Runner Of The Month 2017

Jetane Gopwani – (ROTM December 2017)

” Running is a Life Changing Word ”

I was never very fond of sports during my school days, I used to go for morning walk sometimes, however it was in Jan 2015 when I saw Bindesh Paul & Mitesh Rambhia preparing for SCMM 2015 . The first thing that came to my mind was- How could someone Run 21 Kms?
Soon I too was inspired to start running since then I have never looked back, as I have started enjoying it . I joined Orange City Runners under the Guidence of Dr Amit Samarth, Dr Neena Sahu & Dr Mohammad Soheb and I was soon transformed to a Runner.
I ran my first half marathon on 30 th Aug 2015 at Hyderabad, I was glad to complete it in 2 Hrs & got my first medal . Since I travel a lot for my business, I started making runner friends in different cites . In last 2 and half years, I have taken part in various Half Marathons, 10K Runs, Night Marathon, Duathalon and 25 Kms Trail Run in various cities like Hyderabad , Mumbai , Noida, Jaipur , Amravati , Matheran , Ladakh , Satara & Nagpur . My best timing was at Noida & Nagpur having completed in 1 hrs & 53 mins for Half Marathon and 54 mins for a 10 K . My next target is Tata Mumbai Full Marathon on 21st Jan 2018, my Running ability has inspired my wife, son and many of my family members and friends to start running. Because of Running I have made many running friends in different cities of India. I had problems of Spondylitis & Varicose veins, but today I feel Fit & Healthy.
From the bottom of my heart , I wish to thank my trainers Dr Neena Sahu & Dr Soheb for this magical transformation in me , my wife who works hard to support me in my diet , my family members & my parents for their blessings & support .
Running has changed my life & has given me a wonderful family of runners .
Keep Running, Keep Smiling , Keep Rocking !!!
O C R Rocks

Ilyas Murtuzapurwala – (ROTM  November 2017)

Think you’re too old to start running? Or too out of shape? You can look at me for inspiration 😉

I have been a sports person right from my school days, I had played Tennis at the University Level, however I started running in my late forties.

I always thought that running was one of the worst things-it was used as ‘punishment’ during Tennis practice and the hill intervals I was forced to do during off season were just terrible. No one was more surprised than me when I, years later in life, suddenly got out for a run. So why do I run? I run, because without running I feel lost. I run because it is my meditation, my therapy and my precious me-time. But it is also my biggest passion, pure joy, a way for myself to see my own strengths and a great way to explore my surroundings wherever I go for run.

I started long run as a  fitness routine suggested by my friend Mr. Mohammad Naseem. Later on being persuaded by Satish Sardaji, I joined OCR & started participating in Marathons. In 2015 I did my first Half Marathon and there’s no looking back since then… so far I have done 8 half marathons which includes the tough ones like Satara and Ladakh and  1 full marathon in Mumbai. “Running has reintroduced myself to me”.

My advice for Beginners to take it easy, gradually increase time and intensity of load while seeking Expert guidance for specific goals, patience is also required for long term benefits of Running or any kind of sport and my immediate target is to complete TMM in 4.30 Hrs in January 2018….

Dr. Ketaki Marodkar – (ROTM – October 2017)

As olympic gold medallist Jesse Owens rightly says, “We all have dreams. In order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an aweful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort.” Running not only inculcated all these beautiful qualities into me but also taught me patience, gratitude and most importantly bestowed upon me the gift of some remarkable friends. What started as “just give it a try” sports for me, has become an addiction today. Yes, I am a running-addict ☺!

Looking back, although during my school days, I managed to find a place in the school badminton and basketball teams, but during my MBBS and MD days, almost 10-12 years just slipped away without a mere mention of sports. Soon while handling a full-time job, marriage and kids I got the wake-up call one day when I started panting just after climbing a flight of hospital stairs. It was then that I decided to join a gym and one of my gym-mates, a runner himself, introduced me to “Orange city runners”.

Joining OCR turned out to be a great decision when I started attending the perfectly-planned hill training, speed runs, running drills and endurance run sessions under two highly trained physiotherapist trainers. Run not only relieved me of all my profession-related stress but the gain in physical strength gave me a whole new perspective on my body. It was after a podium finish in my first ever 10 k, that I knew I was hooked and soon registered for the Satara hill ultra-marathon. When the route photograph started making me rethink about my decision, my running friends helped me in hill-training and motivated me to complete it with ease giving a tremendous boost to my confidence. Soon I completed my second half marathon, improving my personal time by 20 minutes, achieving my first HM podium finish.

The trainers of our group, Dr. Neena Sahu and Dr. Mohammad Soheb, both experts in sport-training, take efforts painstakingly, to improve each runner’s individual performance and also take care of their injuries and making them run stress-free. With their motivation, I now aim to complete my next target of running full marathon. To embark upon a training schedule aimed at FM, one requires a solid support team which I am blessed to have in the form of my family, super-supportive husband and caring friends. Though it sounds cliché, as a reply to all the non-runners who often ask me how I find time to run I make a use of the following quote:

                    “If you really want to do something,

                      you’ll  find a way.

                     If you don’t,

                    You’ll find an excuse!!!”

    Keep Running, Keep Smiling, Keep Fit!

Shivkumar RaoThe Logistics Specialist (ROTM – September 2017)

I am not an avid cyclist, but just a recreational runner who has run a few half marathons over the last 3 years. I must confess that I was never an athlete in my younger days and the desire to gift myself a marathon medal on my 50th was the only driving force, which made me run the Bengaluru Marathon in 2015.  I am telling you this because; you really don’t need to be an athlete, but passionate with a strong desire to take up such adventures.

The roots or the foundation of this expedition was laid during a casual conversation with my friend Dr. Rajesh Singhvi, that’s how I came to know about the Manali – Leh Cycling Expedition, which he had taken up a few years back. Being impulsive, I immediately hopped into the idea of Manali-Leh Cycling and also for the Ladakh Marathon (Both back to back events), without realizing that I had cycled max for 40 kms at a stretch and had never been to such high altitude locations for any sporting adventure.

However, the preparations started in right earnest with my group of friends – Manish Bhati, Parag Paranjpe, Dr. Abhay Kelkar and Sachin Palewar.

Our cycling practice mostly involved Seminary Hill Exit repeats to get outfitted to take up those challenging climbs to the 5 passes.  2-3 months of moderate practice and I was geared for the mountain biking adventure which takes you from the green valleys of manali to the mountain desert of Ladakh.

We had planned to complete the expedition in 9 days. However, that wouldn’t  allow me any rest before the Ladakh marathon. Thankfully we managed to complete the trip in 8 days by cycling more on some of the days and finished in time.  In these 8 days, we cycled for 500 kms gaining an elevation of nearly 10,000 metres while crossing the 5 passes of Rohtang, Baralacha La, Nakeela La, Lachung La & Tanglang La.

This is a dream route for cyclists despite challenges of high altitude, freezing temperatures, uncertain weather and long stretches of uphill winding roads.

Getting together with my group of runner friends on marathon day was of course a feeling of getting home for me. Completing the half marathon at Ladakh was icing on the cake to this 10 day journey.

My sincere thanks to all my runner friends in OCR who constantly motivated and encouraged me to take up this adventure and our trainer Mrs. Neena Sahu for the acupressure to make me run at Ladakh.

Sachin Mulani – If I can Run, Anyone can…. (ROTM – August 2017)

Having said this repeatedly at the risk of maybe sounding fake or modest, I feel this is as true as it gets. Though I have always been chubby, and felt drawn to outdoors since childhood, trying my hands on almost everything but did not stick to anything. I always had the enthusiasm of being upbeat about cycling, gym workouts, swimming and outdoor activities.

Due to occupational hazard (I’m in retail business) I didn’t get much time to exercise, to add to further woes I had put on lot of weight as well owing to my fondness of food. However couple of years back during one of my casual runs with my friend Akash, I met Amit and Shashank who impelled me to initiate training and start running marathons. What started post that was a casual “give it a shot” activity which in turn became a way of life. The first year was tough as it always ought to be in case you launch or begin anything new.

I ran my maiden Half Marathon in 2014 (SCM Mumbai) and completing that as per my projected time was highly encouraging. This acted as a catalyst to instill running regularly, gradually I started enjoying long runs and there was no looking back.

Running is my stress buster, mood lifter and detox; it helps me break through the monotony of sedentary lifestyle. I believe Marathon Running is not only physical but needs mental strength as well. Once you cross the finish line it charges you both physically and mentally. Running also gives you a lot to treasure, especially, the runner friends with whom I share a great camaraderie, who constantly encourage and push me for constant improvisation. Also not to miss the most coveted Guinness World Record certificate which I received after completion of Satara Marathon.

Most of my non runner friends keep saying that running is a fad and hence everyone wants to do it, to which I always reply “get on this wagon my friend and you will see how life changing result it brings to your mind and body”.

I would like to pay gratitude to Dr. Neena Sahu and Dr. Mohammad Soheb for their training, unvarying support and guidance. Thank you Trainers!! Last but not the least I would also like to be grateful to my wife for all the support, for times when she literally kicked me out of bed in the initial months of training and invariable thrust to drop weight.

Signing off with Shiamak Davar’s quote – “Have feet, can dance”: I say, Have legs, can RUN!  :)

Gagan Paul – Create & Construct (ROTM – July 2017)

A lifelong walking enthusiast, about 2 years back I was questioned by a friend on my goal being unrealized, that was exactly a month before turning 50. It was adequate to ignite the ember in me.

My first try at running – running a minute and walking 2 minutes, increasing intervals, ran my maiden Half Marathon 6 months later, kindly guided, nurtured by Dr. Neena Sahu and Dr. Soheb and boosted by OCR’s enthusiastic/knowledgeable/passionate runners who would spring in a revelation every day.

Tagged is the Sonnet of my emotions

“It doesn’t matter how fast or how far, it doesn’t matter if today is your first day, or if you’ve been running for twenty years, there is no test to pass and no license to earn no membership to acquire…just run, run to run away from stress, to see the sun rise, in the pouring rain, aimlessly to clear your head, fast or slow, short or long, happy or sad, alone, with a friend or a stranger, for yourself , for a lifetime, for no reason or a finish line, to de-stress or unwind, to untangle or completely break the whorls of my mind to run with my heart not my legs working up a sweat, to look forward to getting up to prove to myself, no  one else,  impossible is a dare not a scare
to start slower to finish stronger, faster to push myself to test my mind me, the road and nature’s kind, my best runs are on the days I did not feel like running which is exactly why I went, somehow completely exhausting myself is the most relaxing part of my day!! no grief is left at the end I’m so spent running my best each day.

Running is so much a part of me now, that the day seems incomplete if I haven’t run, at least thrice a week, it’s like a feast, a festival , a celebration of sorts, an adventure , a beginning, an end, a passion, an obsession competing with myself , to better my own records, an unparalleled joy each morning to get up for……

D K Moon – Armed Forces to Banking (ROTM – July 2017)

Running had never been part of my life, though people constantly used to assume that I have been fit and healthy being into Armed Forces, however to tell you the truth I always struggled with my weight and my affection for eating – it’s just in this year that I have lost about 3 Kgs.

It was last year that I determined I no longer wanted to subsist in such a state and decided to find a way to work out without hating it or getting obsessive about how many calories I was burning. When I found running and cycling, I no longer counted my calories, instead I focused solely on becoming a better and stronger runner.

The first couple of weeks were very difficult for me, my breathing was erratic, my calves burned after only 30 seconds of running and I wondered how I would ever get up to 1Km. Most training plans for running last 12 weeks, I took one month to embark on my journey of Marathons. I started running from August 2016 and did my maiden Marathon – Satara Hill Marathon in September 2016.

Before the race I worried if other runners would hoot at me, think that I didn’t belong here, but of course none of that happened – I’m glad I didn’t let those thoughts hold me back. After crossing the finish line for the first time I was truly bitten by the running bug! I loved the sense of accomplishment and pride I felt at doing something so hard, and I decided I wanted to run longer races.

In July 2017 I successfully completed the Matheran Marathon – all 25 Kms.  It was a tough day, I struggled through the second half mightily and I was disappointed with my finishing time of over 3.08Hrs as I knew I was capable of better than that.

I have no idea how and what prompted me to start running and how much I would grow to love it and how much it would change me as a person. I no longer feel overweight and lazy, I feel strong and full of life.  Even on the days when I have a disappointing run or race I know that I’ve come so far since day 1 as a total beginner.

Knowing I can complete a Marathon reminds me that I’m tough both mentally and physically. I’m a completely different person now than I was in July 2016 when I was struggling to get over my eating disorder and weight.

Staying Fit & Healthy is the only Motto – Hariharan Iyer (ROTM – June 2017)

I have been sports lover since childhood days, football was my passion and I use to participate in most of the school and district level football tournaments in Nagpur. However due to family constraints not only I had to give up on my football shoes but also pick up job at a very early age of my life and gave up on all sports or sports related activities from the year 1995.

Over a period of time, during one of those regular checkups, I was shaken up by my family Doctor about being overweight, that was a wakeup call which prompted me to start regular walks on the Trails of Seminary Hills, this continued for the next 8 months till I went for trekking to Hampta Pass (Himachal Pradesh) in July 2015. Post which I made up my mind to stay fit and to continue with some sort of sports activity. One of my friends suggested that I start doing marathons; however the thought of running long distance sent shivers to my spine.

During one of my regular morning walks, I met Dr. Neena Sahu and on her advice I started training with her. My first marathon participation was in 2015 were I took part in 6.5 Kms category; I was delighted after the completion and felt confident about long distance running. Dr. Neena Sahu & Dr. Soheb steered for me regular practice sessions  and impelled me to join OCR, I feel now I’m on the right track and also my fear of doing long distance runs has faded out.

With the support and encouragement of OCR and both Doctors I have completed 5 half Marathons with my best timing coming in ADHM – November 2016 which I accomplished in 2.05Hrs. Running has helped me to stay calm and it has enabled me to control Hypertension.

My advice to fellow runners – Harder you run, the stronger you get… Stay Fit – Stay Healthy – Keep Running

 “The beauty of Running is its lack of discrimination, anyone can participate” – Kalyani Satija, ( ROTM –  May 2017)

If you would’ve told me 3 Years ago that I’d one day run a half marathon, I would have laughed on your face. Running as a sport alone used to be something I despised. Since childhood I was passionate about sports, I was a Brown Belt in Karate during my school days, though never ever ran. However, while my regular morning walks on seminary hills I often used to come across these runners and would wonder what do they have special that makes them Run.

It was during November 2015 that I decided it was time to make a change – and running was going to be my outlet. Finding the courage to take those steps, I began my journey towards fulfilling my ambition – a journey that has seen me doing things I could never have imagined. I completed my maiden 6K in Nagpur Marathon followed by 10K in Zero Mile Nagpur Marathon and since then got my body and life transformed from not willing to run into running my first Half Marathon this year. It has been hard, physically and mentally, but determined to become a strong runner I never lost sight of my goals and now I’m fitter and confident than before. It seems running has gone into my blood, after every run I feel fresh and energetic. Now I try to run 6 days a week and also try to do my gym work-outs during the week.

One might say we become more health aware and less concerned about aesthetics as we age, I have been a lifelong devotee of working out – want to inspire all women to become active.

I believe running is a group activity and it promotes body awareness which can help you appreciate your body and respect what it can do. OCR is the best group of Nagpur which gives the platform and acts as a guide to runners to enhance their potential.

I could not have been professional winner without the support of my family. I have been blessed with a family, my in-laws, husband and kids who have actively contributed to my goals and always made me stay motivated.

Interestingly enough, even injuries can serve as a confidence boost in the end. “Injuries are a big life lesson – they are a test of person’s emotional and physical resilience. If you overcome injury and also get to know what your limits are, in terms of running, it’s a very important lesson”, is what I feel and would be my advice to fellow runners.

“ My aim is to run long  ”  – Anand Sarda, one of the most affluent entrepreneurs.(ROTM April 2017)

I have always been sports lover and follower right from school days, however as I entered the business world, running or for that matter SPORTS, started taking a back seat and there came a phase when there was NO SPORT in my schedule, it was only work, work & work. I had become obese over the years, neglect of health , little exercise, love for food, work stress etc contributed to weight gain of 20kgs over my normal weight. This was in the year 2014, though I was doing Yoga and Gym Workouts, but still gaining weight due to increase in appetite.

Realization struck and it did strike me hard, I was overweight and it was time for a course correction. With complete support of my family and on the advice of my Yoga Trainer it was time to lace up and hit the road. I started jogging, one minute at a time, initially it was tough, but started doing gradually, then I started walking around 8 to 12 kms daily. My parents presented me Fit bit watch, it acted as a catalyst and I started setting target of 20000 steps daily and 1000 calories negative diet, which started helping me to reduce weight.

Later on I was advised  by my family and friends to pick up running, this is how I joined OCR and with the help of Dr. Neena I have lost 18 Kgs, ran three half marathons in sub 2 hours and at the same time practicing for one of the toughest hill Marathons – Satara Marathon.

Running gives me an IMMENSE HIGH feeling, it has given me many friends. People who just got introduced to me as runners, have now become part of my life.

Don’t compete or try and emulate others. Compete with self, train as per your requirements and most important – LISTEN TO YOUR BODY, would be my advice to fellow runners.

Dr. Anil Jawahirani–“Running Shorts have replaced Lab Coats” (ROTM – March 2017)

“Running has taught me I am capable of more than I ever thought possible. It has given me a new attitude towards my fitness. I really enjoy training for a specific event – it gives me a much greater sense of purpose.I was a cricketer in my childhood days, however I had to leave it to concentrate on myMD (MED) DNB(CARD) which took15 years of my youth.

When I started medical practice I realised that I was becoming obese and use to become breathless on climbing stairs in hospital, which in turn prompted me to start outdoor walksand working out at the gym from 2000. I started running about two years ago, my interest was sparked when I was introduced to OCR by one of my colleague, at that time it was just for fitness, but now running is part of my daily life.

With the help and guidance of Dr. Neena Sahu and Dr. Soheb Mohammad I trained myself to reach 21 km and did my First Half Marathon in Nagpur in Nov 2015 with the timing of 1hr 47 min. With that the journey of half marathons began post which I have participated in many half marathons which include SCMM, Ladakh, Amravati and Nagpur Police Marathon, where I was a podium finisher.

“Running allowed me to take control of my life and simplify it. I use running as my ‘filing system’ time to think, recap on my day and start to plan the next. I’m happy that I have inspired and motived many others into running.

Since I have got a strong family history of Diabetes and heart disease in my family I always wanted to keep myself fit and disease free. Running is helping me in this mission. I’m also lucky to have saved two lives during the marathons. While running I usually get time to be with nature, friends, myself and GOD.

Saurabh Agrawal – (ROTM – February 2017)

It’s been more than a year since I got acquainted with OCR, nevertheless it feels like returning back to school, considering the amount of learning that has happened in that time, changing my perspective towards not only running but life as well.

“Running is definitely addictive. Why else would people pay thousands of rupees in entry fees and train for six months in all sorts of weather to have the privilege of running for hour’s non-stop with no hope of finishing beyond mid-pack? But why wouldn’t you run if you are physically able to do so? It’s safer than cycling, more exciting than walking and more convenient than cross-training in a gym.
I was fat, couch potato, hadn’t run before, suffered from depression and mental stress; all these troubled my fitness and mind. On the advice of my friend I took running as an activity to overcome all these.

In the beginning running was painful and I used to get tired a lot, but my determination to get fit and stress free and the support of my trainers kept me going on.

I did my maiden 10 K in October 2015 followed by my first Half Marathon in November, since then I have completed 7 Half Marathons, Police Marathon in the beginning of February 2017 gave me my best timing. Between October 2015 and February 2017 I lost about 14 Kgs and feel a much better now.

The good news is that running helps you lose weight, fight disease and sleep better. And when you are physically and mentally healthier, you are better able to concentrate on your work.

If good health isn’t enough of a reason to run, anyone who trains several times a week experiences (I can vouch for this) the runner’s high. The natural feel-good endorphins that running releases carry over after you’ve finished, into your work.

Sandeep Singh Jolly  aka Dimple/DJ – Dec/Jan

I have been overweight my entire life, so running was my ultimate fear. I was horrified at the idea of someone seeing me run, I cringed at the thought of putting so much pressure on my knees, and the thought of the pain I’d feel in my chest gave me nightmares. That being said, I had to do it. I knew that if I could conquer my fear of running, I could do anything.  I started running about 3 years ago. My interest was sparked by one of the OCR members. At that it was just for fitness, but now running is part of my daily life. Running has opened a lot of doors for me, both physically and mentally. I lost 20 kilos (from 127 to 107 kg) and gained an ‘I’m a badass attitude. I run 5K every morning and it allows me that I can take over the world ‘feeling that I love to start my day with. In the month of December 2016 I ran 275Kms compiled during various days and runs. I love the burn; I really fell in love with running.

I started with fun runs and half – marathons, and then moved on to full marathons. Last year I decided I wanted to do a full marathon and achieved that goal within the stipulated timeframe in spite of the fact that I was down with viral fever and on antibiotics. This year again on January 15, 2017 I completed the SCMM in …. Time.

My family and friends have been amazing. To embark on a training schedule aimed at full marathon requires a big support team, it is their love and support (and many Dosas/Upmas/Chicken tikkas) that makes it all worth it.

The feeling when you cross the finish line is hard to describe. There are usually goose bumps and tears (yes its true), but the most satisfying element is learning about yourself and what you’re made of.

“Don’t worry if you are on a higher side in body weight, marathon and running is all about mind game, don’t bother about timing, speed of fellow runners, just focus on the task and finish line”.

Running is all about mental strength and your body weight and structure is immaterial, provided you get the basics right. Yes, legs work out is very important if you are overweight.