Mumbai Marathon: What Inspired 100 Heart Patients From The City To Overcome Fear And Run The Marathon?



Asian Heart Institute, medical partner to the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon, has created a 100 member Fit2Run Hearts team. This is a community of individuals who are recovered cardiac patients and who will running the Mumbai Marathon after surgeries like angioplasty, bypass with multiple grafts or other forms of cardiac rehabilitation. These runners come from varied backgrounds and range from ages 25 to 85. To me, this is truly a beautiful example of Mumbai’s undying spirit and love for life. The team behind the training of these patients is lead by Dr. Ashish Contractor, Head of Preventive Cardiology and Rehabilitation, at the Asian Heart Institute, Mumbai, and Medical Director of the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon, whom I spoke to about Fit2Run and what inspired him and these runners. An excerpt…

Dr Ashish Contractor - Image: ProCam
Dr Ashish Contractor – Image: ProCam

How many years have you been running marathons?
I have been running the 
Mumbai Marathon since 2007, but marathons in general since 1998. However this yar I’m not running. 

How did the idea of Fit2Run come about?
Actually it stemmed more from our philosophy, rather than any one idea.  The philosophy of Asian Heart is that ‘patients’ must not just survive after heart disease, they should thrive. They should be fit2run! 

What kind of patients are running the Mumbai Marathon this year? What were the ailments they dealt with?
They all have heart disease in some form. Bypass surgery, angioplasty, blockages without either of these interventions etc. And they range from all age groups and across all body types.

Any special runner you remember whose story you would like to share?
Mr. Kirit Parekh- he had a bad fall on this Sunday morning (he tripped over a gutter), and bruised his face badly, but he is still determined to take part on race day. He is 62 years. He has had an Angiography (revealed multi vessel coronary artery disease) and faces risk factors like hypertension. He has particiapted in Dream Run in 2013 and enrolled for Half Marathon 2014. He started practicing since 2013 and I think what he is doing is commendable. Here are some of those bravehearts who will be running the marathon this year.

Full marathon runner Dhananjay Yerulkar
Full marathon runner Dhananjay Yerulkar

Dhananjay Yellurkar – 49 years
Bypass surgery 23 May 2009
Participated in 21 kms Marathon from the third month of his surgery (2010) Time: 2 hours 57 mins. Waist size ahs reduced from 35” to 32”. Resume work early within 2 months of surgery. Regular at his workouts.
Particpated in Full Marathon in ING New York on 7th Nov 2010. Completed in 5 hours 56 minutes. BMW Berlin Marathon Full Sept 2011 5 hours 12 minutes. Has participated in Full Marathon in New York also. Enrolled for FULL marathon 2014

Vaishali Vadhavkar
Vaishali Vadhavkar

Vaishali Vadhavkar – 55 years
Myocardiac Infarction in August 2001 for which she was advised Medical Management. November 2004, her stress test was positive followed by Angiography. CABG in 2004.
Dream Run participation since 2007.
Risk factors: Hypertension, dyslipidemia and physical inactivity.


Mukesh Limbachiya
Mukesh Limbachiya

Mukesh Limbachiya – 53 years
Bypass Surgery- 6 grafts done on 27 January 2011
TMT positive in December 2012 >> COronary Angiography done>> as per Dr Panda’s advice underwent ECP treatment at AHI in February 2012. Regular for Cardiac Rehab exercise till date.
Risk Factors: Hypertension, Diabetes. Dream run done in 2013.Enrolled for Half Marathon 2014.

Any last minute tips for runners participating in the marathon? 

  • Make sure you get adequate rest the night before the race. Better still get a very good night’s sleep on Friday night, as it’s difficult for many to sleep well before race day.
  • During the race, walk/run at your own pace. Avoid getting carried away by those around and running at their pace.
  • Consume water supplied at each water station along the way.
  • If you experience any chest discomfort, unusual shortness of breath, nausea or giddiness during the race, stop and take rest for a few minutes.
  • Write down your emergency contact number at the back of your running bib.

Any tips for Mumbaikars who want to take up walking or cycling as a sport in our congested city?
Be very careful of cars, buses and motorcycles. They do not respect or care for bicyclists.

If you could change one thing about Mumbai what would it be?
As a sportsperson- it would be the quality of our roads and footpaths, as well as traffic discipline.

If there is one thing about Mumbai that you wish never changes, what would it be?
The can-do spirit in spite of all the odds.

Share this story with everyone who you think needs a little inspiration, that slight nudge, that first push in the right direction. If you are running the Mumbai Marathon this year, tell us your Reason To Run here and inspire Mumbai. You can also email us at Know friends who are running, share their stories too and they could get featured on

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Post By Garima Sharma (111 Posts)

Founding Editor at MumbaiMag, graffiti and street art lover, traveller, blogger and amateur photographer, slave to Thor, my Lab.


Garima Sharma

Garima Sharma
Founding Editor at MumbaiMag, graffiti and street art lover, traveller, blogger and amateur photographer, slave to Thor, my Lab.