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