Running for health

Creating consciousness

The 2014 edition of Puma Urban Stampede, India’s first and biggest corporate relay race, was announced at Royal Orchid Hotel recently. Powered by Flipkart, the 4 x 5k corporate relay will be accompanied by an open 5k run and 2 x 10k run.

On the occasion, a panel discussion on ‘Running in Corporate India’ was held, moderated by Arvind Krishnan, founder of Runners for Life. Various topics were touched upon, ranging from health and techniques to the relevance of running in India at present.

Rajiv Mehta, managing director, Puma India, shared the story of how he took up running. “For me, running is meditative. What I like best is that all you need is a pair of shoes and you can run wherever you are!” he said.

Arvind Bharati, head of Runners for Life, added his perspective, stating that though most people start running for weight loss and fitness, it becomes a need soon after. “The idea behind Puma Urban Stampede is to get people to start running.

For the Bangalore leg, the running community has already started doing strength training and speed workouts,” he said, adding, “last year, we had 2,000 participants in one category. We hope it doubles this year across the three categories.”

Shayamal Vallabjee, Puma sports scientist, said that he tries to promote running in training. “It’s functional, doesn’t need equipment and increases one’s focus as there are no shortcuts. We’re trying to bring a science to training to eradicate health problems that people face,” he noted.

Dr Lokesh AV, sports medicine consultant, Fortis Hospitals, said, “It’s a myth that running is bad for the knees. It’s an easy way to stay fit and it causes the brain to release endorphins, which are feel-good hormones.

Moreover, with the sedentary corporate lifestyle, all one needs is the right shoes and proper stretching to start.” Pankaj Rai, director of Dell Analytics and an avid runner, said that running makes you see work and life differently.

“I do something called ‘Runversations’, where I run while having a conversation with someone. I get bored running alone, so it’s always nice to learn something from the diverse range of runners around,” he said.

Nari Narayanan, finance controller of Sequoia Capital and a keen runner too, emphasised the importance of corporate running. “I used to be the only medium and long distance runner in my office.

Now I’m the third fastest 10k runner and that’s not because I’ve become slower. People have become faster and faster, which is a positive sign,” he shared. Following the panel discussion was a mock relay race with two members to a team doing two laps each around the hotel garden.

Despite the mid-afternoon heat, the participants were sportive and enjoyed a quick sprint before running in for lunch.

Puma Urban Stampede (Bangalore) takes place on August 3. For registrations, visit www.urban-stampede.com

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