Industry veterans gear up for Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon

MUMBAI : The city is already counting down the days to the biggest annual sporting extravaganza that Mumbaikars look forward to -- the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon, which is scheduled to take off in the wee hours of 17 January.

Be it the health minded ones or the record breakers or even those who simply run for a cause , every year the footfall at the marathon has only seen an upward growth. Several reports say that this year the figures may go up by four - five per cent. 

With Mumbai as the stage, it is inevitable that several media personalities will also be taking part in the event, apart from the big names from other industries like finance and technology. 

Familiar faces from media, advertising and marketing world who are expected to continue their tradition of running for the marathon include Grey Group India chairman and managing director Sunil Lulla, founder Bharat Kapadia and triggerbridge managing director and co-founder S Yesudas amongst others.

Yesudas confesses his life has been very hectic given his new portfolio as an entrepreneur and the launch of his new venture. Yet, he wouldn’t give Mumbai Standard Chartered Marathon a miss for the world. In fact, he recalls how he barely made it to his last year’s agency conference in Bangkok just to run for the marathon.

Having said that, he adds, “I wouldn't go all out this year unlike my previous runs for the marathon. The reason is my injured right knee.” Because of which, Yesudas hasn’t been active lately in preparing for the marathon.

“I participated for the Trivandrum Marathon in November, but since then I haven't been running much. To get good timing, practicing long runs is a must, therefore this year I will be taking it easier,” Yesudas explains.

It isn’t just Yesudas whose Mumbai Marathon will be marred a bit by injury. Well known marathon runner from the industry HDFC Life senior executive vice president Sanjay Tripathy will also skip running the full marathon due to the same. Nevertheless, Tripathy can’t help count us down the reasons why one should take running up. “Running is my passion and I have a torrid love affair with it! Running for a marathon has taken me beyond my comfort zone and helped me relax, take control over my mind and stay focused on a day to day basis,” shares Tripathy.

“I have been training myself since 2003 to participate in marathons all over the country. Every year I work on increasing my intensity and distance while reducing the amount of time. Unfortunately, this year, I will be unable to participate in the marathon as I had a bad fall on my knee a month back. A stress fracture in the femur of my left leg will keep me out of running for a good eight to 12 weeks. But injuries are a part and parcel of a runner’s life and I am determined to come back stronger,” he adds.

Industry veteran and well known marathoner Kapadia is up for the challenge this year as well. Last year, he managed to bring down his run time to 2 hours 12 mins from 2 hours 17 mins in the previous year. He hopes to beat his own record this year as well. “This will be my ninth year running in the Mumbai Marathon. My regular practice sessions are up. I usually start three and a half months before the D-Day. Right now I am going easy on running and concentrating on the right diet. The first three days of the week was protein heavy diet, while the next three days will be carbohydrate heavy,” shares Kapadia, who adds that he stopped long runs last Sunday to give his body rest.

Having said that, Kapadia doesn’t run after ranks or timings in a marathon. “I personally keep three things in mind when running a marathon. Firstly my target is to complete the entire run; secondly I make sure I have fun on the way; and lastly to keep myself injury free,” he says.

Grey Group India’s Lulla too plans to enjoy the marathon with his friends rather than keeping an eye on the clock while running. “I am doing stretches and abs to keep myself flexible for the time being,” he informs. 

“This year the marathon isn't about setting goals and breaking personal record for me. Been there and done that for the last few years. This year is about enjoying the run. I have been in and out of the city the entire year and hence hardly had the time to practice and prep up for the marathon. Not that it bothers me as this year my prime motive is to have fun with my friends who run together with me. I plan to take it slow and easy, saying hello to everyone on the way and maybe even clicking several picture to commemorate the day.”

In fact, to mark the day and instil the idea of running for just fun, Lulla and his group of friends will be sporting T-shirts with #quickie written on it.

While few familiar names are staying off the track this year, Yesudas doesn’t expect that to effect the footfall at the marathon, nor the industry’s representation in it. “I have a feeling several new faces will be seen running this year. I know that several of my friends within the industry have been gearing up to make their debut,” he says.

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