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Mr. Kaushik Panchal

Running adds quality to your life and it is never too late to begin. Here, I stand in front of you, a live example of it.
Today I can run marathons upto 72 kms, but 12 years ago, even I could not have told it to myself and believed it. Forget 72, even walking two kilometers was a task in 2003. At, 33, I was a walking list of ill health with back pain, acidity problem, obesity, peptic ulcer and an erratic ECG due to RBBB (a condition called Right Bundle Branch Block). As if that was not enough, I suffered an episode of Vasovagal syncope, one of the most common causes of fainting.
Vasovagal syncope occurs when your body overreacts to certain triggers, such as the sight of blood or extreme emotional distress. The trigger causes a sudden drop in your heart rate and blood pressure. That leads to reduced blood flow to your brain, which results in a brief loss of consciousness. It is usually harmless and requires no treatment. But it is possible you may injure yourself during a vasovagal syncope episode. Also, your doctor may recommend tests to rule out more-serious causes of fainting, such as heart disorders.
All this was due to a unhealthy lifestyle of which I had made myself a victim. My medical bills kept piling up. Ill health and huge amounts of money spent due to medical bills added to my worries about my future. It was a visit to Canada that opened my eyes to the quality of life I should be leading. In the 40 days that I was there, I realised how much those people valued their life and took great care of their health. I would see people running on harbour front in the downtown area during lunch breaks! That made me determined to take control of my life, my health and improve the quality of my life.
Luckily for me 2004 Standard Chartered introduced marathon in Mumbai which prompted me to take up the dream run of 7 kms in the very first edition itself. Today, I am glad I took to running and haven’t looked back ever since. I have come …running….. a long way from there. I have participated in all the editions of Stanchart marathon, running the 21 kms half marathon and 42 kms full marathon since the last three years. In the last 12 years I have run four full marathons, 16 half-marathons, the 50 kms ultra run in Bangalore. Running the 72 kms of Mumbai ultra marathon in 12 hours has been the icing on the cake!
But when I started 12 years back, my physical condition was such that I was hardly able to jog or even walk for 4 kms. I would develop cramps so often, it I made me wonder what was so wrong with me. It was then that I met a few runner friends of mine and joined them for group running. That helped me a lot as I started my regimen with structured training and it helped me to get rid of my cramps by proper hydration (drinking enough water) and maintaining the pace during the long run.

Slowly, I began enjoying my long runs with much more ease than my short speed workouts. That was the deciding factor for me to run a full marathon and then 50km ultra and finally the 12 hrs run. Long distance runs proved beneficial for me in the sense that I could spend time with myself, introspect…..which proved to be kind of therapeutic. It also helped as a stress buster.
I can vouch for running which has changed my life for good in these 12 years. Running has managed to keep me fit, healthy. I have become confident of covering a distance of 72kms. This, I found, was much more easier than running a full marathon where we all target a finish time.
There have been ups and downs, but in the end I feel very happy and proud with my journey so far and from the bottom of my heart, I feel like I should share the joy of running with all. Come on run with me, the more the merrier!

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