A dozen leaders of various corporates across the city led by example as they took part in the Tata Consultancy Services World 10K Bangalore 2013 at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Sunday.
Apart from the Open 10K, the CEO 400m Dash, which featured 11 Corporate Cares teams (companies who are supporting and raising funds for their chosen NGOs), was won by Mr. Rakesh Singh, CEO, Citrix Systems.
“The experience was great,” Mr. Singh said at the end of the race. “The last time I ran the 400m was in school, and I had tripped and hurt myself. So I told myself that that I’m going to do better this time around.
“It’s a lovely event, and the atmosphere is great. Citrix is here with 20 employees and is associated with the Association of the Mentally Challenged and we hope to keep this going for years to come,” Mr. Singh added.
He was closely followed home by Ms. Vaishali Kasture, MD, Goldman Sachs, who fielded a team of 30 supporting ‘EnAble India.’ Earlier, Ms. Kasture finished first in her age category of the Open 10K in a time of 47:55.
Amongst the others who ran the 400m dash was Ms. Linsey Simpson, India Head, Thomson Reuters, who, like Ms. Kasture, also fielded a team supporting ‘EnAble India.’
When asked about how they promote Health and Fitness at Reuters, she said, “We have a wellness program in our organisation and we even provide pedometers to our employees. But in the end it is actually down to the leader, who sets an example. If we take the initiative, they will only follow suit.”
Founder and COO, Mindtree, Mr. N.S. Parthasarthy, fondly known as Partha and who is firmly of the belief that running will change your life forever, also advocated that events such as these help team ethic and bonding.
“We started a running club called ‘Mrunners’,” Mr. Partha said. “The idea is to motivate young people to take up running and we got the likes of Reeth Abraham (Arjuna Award winner in 1997 and one-time national heptathlon champion) to train about 200 employees,” he added.
As leaders of various corporates in the city, they also had words of advice for newbies.
Mr. Thomas Bobby Philip, Global Capability Development Manager, Nokia Siemens Networks – who runs barefoot – was of the opinion that as ambassadors of the sport, running should take precedence as people who are not sportsmen could take it up.
“Running isn’t one of the most popular sports in India, and as ambassadors each one of us holds responsibility to promote the sport and make sure more and more people take part in it as it is extremely simple and easy.
“In India it is very late that we realise that we need to be fit, and running is the best way and you don’t even have to worry if you’ve never played a sport in your life!”
49-year-old Mr. Ashok Nath, a Boston Marathon qualifier and the Founder of Catalyst Sports, who finished second in his age group with a time of 39:37 in the Open 10K, had a message for first-timers. “The first step is the hardest but once you can get over the hump, you will never be the same. And the best way is to run in pairs, so that way they can motivate each other.”
Most of the people at the TCS 10K were adults and not young adults. The marathon witnessed a host of men and women who have taken up the sport of running not only as a way to get fit but as a way to enjoy life.
And that was evident in the smiles of the various CEOs who take time out from their busy lives and high-pressure jobs to meditate through running.
Mr. Partha said, “Running is one of the easiest sports to take up. I keep saying you know, take one foot and put it in front of the other and that all it takes and do it repeatedly a million times.
“I think it’s all a question of self belief. Running is a sport you compete with yourself, you just compete with yourself, and that it makes it a lot easier. “
While Reuters Head, Ms. Simpson went on to add, “I love running in the city of Bangalore, it has brilliant weather and the atmosphere of this marathon is brilliant. But what I love most is running to Bollywood music here, especially Chak De India.”
For the race report click here.
Read the rest of our series here: CXOs on the runPublished 21 May 2013, 11:35 IST