A 75-yr-old man's 'race' against age

A 75-yr-old man's 'race' against age

Fifteen months ago, when Y S Rajendra Kumar’s son proposed that he take up running, the 75-year-old man brushed it aside. Wasn’t he too old to run?

After initial hesitance, Kumar decided to check it out for himself and today, he stands as an inspiration for the growing number of running enthusiasts.

The septuagenarian from Bengaluru recently completed his first half marathon (21 km). That approximately amounts to a distance from MG Road to Kengeri.

Reaching the finish line in less than 2.5 hours, Kumar has performed better than what average runners in their 20s could accomplish.

It was sheer will power that drove him to participate in the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon (SCMM) held on January 19 in Mumbai.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Kumar said, “My son introduced me to running in September 2014. My initial reaction was that I could not do it at this age. In the first two to three sessions, I got exhausted for short distances. But I persisted.”

Kumar soon found out that his respiratory problems had also got cleared because of running. This motivated him to run on a regular basis. Within three months, he participated in the ‘Ajmera Thump!’ run and ran a distance of 10 km.

He was the second runner-up in his category and was awarded a medal for his accomplishment. He later participated in the 10K run for Calgary Marathon, Canada, and stood fifth in his category.

Kumar’s son Darshan Jain, who is also a runner, suggested to him to participate in half marathon. “I initially told my son not to enrol my name for the SCMM event. However, I came back and asked my coach for an assessment. He opined that I could take it up.”

 What more, when he went to a doctor for a checkup, ahead of the event, he was in for a pleasant surprise. “The doctor told me that even though I was 75 years old, my body’s age was that of a 54-year-old!” he added.

In the half marathon in Mumbai, he aimed to complete the run within 3 hours. His grandson encouraged him to set a target for 2 hours and 40 minutes. He eventually managed to complete it within 2:28:52 seconds. Kumar, who runs with the Jayanagar Jaguars group, attributes his success to his coach Pramod Deshpande.

He also feels that long-distance cycling in his younger days and regular yoga and pranayama have kept his body fit. He is now looking forward to taking part in the Bangalore Marathon this year.

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