'I can't imagine a life without running'

'I can't imagine a life without running'

'I can't imagine a life without running'

Forty three-year-old Arun Bhardwaj set foot for the first time in Kargil, wanting to run a marathon from Kargil to Kanyakumari covering 6,000 kms in 60 days. This, he successfully completed in the given time.

“When I set foot in Kargil and met the army explaining to them that I wanted to pass through Leh, the first question they asked me was whether I could survive such strenuous conditions. They said that it is impossible for an ordinary man to pass this test but I was sure, I could and I did it,”  he tells ‘Metrolife. Arun was in the City for a 12-hour running marathon.

Arun says running is perhaps the easiest thing, “I can’t imagine a life without running,” he asserts. But this is not something Arun imagined for himself when he was in school. Going by his medical history, till his college days he weighed just 36 kg and malaria kept coming back till he was 18 years old.

But he decided to fight the illness rather than let the illness take over, “I began running when I was 30 years old. I started it because I wanted to inspire my kids and I wanted them to feel that their father was special,” confesses Arun.

He vividly recollects that his biggest marathon was fraught with a lot of trouble, “There was heavy snowfall and the weather wasn’t great. I had to negotiate really tough terrains and the temperature was freezing. It was 1000ft above sea level and there were times I would struggle to catch some oxygen,” he adds. Arun has also completed the six-day George Archer marathon in South Africa.

Arun’s children — Arjun, Sofia and Arunima have also caught onto the passion of running, “The first thing that my son told me after I returned from the Kargil to Kanyakumari run was that he would be the next one to break that record. I couldn’t have asked for a better response,” he reasons.

Arun’s wife Sangeeta accompanied him to the City and she says, “When he first told me that he wanted to travel 6000 km by foot, I tried my best to dissuade him because I was in the family way. But back then, he was so passionate about running that he refused to listen to me.

Now looking back, had he listened to me, he wouldn’t have been able to achieve so much for the country. We are proud of him,” says Sangeeta. She makes sure she helps Arun eat right, “He is a hard core vegetarian and is disciplined when it comes to eating. He refrains from eating fried food and stays away from parties and weddings. He prefers home-cooked food,” she adds.

Arun states that he doesn’t compromise on his food and exercise, “If you shut your house for two days and return, there’s a certain smell isn’t it? It’s the same logic with people who doesn’t exercise, they fall ill very often. You must eat right and exercise to keep healthy,” he sums up.