Mumbai Sport

Running man

Milind Soman has been focused on spreading the credo of exercise, health and fitness with a single-mindedness towards facilitating a better lifestyle for women. Photo: Vijay Bate  

Milind Soman has made running a habit, and for a good cause. A champion breaststroke swimmer in the 1980s and National champion for almost half a decade during that time, the Glasgow-born Maharashtrian quickly engaged with the modelling and Bollywood world, and made a name for himself. Vicissitudes of life or otherwise, Soman has of late been focused on spreading the credo of exercise, health and fitness with a single-mindedness towards facilitating a better lifestyle for women, and creating breast cancer awareness.

Soman founded the ‘Pinkathon’ — an all-women running event in 2012 — and ever since the first 10 km run in Mumbai, nearly 65,000 women from all walks of life have sustained the ‘Pinkathon’ movement in eight cities. On Wednesday, the 50-year-old Soman began the exacting 600 km Ultramarathon from Siddhivinayak Temple (Shivaji Park) to Panaji, Goa. He will have the company of two ‘Pinkathon’ ambassadors, Inderan Pal Khalsa and Jayraman Rankawat, and National skating champion Rana Uppalpatti.

The group will complete the first 60 km distance at Karnala, from where they will restart the second stage on Thursday. The route will take them past Pali, Lonere, Bharna Naka, Chiploon, Hath Khamba, Rajapur, Kankauli, Sawantwadi, and Mapusa before the final destination at Panaji on April 16. The Mumbai-Goa Ultramarathon is the second biggest endurance event Soman has taken part in a little under 10 months; last July, he completed the tough Ironman Triathlon in Zurich, Switzerland. The event involves swimming over a distance of 3.8 km, cycling 180.2 km and running 42.2 km. Speaking to The Hindu about the Ultramarathon, Soman, who ran the 1500 km Delhi-Mumbai Greenathon four years ago, said they will average 60 km a day, checking only their blood pressure and nothing more before starting the run.


Why the Mumbai-Goa Ultramarathon

We are running the 600 km Ultramarathon basically to promote an event called ‘Goa going Pink’ on April 17 in Panaji. It’s an all-women event. It was the idea of our ‘Pinkathon’ ambassadors, Inderan Pal Khalsa and Jayraman Rankawat, to run the city-to-city Ultramarathon. Many of our ambassadors run this city-to-city event now. On March 6, a girl (Spoorthi Seethamma) was part of a team that ran the Bangalore to Hyderabad Ultra. They also ran 60 km everyday.

Run by common people

The runners are not professional athletes; they are all common people with regular jobs. They like to get ahead of themselves and show the world what they are capable of doing for a cause. Normally, one would think that running 600 km over a period of 10 days may be difficult, but they are doing it. Spoorthi had done only one 42 km run before the Bangalore-Hyderabad Ultra. She suddenly decided to take up the challenge and run it. A lot of people discouraged her saying she has not done enough running, but she completed it quite comfortably.

On the coastal road route

We will be following the coastal road right up to Sawantwadi, and from there enter Goa. Most of the run will be on the highway. There are a couple of ghat sections though. We will finish each day at around 3 or 4 pm after running during the hottest climes of the day.

Running barefoot

I never wear shoes. If the road is bad, I wear sandals. I find barefoot running more comfortable. Inderpal will run 90 per cent of the distance barefoot. Jayaraman is going to wear shoes. He’s not used to running barefoot. I have not had blisters for five years. Your foot gets adapted to the conditions.

The preparations

It’s all about mental endurance. One can prepare very well for a one-day event. But for an event spread across 10 days, it requires mental preparation for getting up at 4.30 am and running for 8 to 10 hours a day. I have done the full marathon and run from Bangalore to Mysore, and Delhi to Mumbai. So, I know what it takes physically.

Mental conditioning

It’s about wanting to do something. It’s like a daily metaphor, like planning for a normal day and doing various things. So, you plan similarly for an event of a different nature; it becomes symbolic of that. We will not have a doctor as part of the travelling crew because we have the experience of running long distances. But we will have a physiotherapist.

Walking too!

Twenty per cent of the entire distance will be walked. You have to walk or stop to drink water...and when it’s a little hot, you might as well walk.

Diet plan

No diet plan as such...non-vegetarian will be restricted to eggs. We will go light as that is easy on the stomach, but a little high on carbo. We will eat local stuff, things like khichdi. I like it. Bananas and idlis are light. I really don’t carry anything; some carry a water bottle. The crew cart will have plenty of fruits, dry fruits, water, ghee and jaggery.

Late-evening activity

Nothing is structured. But we will impress upon the locals about physical fitness and cancer awareness. The idea is to develop a culture of health, fitness and exercise.

Lessons learnt

Ultramarathon teaches you a lot about your capability, mindset and beliefs. It will test your mental facilities. You have to keep going till you get there.

Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jan 27, 2022 12:12:14 AM |

Next Story