How running transformed the lives of four regular people
The beautiful song, 'Go The Distance,' from the Disney movie Hercules goes, "I'll be there someday, I can go the distance, I will find my way if I can be strong, I know every mile will be worth my while, when I go the distance, I'll be right where I belong."
The song in the movie signifies Hercules trying to find himself as he embarks on the path to several adventures, known as the Twelve Labours, which made him famous for his strength. The spirit the song references holds true for someone who runs, and runs regularly, as runners strongly believe that running helps them push their boundaries, think freely and achieve a better sense of self.
People take to running for many reasons, the primary one being to get fit. In most cases, it leads to people falling in love with running, causing it to become a part of their daily routine, an activity around which they centre their lives.
Take the case of Rashi Kadam, an avid runner who has been following her dreams and running actively for the last four years. Her hard work and dedication saw her register podium finishes at all the major races last year and she has indicated how running has helped her feel strong and free. However, she herself describes her most special achievement as finally convincing her young daughter to start running!
The fact that she wanted her daughter to pick up running at a young age speaks volumes for how important Rashi considers running to be and the benefits she believes her daughter could draw from regularly performing it.
In many other instances, it is health problems and a lack of fitness that inadvertently lead to people taking up running.
Running is the antidote used by many across the world to find their way back from health problems and Mishti Khatri's story is the perfect example of that. She started running again this year due to a shoulder injury that made her stop boxing. What motivated her to continue running was her fifth-place finish without much training at the Run India Run monsoon marathon.
Mishti has always found setting goals to be a great way to motivate herself. She has her occupation of being a certified personal trainer to thank for that! What has also helped her adjust and acclimate is Mumbai's active running community.
Running, in her own words, is a form of meditation and she believes the repetitions involved help her to get into a zone. Once there, she is able to focus only on that with utmost concentration, helping her remove every other concern from her psyche. A sport that anyone can pick up, running gives her the motivation to wake up every morning and keep at it, and is a major source of inspiration to her!
Her current goal is to finish a 10 km run within 50 minutes. She has also set herself an ambitious goal of completing a half marathon inside two hours. Having done the Mumbai Half Marathon a few years ago, she is in a much better place in terms of preparation and focus and is confident she can achieve her goals.
As someone who started jogging to try and reduce weight and stay active, Manoj Rane is an inspiration. Still only 27, Rane has been running for nine years now. When asked why he started running, he very nonchalantly said that he was unhealthy and lazy and started jogging to try and snap out of that funk. However, and this is what is incredible, he found it to be boring, and so took up running!
It so happened that the thrill Manoj experienced was unlike any other. That was the day he turned over a new leaf and now, all he wants to do is run as fast as he can, finish the Mumbai Marathon under three hours and run every major marathon across the globe.
Manoj's story is awe-inspiring because it is one based on pure emotion, one where the only driving force is the happiness it gave him; that running was not the means but the end! When the goal is to only do better every day, like Manoj sets himself, running becomes an obsession, not just a hobby.
Many people take to running at a young age because they like running as a sport, in addition to the health benefits. A lot of times, children in school pick up running because they want to succeed in it as a sportsperson, because they visualise a future for themselves in the sport.
For many, running is a means to an end, like Amit Bhosale. This 27-year-old wanted to join the Defence Forces - specifically the Army or Navy - but his lack of educational qualifications held him back. But that was just a minor setback. Amit was not ready to throw in the towel and instead chose to channel his disappointment into running.
He ran and he ran, becoming an uber-fit individual. He then decided to do good by introducing others to running. Bhosale has been running for five years and he now helps youngsters who aspire to join the Army by introducing them to running. He has also introduced running to underprivileged children in Chembur, aiding them in their fight to survive and thrive in everyday life.
He has set himself a lofty goal of finishing the Mumbai Marathon in under three hours and given his single-minded focus, fitness and determination into helping others, Amit Bhosale is an inspiration to everyone looking for a reason to start running.
Sometimes in life, we look for outlets, outlets that can help us forget our everyday grind, outlets that give us a cause for optimism, outlets that offer us a different possibility.
The underlying sentiment in all these incredibly touching, relatable stories is the spirit of using running to improve lives. They all look to do better while they run, and through that, do better in life.