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Mumbai Marathon 2018

Cops on the run

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Cops on the run

It’s tough to keep healthy when your job is high-stress, with long hours and irregular times. But 95 Mumbai cops are fit enough to be running the Mumbai Marathon

January 20, 2018 11:52 pm | Updated 11:52 pm IST - Mumbai

In cartoons, Mumbai policemen often find themselves depicted with pot bellies. But at least 95 Mumbai Police personnel prove that caricature wrong. They find the time to not just stay healthy, but are fit enough to take part in the Mumbai Marathon. Seventeen are Deputy Commissioners or above, 31 are mid-level officers, and 47 are constables.

Many are regulars, focussed on improving their performance every year, like Police Inspector Sanjay Nikumbhe, head of Unit III of the Mumbai Police Crime Branch. At 53, his physique and stamina put most of his juniors to shame. “This will be my fourth marathon,” he says. “I aim to complete it within five hours.” He makes it a point to run for 20 km every Sunday, and “as much as I can on weekdays.”

Mr. Nikumbhe’s running companions at Mahalaxmi Racecourse are Inspector Deepak Chavan, Head Constable Manohar Pawar, and constables Rahul Anubhule and Dagdu Sangle, all known in the force for their passion for running.

Mr. Pawar, for instance, regularly runs marathons all over India, and has travelled to Europe at his own expense to participate in one there; he has been felicitated for his achievements by the force. He is posted with the Kandivali division of the Traffic Police. “I have been a sportsman since my college days,” he says. “I believe in staying healthy. My best timing was in the Delhi Marathon last year, where I ran 21 km in one-and-a-half hours. This year, I want to finish the full marathon in four-and-a-half hours.”

The regular runners find themselves in the position of de facto running coaches every year, when other cops take to running. The advice they offer is simple: run regularly, and follow a diet to stay in shape despite the erratic meal timings that come with the job. Mr. Sangle, who will run his fourth marathon this year, says, “I make sure I only eat home-cooked food. I used to weigh 91 kg in 2008, when I first took up running. Over the last few years, my weight has been a steady 70 kg.”

Police Inspector Ajay Sawant, who will run his second half-marathon this year, says colleagues like Mr. Nikumbhe inspired him to take up running. “I would keep hearing about achievements of colleagues my age or even older, and asked myself why I couldn’t do it if they could. I started running around a year ago, and ran the half-marathon last year. I kept training, and want to beat my timing this year.” He follows their advice on diet too. “I have a heavy breakfast with plenty of proteins, as I am never sure when I will have my next meal. And I make sure I have dinner in the evening whenever I’m working late and can’t make it home in time for dinner.”

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Detection) Dilip Sawant, who has run three half-marathons so far, hopes to run this year too. His regime is strict: “I work out in the gym four days a week, and run twice a week.”

Other senior officers running include Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Sanjay Saxena, JCP (Economic Offences Wing) Ashutosh Dumbare, and DCP Dhanajay Kulkarni, who has just returned from a one-year deputation with the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Haiti. “I was preparing for the half-marathon last year, but could not make it,” Mr. Saxena says. “I hope to be able to run this year.”

These, of course, aren’t the only cops participating. The Mumbai Marathon could not happen without the cooperation of the Mumbai Police; over 2,000 men and women from the force will be out from the early hours, ensuring both runners and spectators are safe.

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