Today we will be profiling the fastest distance runner of Manipal University. Dakshesh is to Manipal, what Mo Farah is to British athletics. His half marathon time stands at around an hour and thirty minutes and he has an innate capability to run a 4 min/km pace and win a race anytime you tell him. Apart from this, he’s a hard worker at whatever he does and an overall fun guy to be around.
MRC: How did you get into running?
DP: It is said that Kenyans are born runners, it is in their blood. Being a Kenyan citizen and seeing running talents all around it didn’t take long for me to be an active participant. My experiences began with short distance events during sports days. In high school, long distance events were included and so were cross country events. Yet, stamina was not on my side (because I didn’t train) and I was just that average finisher. However, that changed when I started regular cardio training. Signing up for the 2008 Nairobi Standard Chartered 10km Marathon was my first ever run at such a medium. Having achieved the finishers medal felt like an accomplishment and got me hooked to try on more marathons and long distance events.
MRC: What has been your motivation to keep running?
DP: It all starts within. Building will power and self-motivation is where is begins. Sometimes it feels as if it is boring, stressful and tiring. Foreseeing the outcomes makes it easier to overcome these petty issues. Not only does it rejuvenate the mind and body but keeps one focused and healthy too. Moreover it helps me get through and forget the daily struggles of life. These are few things that one definitely needs to achieve for relaxation. Another stage of motivation is being a role model to others. When people get inspired and tell me that they too want to be fitter and healthier and maybe loose a few pounds, it in turn inspires me to never give up running.
MRC: What is your training like?
DP: Waking up early in the morning and going for a run daily only works well when there is a partner or a group to train with. However, regular running and a balanced diet is all a part of the training. I always make an effort to go for a run whenever I can. At least 3km (not daily but regularly) helps maintain stamina levels. Speed training is always on the track; I try various sprinting techniques over a longer range of distance and time than a sprint, sometimes even competing with the sprinters to see the scope of improvement. Activities like football and swimming also help in my training indirectly. T-25 is a workout regime that I follow at home that again helps me with speed and endurance.
MRC: What are your running achievements?
DP: Podium finishes and record breaks are the least considerable achievements during my running career. Building my will power is amongst the top of my running achievements. I have learnt how to take my body to its limits and beyond and that has only been possible with increased will power. Making new friends is another thrilling achievement. Not only do new talents inspire me but they get the best motivation out of me. Furthermore, it is these competitors who become close friends and make every event a joyful one. Being an inspiration to others makes it one of the biggest accomplishments in my life. Many folks – sometimes even complete strangers – approach me and ask me about my workout regime and how they are inspired to take up running in their daily routine makes me feel like I am definitely making an impact on their lives for their betterment. The ultimate achievement is making everyone, who believes in me, proud. With various levels of hope, it isn’t an easy task to make someone proud, hence it’s a very high accomplishment to do the same.
MRC: How is it training like in your hometown? And how is it training with the Kenyans?
DP: Pleasant weather, greenery all around and enthusiastic people makes running a reforming sensation. The environment has a feel that makes me immediately want to just be out there and experience the roads, forests and scenery at large. Training in Nairobi has helped my body adapt to various terrain conditions. Running among kenyans makes me want to push myself to the limit. Everyone seems to put their 100 percent in day to day training be it for long or short distance, young or old runners. The interest keeps increasing with everyone’s presence.
MRC: What goes on in your mind while running a half marathon, especially a pace such as yours?
DP: During a half marathon, I tend to keep my mind focused and not to deviate from anything else but the journey. I always intend to improve timing I tend not to think about pain during a run and keep moving at a constant pace instead of a slower one. For me the first and last 5 km tend to be the fastest during the race and that is when focus levels are the maximum. Obviously, some people may say you shouldn’t go fast in the start of the race, but this is my technique and works well for me. To make the remaining 11 km a smooth transition, finding a partner to run with is my aim. Motivating each other not to slow down is the ultimate technique. I am not used to drinking water during a race but I do need water to cool down my body so I tend to take water only for pouring over my head. Whenever my body gives me a sign that it needs rest, I always tell myself that rest can be done after the race for as much time as I want and I push on.
MRC: What are your future goals in running?
DP: Once a runner, always a runner. Honestly, I don’t know where my future in running lies, but every opportunity that calls for a run shall be undertaken. Be it competition or just running for fun, i shall indeed try my best to participate every time.
MRC: What advice would you give to someone new to running?
DP: Getting your body to travel the distance isn’t always fun and entertaining, upon the thought of regular long distance training. However, it can be made so. Choosing scenic locations and a really enthusiastic partner/group to go on a run with makes the journey much simpler and easier to get through. Also doing it on a regular basis makes one more confident and satisfied.
MRC: Your favourite motivational quote?
DP: There’s this one quote that gets me on my feet and my heart pumping even faster than after a run.
Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.
[More info on Speed Training here]