Extended version of Run&Bee column in Hindustan Times - Week 46 / 20.4.2019: Age is just a number if you focus on form and overall health for running (http://tinyurl.com/y4vw65cn)

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What if I tell you that you could pick up running even in your mid to late 50s! That age is just a number if you focus on form and overall health for running. Let me illustrate this point by talking about Mr. Ramanjit Singh Oberoi, known for his unbounded energy and youthful enthusiasm. He exudes optimism backed by the belief that everything is achievable, if only one is single-minded in one’s pursuit of it.

In no other passion of his are these qualities more noticeable than in his love for running. After stints in various large banks, Ramanjit found inspiration in the Army Public School environment (not sure if most readers would know about this? Full form) which he joined in 2009 where he participated in his very first half marathon in 2014, at the wonderful age of 55 years!

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And, already, in just four years, Ramanjit has notched up an enviable, awe-inspiring track record of some sensational successes in marathons. He has participated in 28 half marathons of 21 kms each, some of them in rather challenging conditions - along the steps of Khumbalgarh Fort (2nd only to The Great wall of China), in the rarefied atmosphere of Ladakh, and in the hills of Shimla.

He has run three full marathons of 42 kms each, in Mumbai, Delhi & Jaipur, with his best timing being 3 hours and 42 minutes, considered a laudable achievement by any runner.

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If this wasn’t enough, he participated in three Ultras, which are longer than full marathons. The first one was of 50 kms in Aravali Hills, involving running uphill and downhill! And, just three days later, bypassing all well-meaning advice, he successfully ran the Mumbai Ultra, a 5 AM to 5 PM, 12-hour run, covering a distance of a distance of 100 kms! And another 50 kms Ultra in tough conditions of Thar Desert!

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Earlier this year he ran Garhwal Runs, a 74 kms race from Dehradun to Dhanaulti in a time of 9 hrs 37 minutes, which is an amazing time for a race that has uphills for more than half the distance and is a qualifier for 111 kms category at La Ultra - The High in Leh - Ladakh.

His reasons for running range from the vigor and vitality he feels while he runs, to the way his mind comes up with creative thoughts and ideas which most runners would vouch for.

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His running journey is peppered with unusual runs, like a trek to the Everest Base Camp in May 2018. While ordinarily this is supposed to take 14-15 days, Ramanjit completed the entire trek in nine days. And, then there was the Duathlon Event in Ludhiana, comprising of a 5 km run, followed by 42 kms of cycling, followed again by a run of another 5 kms.

It is this that has got him qualified for the oldest marathon in the world, the prestigious Boston Marathon (USA), where he ranked 7th in his age category. Not stopping at this honor, Ramanjit will follow this up with the Ultra Comrades in South Africa, a 90 kms run. There is obviously no stopping this 60 year-old young man!

Tips for picking up running in 50s

  1. Start slow: If you already go for long walks, just walk slightly quicker for a minute followed by slow 5 minutes. Over time start increasing duration of quicker walk while decreasing the duration of slower walk. Over a month, fast walking can convert into jogging.
  2. No need to race: As much as Ramanjit has accomplished a lot in running, there is no need for health purposes to run half (21 kms) or full (21 kms) marathons.
  3. Strength Training: Since muscles move your joints, it is important that you get them working by doing basic exercises like heel raises, squats and walk push-ups.

Below is the print version of the above Run&Bee Hindustan Times column.

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