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Life is, because of sport: Madhukar Parthasarathy, AOL Director and CoolAge founder

Modified 16 May 2013, 17:36 IST


Sportskeeda is proud to present a brand new series – ‘CXOs on the run’. In this series, we converse with industry leaders, entrepreneurs and other high-profile personalities for whom running is a way of life, and how they manage to find time to pursue doing what they love the most.

As if being the director at AOL and launching – a platform for college students – wasn’t demanding enough, Madhukar Parthasarathy also finds time to participate in various marthons around the country. A passionate squash player, Madhukar’s goal is  to ignite passion for sports and good health at the workplace. Here, he talks to us about his passion for running and sports. Excerpts below:

When and how did you first start running?

In my teens, Fr.MacBride, my hockey coach, made me run five rounds of the stadium in my goalkeeper’s kit despite my protests that hockey goalies didn’t need to run that much. But now, I have only him to thank.

Which was the first marathon you participated in?

After having run a handful of Pikermis (half marathons), the natural progression is to attempt the full. My first full marathon was the Mumbai Marathon 2009. Little did I know that distance would be doubled, and my timing would be tripled. It was a sheer test of endurance and mind over matter. I finished in 6 hours, 12 minutes. The Mumbai crowds are amazingly supportive to runners, and they are main the reason that ‘slow coaches’ like me sprint across the finish line.

How do you go about preparing for a marathon?

Nothing in particular. I play squash four times a week. It is my first love and is akin to ‘interval’ training as it’s a lot of starts and stops and a great cardio work out. I cycle as a commute saves fuel and money, and provides a decent endurance workout everyday; and of course, a mixture of short/mid/long runs between the week and over the weekends. I also do  a few sessions of gym work in a month to build muscular strength.

Do you follow a diet in preparation of a marathon? 


Again, nothing in particular. I try and stick to lots of fruits,  which includes six to eight bananas a day,brown bread and honey, almonds, and lots of fresh fruit juice, legumes, chapattis, salads, pastas (for pre-race carb loading) and grilled fish/chicken.

What kind of kit do you use for running?

I use the Saucony Omnipride  or Hurricane shoes, Saucony singlet and shorts, Garmin HRM, sweatbands, headbands, vaseline, shades,bananas and electrolyte-mixed fruit juice.

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

I have been participating every year since 2008, when it was called the Sunfeast World 10K. The race is growing every year and the roads are getting narrower due to the metro construction. Therefore, if one gets stuck on a ‘slow bus’, it’s not the best race to get one’s personal best as one has to zig zag in the sea of humanity. The start of the open category is 7.30 AM which is not very early, so the heat and humidity will start taking effect midway. So, hydration is very important even in Bangalore. Coming to the holding area by 5.45 AM will be advantageous lest you get stuck in ‘fun loving’ sea of humanity. Consuming a couple of bananas while waiting helps. Many ‘super athletes’ will overtake you but one shouldn’t change strategy because of that – run at the pace you are comfortable and have practiced, and enjoy the cheers, the glamour and smile for the lenses!


What are the other runs you participate in?

I have participated in the Bangalore Ultra marathon, the Kaveri trail marathon, the Delhi half marathon, the Mumbai marathon, the Midnight marathon, the Goa half marathon and the Mysore half marathon.

What other sport do you play or follow?

I play squash regularly. Additionally, I also do cycling and swimming, and follow most other sports

Who is your favourite sportsperson?

Saina Nehwal and Sachin Tendulkar are my favourite sportspersons.

Do you have any message for our readers who wish to start running?

Don’t wish, just run.

Read the rest of our series here: CXOs on the run

Published 16 May 2013, 14:54 IST
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