January 7, 2017 2:01:38 am
For Milind Sandhane, a 59-year-old banker, running was a way out from the monotony of a sedentary job. And for Dr Madhuri Doiphode, a 42-year-old geneticist undergoing chemotherapy to beat breast cancer, running gave a renewed sense of confidence. The runners’ community in Pune is increasing rapidly and as many as 3,000 Puneites will participate in the 14th edition of the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon, to be held on January 15.
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The Mumbai Marathon has a total prize fund of US$3,84,000 and has been among the leading races in India, since it was launched in 2004. Almost 42,000 runners, participating in six different race categories, will take to the streets of Mumbai that day.
People from all walks of life participate in the event, and the runners include Bollywood celebrities, sportspersons and others.
“I am really looking forward to the marathon,” said Sandhane, who decided to quit his bank job three years ago and actively take up running.
“I was getting joint pains and decided to join a Pune running group. I have already participated in so many marathons,” he said.
For Dr Doiphode, running meant a new lease of life as she fought breast cancer. “I used to run earlier also, but the shock of being diagnosed with cancer was too much. I thought I would never run again. It was extremely tough to make a comeback as one can slip into depression. Despite better medication to treat cancer, the side effects persist. Running released all my happy hormones and I was back on the track,” said Dr Doiphode, a mother of two.
Nikhil Shah, one of the coordinators of the Pune running group, which was set up in 2010 to encourage people to avail the benefits of long-distance running, will be participating in the marathon for the 12th time.
“I will continue to be a pacer and in this marathon, I will be pacing five hours 30 minute bus,” said Shah.
He explained that in a full 42-kilometre marathon, some runners choose to run a ‘Pacing Bus’; they commit to run at a pace that will help fellow runners finish the race in exactly that time.
Many new runners make the mistake of running too fast in the beginning, then slowing down and getting demotivated towards the end.
That’s why running in a group, also called a ‘bus’, helps, said Shah. The ‘bus’ is led by a senior runner who has run the distance a number of times, and runners in the group can motivate each other, he said. Many runners sing and shout slogans, and this motivates new runners to cover their longest and fastest distances, said Shah, who is the champion of the Konkan Beach Marathon and the Kundalika River Marathon.
Priti Arwade, 40, a former engineer and a mother of two school-going children, is among the two women pacers.
“I have completed several full marathons and keep challenging myself. Every month last year, I completed two half marathons,” said Arwade.
Another avid running enthusiast is Dr Baban Dolas, a 43-year-old ophthalmologist who won the Deccan Cliffhanger relay, a 647-km ultra cycling race from Pune to Goa. “Participating in the 42-km marathon at Mumbai encourages my cross-training and is important as I also want to compete in the Ironman Triathlon event,” said Dolas, who has also completed the gruelling 1,200-km Paris-Brest- Paris cycling event.
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