Comrade Vaibhav Andhare – Disheartened and crippled with anxiety due to overweight… Running helped overcome that

Every journey begins with the first step. In November 2013, I got my dose of motivation after I saw “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag”. I put on my trainers and hit the open road, it wasn’t a particularly long or fast run – more a slow jog to be specific – but it was significant. It was the beginning of my journey towards recovery – and I was literally running for my life.

There were number of events before 2013 that led me towards melancholy and despair, my work life balance, or lack thereof compounded the issue. Workplace stress and long hours only added to the trouble, it was a vicious cycle. I was crippled with anxiety and worrying about everything.

Meeting Dr. Amit Samarth in January 2014 was a turning point in my life. Rigorous training of 2 hours daily with him or with the group helped me shape my body and move from 92 to 77Kg. Gradually picking up speed and distance I registered for Satara Marathon in 2015 – my first marathon, many people raised their eyebrows as to why begin with Satara, why not on flat roads, but that’s me or my stubborn attitude. This is how my journey of Marathons began and since then I have completed 12 Half/1Full and a Comrade. In fact I was advised by Dr. Samarth to take at least two more years to do Comrades after completing my first Full Marathon in January 2017. The spark to participate in comrades was ignited by one of my friends who has done Comrades couple of times earlier.

It was tough training for Comrades initially due to work, family and social commitments but then again my willful approach came into sight and that’s how the training started. Thankfully I had the company of like minded friends viz Dr. Sanjay Jaiswal/Rajendra Jaiswal/Amit Thatte who also had registered for Comrades with them I  never felt the pain or cramps that we get during long runs as their wittiness and motivation ensured I was never down.

My training had a painstaking schedule starting from February to May 2017 covering 1200 Kms including the intricate hill runs of Pachmarhi/Silwasa/Lonavala, at times I had to cover my training schedule at night due to my business commitments and also had to lead a much disciplined life with appropriate food and rest.

Come day Comrades – my Inspiration and enthusiasm was high, I was confident since I had the back up of my conscientious training, planning and practice.  I was very emotional and excited on the race day, however during the first few hours it was difficult to run because of the crowd of 20000 runners and all my planning seemed to fall short of strategies. Due to time lapse once I had completed 40 Kms, mission Comrades suddenly started looking impossible. This is where again my obstinate attitude got the best out of me… I’m not here to loose, I’m not here to quit… the expectations of my family, friends and well wishers are very high, I’m not going to thwart them, all these thoughts, spectators cheering and above all  to do it for INDIA gave light to my fire and Mission Comrades was accomplished in 11.49 Hrs. It was a dream come true moment for me, tears flowing from my eyes expressing my biggest achievement and INDIAN Flag in my hand giving me sense of pride – I became Comrade Vaibhav Andhare. Rightly said by someone during Comrades “This is the Race which separates Men from Boys”

Thank you, my family, Dr. Amit Samarth, OCR and Miles & Milers… without your support it would have been difficult.

Dr. Sunita Dhote

“Sports give me a chance to live life, childlike – Bindass” says Sunita, a sports freak! You will find her from 5.30 to 7.00 am enjoying swimming, cycling or running. Dr Sunita, 44, disciplined daughter of IAF father, is professor in
Shri Ramdeobaba College of Engineering and Management. She came into long distance running in April, 2015 when she joined Orange City Runners, Nagpur. According to her the group gives her the pleasure of Run followed by relaxing Chai & Chat along with a ready mix recipe to happy life. “Running has made me explore my potentials”, says Sunita, “I am full of energy thorough out the day, and I feel energetic while taking classes as also while dealing with my home affairs.

Sunita is a National Gold medalist (champion) in High Board, 3 meter and 1 meter Spring Board diving (swimming pool diving) since 2012 and a State champion in 100 meter butterfly swimming as well.

She represented India in Montreal, CANADA at 15th FINA (Federation Internationale de Natation) World Masters Championships, Swimming in
July – August, 2014 in 1 meter and 3 meter Spring Board diving, she was placed 9th.

Sunita has created an Asia Book of Records in Nov, 2014 by travelling from Nagpur to Pondicherry, covering 1412 kms and 5 States in six days. She was conferred with honorary PhD by World Record University, for the same (Solo Cycling Record – Female category). She is an official adjudicator of Asia Book of Records and India Book of Records.

Recently in October 2016, she finished Half Ironman Triathlon at Hyderabad.

“Take up any sport and enjoy it, you will enjoy life with guaranteed good health” says Dr Sunita who also loves trekking the Himalayas.

Rajendra Jaiswal

A very remarkable person – Rajendra, who at one point couldn’t even walk properly and climb stairs because of knee problems, has turned the table and showed the world that nothing is Impossible if one is determined. Infrastructure developer by profession, Rajendra Jaiswal started running in July 2015, an ardent fitness enthusiast he was sweating out in the Gym before taking up running. He had problems in both the knees and was suggested knee joints replacement by local as well as Mumbai Doctors, during such time he met Dr Anant Joshi in Mumbai who suggested him a shorter route and a longer route. The shorter route was to go in for Surgery and then start walking, the longer route included exercises like leg extension, leg curl etc. gradually followed by running. Rajendra took the longer route, commenced leg exercises followed by short/slow runs and subsequently he was suggested to join OCR by one of the existing members.

In August, 2015 he did a 10 k in Hyderabad and the journey of a runner started. Since then Rajendra has been consistently practicing running, cycling & fitness regime. His disciplined practice has seen emergence of a professional athlete, Rajendra has in a span of 18 months finished 10 half and two full marathons with 200 Kms brevet and now preparing for Comrades in June, 2017. He has full support of his family with on-the-field support of Dr Sanjay Jaiswal and OCR members. Rajendra is motivational speaker and HR trainer who loves to travel. He feels ‘never give up’ should be the attitude of every runner. In his own words, “जो सफ़र की शुरुआत करते है, वो मंजील को पार करते है, बस एक बार चलने का हौसला रखिये, क्योंकि आप जैसे इंसानों का रास्ते भी इंतजार करते है!

Sudha Gandhi

Veteran Star of Orange City Runners, Sudha, at 63, simply enjoys being on the streets of Nagpur for 3-4 hours every morning. She has had a long drawn career of more than 27 years with Archies Gallery, being a florist and a wedding decorator. When she realised that she has lot of time with her, she decided to give that to the activity of running.

Sudha prefers to run and do workouts all by herself. A disciplined, dedicated runner, she believes in slow running and cover long distances.  She has finished 10 half and two full marathons in the last 18 months. Sudha started running at the age of 60 in the year 2014 and has been a podium finisher at SCMM Full Marathon as well as Goa River Marathon, Vizag, Bangalore, Nagpur half marathons. “Continue running, it keeps you fit and keep you going even if you have cholesterol issues”, says Sudha. “You should be patient, disciplined, dedicated and persistent in training”, advises Sudha to young ladies.

Dr Sanjay Jaiswal

An Eye Surgeon by profession, a staunch believer of simple and normal diet, at 49, he has been keeping himself fit and healthy by hitting the gym regularly for years. He also loves to swim and took to running in 2015 to add another sport for fitness. Pedaling slowly Dr Jaiswal commenced on slow pace running all by himself. He finished his first half marathon in August, 2015 in Hyderabad. Gaining confidence, he realised that combination of run-cycle-swim spread in a week with muscle toning exercise in gym is the best a man can do to achieve balanced fitness throughout the year. Done that, Dr Sanjay went on rigorous practice, fully dedicated and disciplined one year of sweating saw him finish 18 half marathons in a short span of 18 months. He is the only Tri-athlete from Orange City Runners to have finished the Half Ironman which was awarded to him in August, 2016 at Hyderabad. He then finished his first Mid Night Marathon in Bangalore on 11th Dec, 2016. Dr Jaiswal is now focused on Comrades in South Africa in June, 2017 before which he intends to do full marathon in Dubai in Feb’ 2017.

According to him, “Triathlon and Marathon are two different events. All swimmers should try Triathlon; it is an endurance test and also tests your limitations”. “No athlete should take tension of a race ever, in fact he should ‘Train more & Race less’. Regular training is very important; consistency of training should be on top priority” adds Dr Jaiswal and concludes by quoting “How many years you will run is more important than how many marathons in a year”.

Dr Jaiswal derives satisfaction, fitness by running, he has full support of his wife and children in his running endeavor. In fact his son accompanied  him in Hyderabad & Satara half marathons! He likes to accept new challenges in different weather of various cities and enjoys traveling to wildlife parks particularly to South Africa to follow his passion for wild life photography.