Ready, get set, go: India is up and walking


On 13 December 2018, it was minus 20 ranges Celsius inside the Antarctic, and the wind sits back made it appear even chillier. Six inches of a sparkling blizzard the day earlier than had made it hard to walk even a few steps, not to mention run. However, fifty-five-year-old Dhananjay Yellurkar had exceptional plans. Having trained for a whole year for the Antarctic Ice Marathon, he disregarded the brutal weather and plodded on to finish the second loop of 10. Five kilometers (km), with two new circles closing.

Wisely, he did now not dismiss the advice of the race medical doctor, who recorded inordinately excessive blood stress and asked him to relaxation among loops. By this time, he felt his jaw tighten, his speech turned into a slurring, and the voices in his head have been screaming for him to prevent. Five out of a total of fifty participants had already opted out at this 1/2 marathon level. That’s while the recollections of surviving a heart bypass surgery seven years ago got here flooding returned. These emotions gave him renewed electricity, and he drove forward.

When he finally crossed the end line, he could barely carry his fingers in celebration but had a grin on his face, understanding he turned into on route to being some of the first within the global to have run marathons on all seven continents, after coronary heart surgical procedure.

Where all of it began


Like most other Indians, Dhananjay’s adventure in marathon strolling started at the Mumbai Marathon. In the original edition of the race in 2004, there were 800 registered runners for the total, and 3,500 for the 1/2 marathon. This year there have been 8,414 runners for the overall, and 15,457 for the 1/2 marathon. Before 2004, I suppose it might be honest to mention that most Indians could no longer understand that a marathon is forty-two.2km lengthy, and would surely now not contemplate overlaying that distance walking.

Legend has it that a Greek soldier, Pheidippides, ran from the plains of Marathon to Athens to announce that the Greeks had defeated the Persians in 490 BC. He ran forty two.2km, which have become the official distance of a “marathon.”

Anil Singh is the founder and coping with the director of Procam International Pvt. Ltd, the promoter of the Mumbai Marathon. He’s built like a rugby player, which he is, and isn’t always used to taking no for an answer. As a spectator of the London Marathon in 2003, he had an epiphany. He saw 40,000 humans of all shapes and sizes participate within the race, and vowed to convey the same enjoy to India. He informed me that “until the cease of 2003, there was the simplest one non-timed distance jogging event. Today, there are over 1 million registered runners for over 1, four hundred timed occasions in India, and it’s a $four hundred-million enterprise”. Another benevolent spin-off is ₹400 crore raised for extra than six hundred non-governmental corporations using the four flagships going for walks occasions of Procam International by myself.

Why people run marathons

I am reminded of the traditional solution George Mallory gave while asked why he was so keen on mountain climbing Mount Everest — “Because it’s there.” The solution makes no experience to most people, but to all and sundry who have ever tried to run a marathon, it’s extraordinarily clean to understand.

Rashesh Shah, chairman and leader government officer of Edelweiss, has been jogging marathons for ten years now. You could believe that the head of a enormous finance corporation could be swimming with numbers, 24×7. However, before the sun rises the handiest quantity he’s taking into consideration is 5.38 minutes, which is the pace he needs to maintain to complete a half marathon in under two hours. Rashesh stated one of the motives he runs is, “the social component. You meet humans outside your commercial enterprise circles, from all walks of existence. Running additionally permits me to suit workout in my tour time table. When you run inside the early hours of the morning, you get to look a metropolis in a one of a kind light”.

The recognition of going for walks has grown in all segments during the last decade, but its growth within the company section has been exponential. Today, on the start line of maximum marathons, you may find a disproportionate number of CXOs belonging to most of the massive corporates throughout u. S. A.

Of path, exercise is widely recognized to be beneficial for fitness, and it stands to reason that the extra you do, the additional blessings. That’s true, up to a restrict. Research has shown that, beyond a factor, you reach a plateau and there may be no also a health benefit. This plateau is visible anywhere among 2,000-3,500 calories expenditure according to week in a real hobby, which roughly interprets to 30-50km of taking walks or strolling according to week.

In reality, some research has even proven a few possible damages in “over-exercise.” Let me hasten to add that this whole concept of excessive exercising being bad for you is a new idea, with minimal facts to be had at the gift. In any case, immoderate in those instances are normal folks that interact in ultra-marathon training, and 12 months after 12 months are running more than 100km in keeping with the week. In standard, those athletes are extremely healthful; however, questions are being raised at the cardiac consequences of such excessive volumes of schooling. In other words, there are truly huge fitness blessings in running. However, there can be no “brought” benefits in walking very long distances.

The perfect equalizer

One of the precise functions of the marathon is that it’s far the most straightforward wearing occasion within the world where you’ll be able to run with the arena’s first-rate inside the same race. It offers marathoners bloodless comfort to recognize that when they may be struggling on the road, so are the elites, besides at an extraordinary tempo. Over the years, the number of ladies taking ongoing for walks has multiplied substantially, and in marathons in India today, approximately a third of the runners are girls.

One of the benefits of going for walks as a workout is that it allows you to attain an excessive stage of fitness, even as putting in fewer hours per week in comparison to decrease-intensity activities. Sheran Mehra, 44, is government director of DBS Bank and is merely short of completing the six first marathons throughout the globe—Boston, London, Chicago, Berlin, Tokyo, and New York. According to her, going for walks maintains her “focussed and balanced at the same time as juggling a couple of priorities of being a mother to a teen, and an advertising and marketing expert.”

Like many others, I used to mention, “running is the brand new golf,” however, that became while it changed into restricted to the metro towns. I turned into speak to Pitchumani Venkataraman, or Venkat as he is acknowledged in walking circles, and he advised me that “some years in the past handiest the large cities had marathons, now there may be a demand for a going for walks occasion, in a brand new town each weekend.”

Venkat’s is a thrilling tale. He used to run numerous BPOs until he had a coronary heart bypass surgical treatment at the age of 57, after which he took up lengthy-distance going for walks with a passion. After jogging more than 20 marathons, he decided to convert his love into his business, and installation YouTooCanRun.Com, a registration platform and an enabler for distance activities. According to him, Aurangabad hosts more than a dozen significant activities, Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu has two, and several other locations, for which we might need to look up on a map, host events on an everyday foundation.

Safety worries

Dr. Rakesh Sinha turned into a well-known laparoscopic health practitioner and gynecologist in Mumbai who frequently ran the marathon. In December 2016, he collapsed on a training run, and sadly passed away, due to a cardiac arrest. Every time, there may be an incident like this, it reasons excellent situation a number of the family participants of runners.

In 2012, a had a look at became posted within the New England Journal of Medicine, titled Cardiac Arrest at some point of Long-Distance Running Races. This checked out the occurrence of cardiac arrests in the marathon and 1/2-marathon races in the US from 2000 to 2010 and blanketed 10.Nine million runners. In that whole period, there have been fifty-nine sudden cardiac arrests, of which forty-two had been deadly. While statistically, these numbers are minimal; every loss of life is devastating to the circle of relatives. To reduce this threat one wishes to attend to the pre-participation health check, paying heed to caution signs and symptoms even as going for walks, and suitable scientific facilities to be had in the course of races.

The Badwater one hundred thirty-five, calls itself “the arena’s hardest foot race,” and for a suitable reason. The race covers 135 miles (217km) non-forestall from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney, in California, US. The place to begin is at Badwater Basin, Death Valley, which marks the bottom elevation in North America at eighty-five meters (m) undersea degree. The race finishes at 2,530m, the very best factor inside the contiguous US. Death Valley is an ominous name for the start point of a race, and more so since it’s run in temperatures exceeding 50 tiers Celsius. To make subjects worse, one has to pay thousands of bucks to participate, and entry is “with the aid of selection best.”

Raj Vadgama is the lone Indian within the fray for this year’s event on 15 July. Raj, 52, is an indoors dressmaker, who like many others had now made lengthy-distance jogging his passion and his career. After doing his first 100km run on a warm August day in Mumbai in 2011, Raj became obsessed on masking even longer distances, culminating in his recognition at the Badwater a hundred thirty-five this yr. Like Raj, there are some thousand runners across India for whom the 42.2km of the marathon isn’t hard enough, and have now entered the world of ultramarathons.

India has passed through an epidemiological transition a decade in the past, and now chronic illnesses including heart disorder, stroke, diabetes, and most cancers are the leading reasons of loss of life, rather than infections in the past. Most of these situations have a physical state of no activity as one of the primary hazard elements. Hopefully, as more humans get “infected” using the running worm, we can see a development in lengthy-time period fitness and a decline in these health conditions.

How you should get started out

For most of the people, the thought of running even one kilometer (km) is daunting, let alone a marathon. The excellent information is that step one to any successful running programme is walking.

Begin by way of on foot for a half-hour. Gradually increase the pace and time until you’re capable of cover a distance of five to 6km in an hour. Keep doing this till it feels secure.

When you’re cozy taking walks swiftly and want to step up the tempo, really upload in a few quick runs into your 60-minute walk.

As you get greater awareness of running, increase the strolling segments steadily. Eventually, you ought to be capable of the run for 40 minutes regularly.

Today, walking companies are mushrooming all over u. S . A. The largest group, Striders, now trains over five,000 runners unfold out over thirteen cities throughout us of a.

I spoke to the group’s co-founder, Praful Uchil, who on a lighter observe instructed me that “walking has gotten so popular throughout the cities that inside the early morning even the road dogs make way for the runners.”

Aashish Contractor is director of sports medicinal drug and rehabilitation, Sir H.N. Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre. He has additionally been clinical director of Mumbai Marathon, 2004-14, and is a 3: 40-hour complete marathoner.

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