Running in life and the marathon, the Sunil Lulla way

Pounding the pavement and pushing his limits is what inspires him in real life too.

MUMBAI: Numbers... It has always been about numbers and statistics for Sunil Lulla. This comes as no surprise for someone who has over 35 years of experience in leadership roles across media (TV, internet, and OTT), advertising and marketing and is now CEO at BARC India. But it’s not the data, statistics and viewership numbers that fascinate Lulla the most. It’s the miles he runs that give him akick.

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” These words by T.S. Eliot perfectly sum up Lulla’s feisty yet humble personality.

Anavid long-distance runner, Lulla also enjoys sailing andwitty conversations. In a free-wheeling chat with founder, CEO and editor-in-chief Anil Wanvari, Lulla spoke about running marathons locally and internationally, his love of sports and much more.

Watch the virtual fireside chat with Sunil Lulla 

Earlier this year, Lulla encountered an unexpected setback – he tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection. But he put up a tough fight, beat the virus and emerged the stronger for it. Then, as a responsible citizen, he donated his blood plasma twice. Looking back on his brush with Covid2019, Lulla advises people to live their life normally, observe necessary precautions and to be respectful but unafraid of the SarsCov2 virus.

Runner’s high

As long as a person’s legs function, they should run, says Lulla. He considers running not only a great physical workout but also a mental stimulant.

“I think running the distance gives you the courage, stamina and inspiration. It helps me to think of new things. It’s because of the adrenaline that runs and pumps through your body,” he said.

Read more news on Sunil Lulla

Like many of us who try to keep our middle and weight in check, Lulla started running with the desire to lose a little flab. Eventually he started enjoying it, and also made some friends along the way.

Lulla advocates running, for it helps a person stay healthy and productive. He believes what you do with your health and body allows you to do what you want with your life.

“It’s the desire to be on the road, to try and push yourself and to do better that keeps me going. Long-distance runs are not easy. In the end, it’s about your own aspiration. I don’t look at running from a benchmark point of view,” he added.

For Lulla, it’s about setting goals – and surpassing them. The sheer zeal to overtake life’s challenges and doing what you envision is not everybody’s cup of tea. Lulla seems to have mastered this art.

He recalls a marathon he ran in New York last year. He completed the 42 km run in just four hours and 13 minutes. Ecstatic about this experience, Lulla shares: “Running in six degree temperature was not easy. We are not used to running in such weather here in India. New York was a tough road. It starts with the runners having to climb uphill on a 2 km long bridge. I think the most amazing part about New York is its crowd. Brooklyn is a deafening, especially the last stretch, it’s like Eden Gardens where the last ball is going to be bowled and the match is heading towards a tie. Then there are dark patches of absolutely death-like silence. But it’s a great crowd and great run. It was my dream and I am glad I could do it.”

He’s full of admiration for peers like Sudhanshu Vats as well as businessman Anil Ambani who run the marathon distance in super quick time. Says he: “Those guys are pros, all respect for them.”

Unfortunately, there are no races this year due toCovid2019 pandemic. Lulla nevertheless pounds the pavements, pretending he’s running a race. He’s hopeful that once things return to normal, he’ll be able to take part in the Berlin marathon.

Winning a race is a cocktail of tears and sweat. Yet one persists, spurred on by their ambitions to excel and emerge triumphant. Lulla is definitely an inspiration for anybody who is apprehensive of the challenges life throws atus.

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