India’s first amputee distance runner Major DP Singh (Retd) said disability makes us think that we cannot do anything. A day after he took part in the 2016 Delhi Half Marathon, 42-year-old Singh was in Chandigarh Monday to announce his new initiative Swachh Ability Run, an event which will see runners and students take part in 3-km and 10-km runs in seven cities including Chandigarh starting November 27. From being grievously injured in the 1999 Kargil war to becoming India’s first amputee marathon runner when he ran the Delhi Half Marathon in 2009, Singh has run in 18 marathons in his running career.
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“Being active is the biggest answer to disability and that’s what I try to do. Initially when I ran, there were some challenges I faced due to the non-availability of artificial blades. But due to the Indian Army’s Artificial Limb Centre in Pune, the first pair of blades were imported in India in 2011. It was the same year when I formed a running group — The Challenging Ones. A total of 1,150 amputees are in the group and more than 150 are into marathon running. 11 new amputees took part in the Delhi marathon earlier this week from our group,” shared Singh.
The 1999 Kargil war saw the then 25-year-old Singh being badly injured when he suffered shrapnel injuries which meant his right leg was amputated and more than 40 shrapnels still embedded in his body. Singh also suffered partial hearing loss apart from being operated for stomach injuries and partial removal of intestine. In 2009, Singh ran the Delhi Half Marathon in three hours and forty minutes and ran the same event in 2012 in two hours and 26 minutes. Singh would also return with his best timing of two hours and ten minutes in 2014 apart from taking part in Terry Fox Run in Canada in 2014 and two high altitude runs in Sangla and Leh.
“Running is an activity which requires almost nil infrastructure and it supplements other activities. In recent years, we have also seen this as a networking tool for the corporate sector as well as general public. Training your mind as well body is the key for marathons. Marathon running sets the pace for character as well and it aids the physical endurance as well as mental endurance,” shared the athlete.
The last five years have also seen Singh raising awareness about blade running in India and the veteran has also been supported by the Indian Army in his endeavours. Singh is also a four-time recipient of Limca Book of Awards honour.
“The biggest problem is making of the right prosthesis. Initially, I suffered injuries with the new blades. It would happen again and again. But, then my focus was how to ignore those injuries and adjust. In other countries like Canada, blades are procured through insurance. But that’s not the case in India. We have to pay on our own,” opines Singh.
The Chandigarh leg of the run will be held on November 27 at 7.00 am at Chandigarh Club and the participants can take part in 3-km and 10-km runs. The participation fee for the 10-km run is Rs 150 and 3-km run is Rs 100 for the general public.
The registration of the event can be done at http://www.swachhabilityrun.com and at J K Cements Office in Sector 22. After Chandigarh, the cities of Ambala, Kurukshetra, Karnal, Panipat, Sonipat and Noida will see the run and the event will culminate in Noida on December 4.
“We would start the event in Chandigarh on November 27. The specially abled veterans and school students can participate in the event for free and on finishing the run, participants are also required to clean the area and the local school students can take part in the areas’ cleanliness drive,” added Singh.