I’m Abhinav Kashyap. Today I’m going to share with you my running story. This is my story of how and why I started and where I am today. From not being able to do half a round around a field to preaparig for Ultra Marathons, it's been a long journey and hope it serves as an inspiration to many more aspiring runners.
I tried to remain active, play cricket and kabbadi with my friends. I once had a paternal uncle visiting us in Kolkata who introduced me to running. He encouraged me to take rounds around a huge football field near my house.
In the beginning, it was very challenging to even do half a round without losing my breath but I slowly built my stamina and could complete 2 rounds of the field which was equal to a kilometer in diameter.
With the passage of time, I got better. Around 2003 or 2004, when I was doing my graduation, I participated in a Half-Marathon in Kolkata sponsored by Airtel. It was a 4km run and walk. I was completely thrilled to run with so many people and receive a gift hamper for participation. So I continued to practice running on and off till I finished my post-graduation in 2.
I Landed a Job and That's Where My Life Went Upside Down With Absolutely No Time to Practice.
I too slipped into a sedentary lifestyle which continued for the next few years until I realized that the only thing that was improving was my waistline. I was feeling tired and low on energy all the time, not to mention how I was becoming a couch potato. I was really struggling to get back to my fitness regime. One day my younger brother suggested that we participate in the upcoming Airtel Run. This sounded exciting to me because I was quite desperate to move out of my current situation. So I registered for my first 5k and I had friends taking part in the 10k pulling my leg for not receiving a medal. I'd had enough and signed up for my first 10k run at Tata Steel, popularly known as TSK25 in Kolkata. I earned my first medal and the journey and greed to achieve the next milestone kicked in.
My First Medal Was Followed by 2 More 10k Runs in Kolkata.
The running season had just started and I too started enjoying the thrill of running and wanted to pursue longer distances and bigger challenges both in my life and career. I also decided to move out of my cushy job and the City of Joy, Kolkata where I was raised. I moved to Bangalore, which I believed was the mecca of "running" because of great weather and a running culture.
On March 10th, 2017, I landed in Bengaluru.
I had no fixed place to stay or any concrete idea on what I would do with my career or even how would I make progress in running around the stalwarts of long-distance running. I had just quit my banking job and left my friends and family to do the same. I just started running daily around the BBMP park in Kempapura Hebbal while continuing my search for jobs in "Startup Capital of India." I registered for my first Half Marathon at Hyderabad to be held on August 19th, 2017. This marathon is considered to be the toughest city marathon in the country. I started practicing. My personal mission was to run with my brother who I started my running journey with and was supposed to join me for this Marathon.
I Prepared for My Debut Half-Marathon and Went Ahead and Earned My First Medal in the Category
But I didn't feel the same happiness since my brother wasn't able to make it to the event for being diagnosed with Dengue and hospitalized. We both felt the pain of not being able to run together at what was supposed to be our first outstation long-distance run. To make up for this, I took a challenge and promised him that we would run the next Full Marathon together and registered for the Wipro Chennai Full Marathon to be held on 3rd December 2017.
While it was a few months away, I started preparing for it although I was a bit jittery of sorts as it was my debut for a full marathon. My brother flew down from Kolkata and we met in Chennai to create my personal history. We ran together and created beautiful memories on the way. That marked the beginning of my journey into full-marathons. After that, I ran a couple of more long-distance runs including half and full marathons, continuously evolving and improving my timings.
This is just the beginning of my journey that started with one step, which was the conscious decision of getting out of my sedentary lifestyle. Today I feel much more alive and happy.
Once, it was my dream to earn medals and show who I was. Now, I have a small community of runners with whom I believe that my dream becomes theirs too. That they believe that they can run! And they are doing it!”