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…..my 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.