On The Run | Tanvir Kazmi

Tanvir Kazmi runs the largest online forum for runners in the National Capital Region, Delhirunners.com, and is a veteran of 11 marathons, three ultra marathons and nine half marathons. He also runs a blog, Runinfinity.com, which collates running-related news from around the world. The 37-year-old, Delhi-based software developer with Cadence Design Systems began running marathons in 2005, and is as active online as he is on the road. He says 68 people from his company (out of 800-plus employees) will participate in the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon on Sunday. He shares his running story. Edited excerpts:

When and why did you get hooked to running?

I was always into running during my school days, but nothing since. In 2005, our office Cadence Design Systems organized time-management training for us, and as part of that, we were asked to choose a goal and create a plan to reach that goal. Doing a “marathon" just came up magically. That was also the year of the first Delhi half marathon. And that’s how it happened, my first half marathon.

What’s your running gear?

I have a pair of my favourite Adidas running shoes. I like to run with my GPS-enabled Garmin Forerunner watch, which helps keep track of my distance and speed. I don’t carry an iPod as I like to focus on the surroundings rather than the music.

What’s your regular training routine like?

The weekly runs at the start of a 12-week training plan for a half marathon start with typically 5km runs, four times a week, and a weekend long run starting at 6km. Over a period of two months, this builds up to 8km on the weekdays, and 16km on the weekend. The mileage starts dropping three weeks before race day. I occasionally do a bit of weight training for my upper body. While running, your hands and shoulders play a very important role in the forward movement, and it is important to do strength exercises for them specifically. Training plans for a full marathon typically span 18 weeks.

What do you like and dislike about running in Delhi?

I love running in outdoor locales. My favourite places to run in Delhi are Nehru Park in Chanakyapuri, Jahanpanah City Forest, and Deer Park/Rose Garden in Hauz Khas.

What kind of diet do you follow on race days (pre-, during, and post-race)?

I believe in having natural food and avoid any form of artificial supplement. Before the race, I have some light food an hour or more before the run, like a banana, a couple of toasts with peanut butter and some fruit juice. During the race, I drink Gatorade or an ORS (oral rehydration solution) frequently, but in small quantities, to ensure that the body is well hydrated through the run. It’s party time after the race, and anything goes.

What’s the most challenging race you’ve run?

Without any doubt, the Comrades Marathon, an 89km run between the cities of Pietermaritzburg and Durban in South Africa, known as The Ultimate Human Race. It is the world’s largest ultra, with participation figures going to 20,000. It has a 12-hour cut-off, and I finished that run in 2010 in 11 hours, 56 minutes, less than 4 minutes from the cut-off. That was the experience of a lifetime! That was also the first time that any runner from India had finished that race, making it all the more special for me.

What is the dream marathon that you’d like to run?

Over the years that I have run, I have come to appreciate the challenges of running ultra marathons (races with distances exceeding 42km). Doing a 100-miler (161km) is considered the ultimate test of an ultra runner, and I would like to do that!

What’s your next marathon?

The Delhi half, of course! Right after that I’ll be doing my longest run ever, the Globeracers Bhati Lakes Race, which is a 100-mile event through the abandoned mine lakes on the Delhi-Faridabad border. This is on 6-7 October. And then in November, I will do the 24-hour run at The Bangalore Ultra.

On the Run is a series that profiles India’s most enthusiastic marathon runners. In the lead-up to the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon on 30 September, On the Run has been appearing weekly.

Also Read | Previous interviews in this series

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