Written by Sharon Thomas
“I want to do the best with a borrowed heart”, said Rupayan Roy, a 44-year-old heart transplant survivor. Roy, who started running long distance races after the transplantation in 2016, is currently preparing in his hometown Kolkata for the Tata Mumbai Marathon, to be held on January 20. Last year, 35,000 runners had participated in the marathon. “I have been a sports enthusiast since childhood. After the transplantation, my doctor encouraged me to run marathons and I have never felt the zeal ceasing,” Roy said. He started his journey in 2017 by participating in BSF marathon in the 5 km category. Subsequently, he participated in many marathons, including the 21-km category in Airtel run for education and 25-km category in Tata Steel Kolkata Marathon.
“Marathons are less about speed and more about endurance. It is a template of discipline, dedication, persistence and character. Health and happiness are essential, prime movers to a good life and marathons keep us both healthy and happy,” he said.
At 86, Byhahalli Janardan will be the oldest runner in men’s category in the Mumbai Marathon this time. “After being diagnosed with epilepsy in 1977, it changed my life in many ways. But I took it as a challenge to go on running,” said Janardan. He has participated in numerous marathons, treks and also stair-climbing competitions, including one at Mumbai’s Kohinoor Square, where he climbed 52 storeys — 1,250 stairs — in 8 minutes 52 seconds.
Kmoin Wahlang, at 71, will be the oldest woman runner and is preparing in her village in Shillong. It’s Wahlang’s first marathon outside Shillong. She had previously participated at Guwahati Pinkathon and SBI Green Marathon.
Amarjeet Singh Chawla (63) is preparing to run his 101st half marathon at the Mumbai marathon. Visually impaired, Chawla had participated in one of the world’s most difficult treks in China’s Dolma pass.