Story of Kiranpal Singh Dhody, A 62-year-old Marathon Runner

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“Aging is not ‘lost youth’ but a new stage of opportunity and strength.”
-Betty Friedan

Kiranpal Singh Dhody defines the same. He is a 62-year-old National level athlete who has numerous half and full marathons under his belt. With no formal training, and with only zeal, discipline and his running shoes, Dodhy today is a felicitated runner.

Running for a couple of years now, he lives in Mumbai with his family. He has been a health-conscious person from a young age and has been doing yoga and jogging for years. His biggest focus in life is to remain fit and healthy throughout.

HappyAging decided to speak to Mr. Dhodhy and share his journey because he personifies everything we stand for: Aging happily on your terms.

How it began 

I have always been a fitness enthusiast who was passionate about taking care of his health. I loved marathon running, so when the 1st edition of Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon (SCMM) was announced in 2004, I was happy to take part in a 42 KM run, which I completed in 5 hrs 5 mins. After that I kept participating in the event till 2010.

But in the year 2010, when I was on my business tour, I suffered from severe Cervical Spondylitis on my right arm, neck and shoulder due to lifting heavy luggage, which resulted in 15 days’ hospitalization with tractions. I was put on bed rest or else I was at a risk of suffering from a paralysis attack. I had to quit running for the next three years and I am still dealing with health issues due to that injury.

It was for my love and passion for running, I restarted my training in 2014 and started participating in the Mumbai Half Marathon from 2015 onwards.  

The routine

My ardour for running and fitness keeps me going. I have a strict health routine that I follow.

4:30 AM: Wake up
5:30 AM: Leave home
6:00 AM: Start my daily training at Sports Authority of India Kandivali (E) in Mumbai
Till 8:00 AM: Various running workouts and stretching exercises designed differently for each day
9-5 PM: My full-time job
8:00 PM: Back at home

I require little food but plenty of sleep to rest and recover. I give importance to healthy living and strongly believe in following a routine of eating right and exercising.

I believe in simple living. I meditate whenever I get time by listening to Gurbani Kirtan & Katha, which I love the most, that is the food of my soul.

Achievements

Amongst my most memorable events is the one during SCMM 2013 when I got a chance to run with Shri Fauja Singh Ji. In 2017, I got the 1st Prize from Shri Milkha Singh Ji when I won a senior citizens run held at BKC Bandra. These two legendary runners are my biggest inspiration.

 

With Fauja Singh ji

Also when Mumbai Road Runners (MRR) awarded me with the ‘Best Debutant runner of the year 2015’ at the age of 59 years; ‘Debutant’ because I started competitive running in 2015.

Last year at the National Masters Athletics Championship held in Hyderabad I got a Silver medal in 10000 M and a Bronze Medal in 5000 M run and this year also I got two Bronze Medals in Masters Athletics in Bangalore, which I regard as the highest achievements because I had to compete with the best runners of my age group from all over India.

Last year I represented India at the Asia Masters Athletics Championship held at Rugao, China and participated in 5000 M and 10000 M runs in which I came at 14th place because I found the Chinese and the Japanese much stronger than us.

With Milkha Singh ji

59 is not too late to start

When people ask me how is it that I started competitive running so late at the age of 59, then I tell them that when my ideal Shri Fauja Singh Ji, the oldest marathon runner, can start his running career at the ripe age of 89 years, then I have done it much earlier.

Diet

Right now my diet consists of mostly fruits in the morning, bhakhri roti and vegetable or dal in lunch, evening snacks consist of sprouted moong and chana, raw beetroot and raw corn. In dinner I take two glasses of carrot and beetroot juice and some dry fruits and nuts and seeds and some light cooked vegetables. 

Goals

My desire is to become the best runner India has produced in my age category and to continue living life without getting any disease. 

I am still setting goals for my life every day.

Message for youth in India

My message to the young generation is that health is the real wealth, they must come out of the virtual world and start running in the natural surroundings for a healthy lifestyle. My dream is to see a fitter India.

From almost having a paralysis attack and being bed-ridden, to being a National level athlete now, Mr. Dhodhy’s story teaches us to not let hurdles stop us from being the best version of ourselves. He is an inspiration to young and old alike and motivates us to make our health a priority irrespective of our age. As we at HappyAging say, Aarogya Sarvada: Health Forever.

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