Running from adversity, all the way to inspiration

December 02, 2013 08:56 am | Updated 08:56 am IST - CHENNAI:

Devendra Pal Singh speaks to another runner at the marathon. Photo: R. Ragu

Devendra Pal Singh speaks to another runner at the marathon. Photo: R. Ragu

“Unlike a sprint, a marathon is like life – everyone cheers other people, they hold hands and help one another. Every time you reach the finish line, you feel like you have conquered your mind. There can be nothing more inspiring than that.”

Devendra Pal Singh, India’s first blade runner and an inspiration for many at the Wipro Chennai Marathon on Sunday, summed up the essence of marathon running and its spirit.

A war-hero who took to running on prosthetics, Mr. Singh is a competent athlete after losing his right leg in a near-death experience as a soldier in the Kargil war.

Besides enduring months of a gruelling routine of running and physical exercise, a structured diet and building mental strength, he also worked on procuring the perfectly-sized prosthetic.

“Every time I ran with my old prosthesis, the socket strapped tight to my skin made it bleed. I had to bandage it for 15 days,” he said.

In 2011, the army helped him with a running limb – blade prosthesis. “In the Delhi marathon, I saw a wheelchair-bound person waving at me and I knew I was on the right track,” said Mr. Singh.

Ten marathons later, Mr. Singh says he has come to truly believe in the spirit of running together.

Magdalene Grace, an occupational therapist intern with Christian Medical College, Vellore said the patients who ran had been building their stamina for the event for many weeks now. “The completion of the marathon is an indication of their abilities. It has boosted their confidence in many ways,” she said.

Nearly 50 doctors and physiotherapists of the hospital also ran the marathon.

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