Mumbai Marathon: Saurabh Gupta Runs To Educate And Empower Underprivileged Children

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Just two more days to the Mumbai Marathon. As the city gears up, we bring you another story of a Mumbaikar who is running this year and what inspires him. Saurabh Gupta works with Standard Chartered, and took up running in 2009 for the fun of it and to test his own endurance. Over the years running became a passion and this year he will be running the Half Marathon. Here is an excerpt of my interview with him.

At first friends & family thought it was just one of those phases that I’ll ‘get over’, but when I started getting regular, they realized this was serious stuff.
Since when have you been running the Mumbai Marathon?
I have run in 4 Mumbai marathons before this (2009, 2010, 2011, 2013); 2014 will be the fifth. I have been running the half marathon (21.097km) in all the editions.What inspires you to run?

Saurabh Gupta
Saurabh Gupta

I ran the first two marathons with no real ‘reason’ attached; purely to test my boundaries & limits and to have some fun. However, in the last two years I have taken it up with a lot more sincerity and in the process I have developed a passion for fitness. I joined Striders in 2012 for 3 months to prepare for 2013 Half Marathon run and was able to complete the run in 2:02hrs. This motivated me and I decided to train through the year. My regular training has helped me keep a balanced mind and body and I can see the positive effects of the training on myself even in day to day routine.
This year, I chose additionally to run for a cause – that of education. “Educate to Empower” is the theme of my run this year; and I hope my fund raise can make a small positive contribution to the lives of around 700 children being supported by Aseema, a Mumbai based NGO. You can know more and support my cause here.

What do you aim to achieve this year through the Mumbai Marathon?
I am targeting to collect contributions of approx. INR 3 lakh towards two specific projects supported and run by Aseema. These projects together impact quality of education imparted to over 700 under privileged children. As of now, I have been able to raise INR 2.4L and am positive about reaching the targeted amount. On a separate note, I firmly believe that the interest in Mumbai marathon and positive energy associated with the event motivates people to contribute for towards good causes.

Have you been able to inspire your friends and family to join in?
Let me first tell you that I started in 2009 because I was motivated by a colleague running half marathon. At first friends & family thought it was just one of those phases that I’ll ‘get over’, but when I started getting regular, they realized this was serious stuff. And I can proudly say that over last year, there are quite a few who joined me…! The positive differences in me of course could not go unnoticed and before I knew it, I saw several ‘converts’ within my own circle of friends. I think I can say with full confidence that none of them have any regrets about starting to run!

How have you trained for the marathon?
Have been training regularly with Striders for the last 11 months at their Juhu Centre. My weekly training program includes 4 days of running, a mix of long runs, slow recovery runs, interval training etc. Additionally, I try and spend 2-3 hours a week at the gym, working on upper body. I cannot emphasise the importance of a good warm up and cool down routine before and after every run; that helps keeping the muscles ready for the next workout!

Any challenges you faced while training?
Striders is extremely methodical and professional about the entire training schedule. I cannot over-emphasize the importance of good training/instructor while preparing for long runs. Luckily getting up early 4 times a week for the training was the only challenge!

Complete the sentence – Running the marathon has taught me…the 3Ds – discipline, determination, drive

If your words could inspire other Mumbaikars to run, what would you like to say to them?
If there’s a way to stay fit and have fun doing it – why not? Get into your running shoes and enjoy Mumbai city in all its glory as you run!

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 [email protected] Know friends who are running, share their stories too and they could get featured on MumbaiMag.com.

Featured Image Courtesy: Pearsports.com

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.

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Garima Sharma

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