When the world locked down in 2020, marathon enthusiasts felt caged. Then they got thinking: This was an endurance test of another kind. How would business bosses, who were also marathoners, find ways around it?“I started running inside my house. Running from one room to another in circles may sound tedious, but I enjoyed it and completed four to five kms in a day. I also started listening to podcasts by runners to keep up my motivation,” says B Gopkumar, MD and CEO of Axis Securities, who has been a runner for more than 10 years.TRAINING THE NEW WAYArnold Su, ASUS India head, knew he wasn’t going to give up on running. “The moment lockdown started, I bought myself a treadmill to maintain my practice schedule,” he says. Training is key. Rajat Khurana, MD of ASICS India and South Asia, maintained his 30-40 kms weekly average. Most marathoners know that it helps to keep a goal in sight and maintain a strong physical shape. Dheeraj Gupta, founder and MD of Jumboking, is part of a training group called ‘Running Buddies’ that quickly moved on to practising online via Zoom sessions.The pandemic introduced Edelweiss Chairman Rashesh Shah to virtual marathons. “There are some good virtual races and apps that make it a unique experience,” he says.The restricted running habit made bosses move on — some of them to yoga. The pandemic became a good time, says Su, to concentrate on stretching. Gupta adds, “I do yoga online three days of the week, with my teacher in Shillong. Yoga has helped me get rid of all niggling body pains.” 86722203MASK MODEThe one thing that’s difficult for a marathoner is the mask. The general rule is to avoid wearing a mask while running, but to wear one when you are in a space where it’s difficult to maintain physical distance. Gopkumar, after having resumed running this year, keeps to wide open spaces. Gupta sticks to secluded spots on Sundays, while Shah and Khurana use light masks when they run in public spaces.BACK ON TRACKWhile the pandemic did teach runners to adapt, they are happy to hit the road again, now that Covid numbers are down. “Once I got fully vaccinated, I resumed training with my running buddy to prepare for the next marathon, whenever that happens. We train at least four days a week, running six to seven kms in each session,” says Gopkumar.Taiwan-based Su has a track record of three full marathons — Tokyo, Bordeaux and Prague — and more than 10 half-marathons. “I was lucky to have participated in two half-marathons in 2020 in Taiwan since there, the impact of the pandemic was low. I am part of the MW app (Marathon World), which all marathoners use to share their running plans and records,” says Su.For some though, marathons are still on pause mode. Akshay Munjal, CEO and founder of Hero Vired, now runs on a treadmill and plays tennis. “I am not training this year. I am focusing on rebuilding my stamina post Covid-19,” he says.
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