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"I have taken part in all 10k runs held so far": Kothandapani K.C., Retired Indian Air Force Sergeant

TimTim Sharma
Modified 13 Jun 2013, 21:33 IST

TCS 10K 2013

Sportskeeda is proud to present yet another instalment of the series – Runspiration. In this series, we converse with runners from across the country who have found inspiration by taking up running and related activities, and have been successful in dealing with their problems, health or otherwise. These are people who lead truly inspirational lives.

Today, we are speaking to Mr. Kothandapani K.C., a retired Sergeant in the Indian Air Force. He joined the Indian Air Force in 1977 and called it a day in 1998 as a Sergeant in the Logistics branch. He has been a big fan of running since his training days and switched to running after six months of boxing. He is 55 years old and his family consists of a wife and a daughter, who is about to complete her engineering. Excerpts from the interview:

When and how did you first start running?

During my training I was into boxing. We used to run a lot every weekend. One day there was a selection trial for the Inter Area Athletics meet. I ran the 800 meters and finished second and got selected. We then came to Training Command for the Meet, in which I finished last. I was very disappointed and therefore, took a pledge that when I complete my training, I will pursue running seriously. After my training I was posted to Air Force Station, Kanpur in October, 1978. There, I joined the Maintenance Command Athletics Coaching Camp. I started training for the Middle Distance Event (800 and 1500 meters). Since that day, until the day I retired in August, 1998, I represented the Air Force Athletics & Cross Country Championship. Thrice I took part in the Inter services Athletics & Cross Country Championship.

Recall your first marathon

In 1987, I was posted to Air Force Station, Jalahalli on Sports Duties as a Cross Country runner. The following year, the Air Force Athletics Championship was held in Jalahalli. Jalahalli comes under Training Command. There was a fight going on between Western Air Command and Training Command on the last day for the championship. Training Command was trailing by seven points. The second member for the Marathon event in the Training Command team was weak and it was the last event of the meet. Since I was a cross country runner, I was told to run the Marathon. I never trained for the event. But I used to run 30+ kilometers during the weekends. I finished third and the other team member finished second and therefore, we won the championship. After that I started taking part in Marathons regularly.

How do you go about preparing for a marathon?

Though I train throughout the year, I start preparing for the SCMM six months in advance, out of which I use three months for base building. Before starting my workouts, I jog for 10 minutes and do dynamic exercises for 20 minutes. In the end, I cool down for 10 minutes and perform stretching and core exercises for 20 minutes. My weekly training programme consists of one speed workout on track, one tempo/uphill/fartlek workout and one long run. Apart from this I do two recovery runs as well. I build up to 35+ kilometers for the Marathon. This year I am planning to build up to 40+ kilometers. During the last six weeks, I train at my race pace in all my workouts. Even though I have stopped weight training for the last two years, I feel it plays a very important role in building your strength. Now, I have started using my body weight in resistance training by doing some high intensity circuit training and plyometrics. I take part in one marathon a year i.e., the SCMM.

Do you follow a diet in preparation of a marathon? If yes, can you describe it?


So far I have not followed any particular diet plan. I’m just concentrating on a balanced diet.

Do take us through your running kit? For example, shoes, outfit, drinks, supplements, etc.

I like Nike & Asics running shoes. Since I am slightly over-pronated, I use the stability shoes. Nike’s Dri-Fit T-shirts are the ones that I prefer. I also use Gatorade regularly. However, I have not tried any supplements so far.

How often have you participated in the TCS 10k run? Any highlights?

I have taken part in all the five open 10K Runs held so far. This year will be my sixth. During the last four years I have won bronze medal (45:00 in 2009), silver medal (43:26 in 2010), and two gold medals (44:00 in 2011 and 44:10 in 2012) in my age category of 51-60 years.

What are the other runs you participate in?

TCS, KTM, Bangalore Ultra, Airtel Hyderabad, Mysore HM & SCMM. This year I finished second at the SCMM FM in my age category of 55-65 years.

What other sport do you play or follow?

After retiring from the Air Force I stopped playing cricket and football. But I follow most of the sports very keenly like cricket, athletics, football, tennis, hockey, volleyball, basketball, swimming, etc.

Your favourite sportsman?

I don’t have any favourite sportsman but I like all world class athletes in all sports.

Any message to our readers who wish to start running?

If you’re a first-timer, follow the basics of running and the principles of training. I would advise beginners to start slowly and build on their mileage by following the 10% rule. Firstly, concentrate on 5K’s & 10K’s. Once you are confident of running the 10k’s comfortably, then you should think of the HM’s. But not in your first year of running. Once you build strength in your muscles, ligaments and tendons, then in the second year, start training for the HM’s. Also, do not start training for FM’s before the third year.

To read the rest of the Runspiration series, click here

Published 13 Jun 2013, 18:25 IST
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