law degree and marriage everything changed n I was involved into looking after my household chores plus my practise as a lawyer. But after my second delivery I put on weight due to which I started having health problems like spondylitis, slip disc which is quite major as one of my disc is compressed. Last year my husband started running but it was not possible for me coz my daughter was in 12th .I started running since November 15.My main reason was to overcome my health problems and to build more stamina. Now running has again taken place in my life. At the time of running I am wholly with myself. That is the time when I can have conversation with the person in me and at that time I decide what I want to do and how. I have taken up running to find the person in me and it gives me happiness that now I am living my life as I wanted. Plus my friends in MRR group motivates all of us new comers also by giving positive vibes.
Manjiri Joglekar Joshi

Thank you Ram for tagging. Yes Running has changed my life forever. It has brought lot of calmness, peace and focus in me. Earlier my priorities were only Sunil and Rhea but now it is Sunil, Rhea and Running. My salute to men like Sunil who support and encourage their spouse into running. To me the day I run it’s a happy women’s day and this is possible only with the support of your spouse. Running for me is my “me time” .It’s been now 13 years of Running and it has helped me to gain a confidence to challenge myself every time. Your life is set when your children call you as role models. So hope to continue to inspire many more women runners and make them believe this YOU CAN DO IT.
Sangeeta Shetty

Thanks Manasi for tagging me. Running has started a new chapter in our lives! Feel super young with so many wonderful young new friends like you!
Vaijayanti Ingawale

I started running 7 years back because I had piled on lots of weight leaving me feeling not so good about myself, since I was pretty active in my college days. I was Miss MCC. And then life took such turns. I just forgot who I am, but no looking back since I started running …six years without training… Just rushing out after my kids left for school…doing some practice in the nearby park..but very very happy today that my hubby ran his first half marathon. This year, my son who is 14 also runs with us, so all happy happy.The energy at my home is electric, vibrant, it has touched not only me but my whole family feels WOW… Love you all
Preeti Shah

Running has created wonders in my life. I always had passion for running since my childhood but had a long list of priorities so actually couldn’t take any proper training or go ahead.
Year 2013 was the worst nightmare of my life. I had given up living. Deep depression as I was unwell for one entire year. I was not in position to walk 100 metres alone. I need help support to even walk. I used to tell my husband please don’t waste money over my sickness save these money for kids it will help them in future. That one year gave me lots of time to think and i thought of taking up running.
Year 2014 I did SCMM 6 kms dream run.
Year 2015 I did SCMM 21k
Year 2016 I did my first ever FULL MARATHON.

Since past two years I have taken up gyming twice a week.
RUNNING HAS GIVEN ME NEW LIFE, I HAVE CALMED DOWN AND GAINED GOOD STRENGTH. A big thank you to all who have supported me n helped me n advised me and of course my running partner Pawan Agarwal.

Love to be part of MRR. Special thanks to Punit Chandiwala who trained me for FM.
Falguni Vora

It’s made me more controlled over my emotions. I appreciate and embrace the chance of really becoming mindless and mindful at the same time by putting one foot in front of another. And i feel i write better after I have finished a run, because it gives my ideas and thoughts a chance to churn in my head… Happy Womens Day..!
Alka Kedia

Running has given me back my identity …. It’s now a way of life…gives me a high and clears my unwanted thoughts. Basically am happiest when I run!
Kiran Malani

Hai apna dil toh awara,
na jaane running sai kaab haara!

Honestly I’d just started out to collect money for ‘Run with Roshni’ but ego pushed me into SCMM 2015!

Had participated in Powai Run, 10Km, 2014 just to see ‘if I could, and managed it, with running sandwiched between longish walking bouts. Satisfied! End of running story… At least that’s what I thought.

But later that year, in November, when I was told that it’s dicey for someone my age, i bristled. Then experts cautioned that it was rather late to be even thinking about running a HM since the D day was barely 45 days to go and I’d not even started training.

Now, I have a problem, have had it since teenage- if I’m warned about some place being dangerous, I’ve just gotta go there, Myself, and find out, Myself, how dangerous!

That’s exactly what I did.

And as if that was not enough, went for the, Thane HM next month.

Here I must admit that an article in TOI and a chance meeting with the hero-couple of the write up, Sangeeta Shetty & Sunil Shetty strengthened my belief and off course inputs for moving beyond walking.

So I managed to complete two HM courses, sans injury.
But I wasn’t running, I was labouring, lumbering, and vacillating… To Run or not to Run.

By this time, I’d got to know Running buddy Manasi Samudra and the Mumbai Ultra had become the New ‘Impossible’

And true to self, I plunged again, Headlong!

Where on earth does this fountain of confidence emanate from?
Do you think Running does it to all of us?

Throws new challenges at us, then sits back and watches us strive…

Watch us burn, melt and mould ourselves into something/someone New…

Well it did so for me, I now fit into a lot of my Old clothes
Anupama Diddi

I started running in June 2013 as I wanted to take part in at least 1 half marathon (part of my bucket list you see). I finished one in October 2013 and I fell for running, hook line and sinker. There was no looking back. Running streamlined my life. I became more disciplined in my personal and professional life. Healthy eating was a habit but now it became more like a religion. Humbleness, camaraderie, vigor which became part of life due to running. Now I see my life much more richer and complete.. all thanks to running and my fellow runner friends.
Shilpa Bhansali

Running to me was an extension of my love for trekking & rock climbing & having been into sprinting & sports throughout school & college, this time around I got into running due to my daughter who was a sprinter & I used to take her 6 days a week every morning for her training.
Collectively trekking, rock climbing & running have given me the kind of fitness I never had earlier, running since 2011 by the end of 2014 & early 2015 I was fitter than ever before & achieved PB’s, when the turning point came…

…a week before SCMM came the blow, a severe almost crippling back pain struck (my lower back has always been my weak point having had earlier surgeries for fibroids), going back to my doc I was handed the news that I need to have a hysterectomy as the fibroid which was present since 3 years cannot be ignored any more as it had calcified & grown too large, I managed to do a slow run walk at SCMM.

I had to wait till April for my surgery & those 3 months I moved around with a constant back pain & a heat pad , every hour at some point I had to stop all movement like someone was holding back in a vice grip while I could feel the pumping in my back.

Come April & I finally went into surgery by which time I was pretty much mentally comfortable with the idea of this surgery & looking forward to being pain free. Unfortunately during the surgery the doc found complications with my large intestine & an additional tissue growth (thankfully benign) which had spread onto my lowest vertebrae, I came out pretty much strong but the next 5-6 days till I could eat & move around comfortably, my doc was on the edge worried that my intestine & backbone should not have been effected, my recovery was amazingly strong & smooth & the doc himself attributed it to my running & other physical activities due to which I could take the impact far better.

By the end of 2015 I had done 3 10km & 2 HM’s by January 2016, of course with very slow timings but who cares, reaching the finish line still brought tears to my eyes, to me it was like re-starting running.

I still have my weak days when my back troubles & I feel drained for no reason… I still can’t do a lot of core exercises, but running keeps me motivated & confident that I can get stronger slowly & surely. It was fantastic to hear my doc say ‘thank god for your running & trekking, I wish more of my female patients were into fitness’.
My 17 year old daughter was my biggest strength & am blessed with a loving family & awesome fantastic friends, thanks to all these people who stood by me & egged me on, on my low days
Happy running to all of you ! Apologies for this long post.
Rupal Shah

Running makes me unleash my inner champion and smash my limits. It makes me a better person. It’s my meditation and my Prayer. It’s my expression of self love. It’s made me a calmer person, more patient and loving and a better listener. It’s also made me Happier and given me so many new friends. Also- I would like to share this that I have been battling PCOD since a couple of years now. Apart from a lot of physical discomfort, it also gives me unwanted weight. But it’s only after I started running that I finally felt in control of my body instead of it being the other way round. I can manage my weight better, even when am not able to work out. And Yes- Running has helped me inspire my Family members and friends as well. I have a lot of friends who took up running or any form of physical activity after I did. Thank you to each one of you. And a bigger thanks to the Women runners, you all inspire me
Amrita Saraf Rai

Running keeps me sane since 6 years now….am told I smile a lot more when I run regularly. And most importantly I can eat what I want, my kids love the medals and I see people at work bowled over when I talk about 21kms. All of the above make me smile even more…even the crying after I ran the SCMM 2015 HM with ankle implants post a triple fracture.. I wake up at 5 am….everyday, even when I don’t run and love it. Guess this relationship with running is for keeps
Seema Wazir

Running has changed my life, and surely for good. I gain so much weight after pregnancy, so started small walks and then easy jogs with my hubby. The child born, I came to know was a special child. It was very difficult to accept that. “Why me?” I used question. All my energy was consumed by her, and desperately needed a space. And running gave me that space. By running, I could be more attentive to the child and could feel calmness.
When I was not a runner, I was just a housewife. But now, I got an identity. Relatives, friends know me as a runner.

The satisfaction, I get by finding my own time is immense. I feel very fortunate that my family always encourage me to run, especially my husband.
Deepa Katrodia

Seven years into running…. and running has helped me in so many ways ! Earlier it was work work work ! Now it’s work run family! I have learned to live for myself…. enjoy the me time I get and have got an extended running family too! Though I’m yet to run with MRR, which will surely happen in few months! Also every time a non- runner asks a question what pleasure do you get when you run? And I say I don’t think I can express in words you feel the experience and probably not question this again! Running has given me a different identity besides being an educator!
Hetal Thakkar

Though I do not have any inspirational story to share but over an year into running and I feel like an upgraded version of myself. Running has made me calmer, healthier, happier….I feel I am better equipped to deal with the challenges life throws at me.

Now it’s a friend for life…a friend for keeps
Pankhuri Warange

No story yet Ram… just a series of incidents which brought me to running out my frustrations……. my story is a masterpiece in the making and i am thankful for the strong friends in my life (most of them runners) who are not allowing me to give up… and masterpieces do take time ..sometimes a lifetime

There are such amazing women around who are strong and totally inspiring…they have beaten all odds and are just not giving up …and i draw inspiration from everybody…happy to have met this group…. and am really happy to be running towards and not away from things now a days
Jenifer Dwivedi

Running is my me time..I am happier, healthier (better haemoglobin counts, better immunity against seasonal asthma), more energetic, look younger( icing on the cake ) etc. etc….. So no complaints. I look forward to my next run. So no stories just a way of life and AM LOVING IT.

Also I realised because I had no expectations from running that I am happy doing it. I have got many small tangible results…It’s like life.
Kalika Batra