Nitin Abhinav is a fresh Post-Graduate from MCODS, Manipal. Though newer to distance running than our other Veterans, he’s got a fire inside him which burns equally bright as them. With an avid interest in sports, he’s not merely a spectator. This guy’s got big plans for the future, both in the field of medicine and the track. Read on to know him better:
MRC: How did you get started with running?
NA: For me, running was initiated at an early age when I used to accompany my dad on his morning runs. The second innings in running, though, began as a rehabilitative exercise. While contesting in an intercollegiate football ( first love) tournament I was involved in a freak collision resulting in complete tear of the anterior cruciate ligament. It is the worst possible injury that can happen to an athlete as one has to undergo a ligament reconstruction surgery followed by a year’s rehab (walking with normal gait takes 3 months in itself). I took solace in running to keep me fit, strengthening the leg which had become half its size due to disuse atrophy and could not even withstand the smallest of waves by the sea. Slowly but surely running turned from a means to keep fit to becoming a joyous adventure leading into a new passion.
MRC: What got you into distance running?
NA: The rigors of an arduous post-graduate programme limited my fitness to a few irregular sessions of running and swimming to keep myself in some semblance of shape. During this time it so happened that I chanced upon banner of the Udupi half marathon organized by Syndicate bank while travelling to work at the TMA Pai hospital,Udupi.
Having not run that distance ever, with no specific training, I decided to test my limits, and eventually ended up finishing the half marathon in 2hr 16 minutes in the middle of the pack. I was thrilled at completing the race in a decent time and it got me hooked to the sport .
MRC: What motivated you?
NA: Just before the Udupi Half Marathon happened news of Milind Soman completing the grueling Switzerland Ironman at the ripe age of 50 made headlines. Being an ardent fan of Triathlon, it was heartening to see the sport getting recognition in the country. It gave me belief that I can also do it. Long distance running was the first step towards the ultimate goal.
MRC: Who’re the people who inspire you?
NA: Milind Soman, Anu Vaidyanathan who is India’s first Ultraman triathlete, James Lawrence who holds the Guiness record for completing 50 Ironman triathlons in 50 days. Emil Zatopek and Scott Jurek , elite long distance runners and the people at MRC.
MRC: Being a student of Medicine, where studies are all-consuming and pressures are immense, how did you manage to keep running?
NA: The endurance bug unfortunately bit me at the time when the pressure of studies were taking their toll.But i guess if one is really possessed he will find a way to manage it. I personally used running as a reward for a good day at studies. That way it benefited both the things.
MRC: What’s your regular running routine?
NA: Prior to running the half marathon I had no idea about, speed drills, tempo runs, hill runs etc.,. I just ran 4-5 times a week with Sundays going for a longer run. Having just completed my Post-graduation, I am looking forward to follow a structured running pattern which include the above mentioned along with triathlon training.
MRC: What have your achievements been so far?
NA: Unlike my companions in the MRC who are all runners of fair repute the only achievements I can boast of is completion of my second half marathon in 2hr 20 ( disappointed at no improvement) which I had run on antibiotics,with a temp of 1020 C the night before. It further strengthened my belief that an iron will can achieve anything you want.
MRC: Whats it like running in your hometown?
NA: I live close to a cantonment area in Hyderabad, so running through those stretches always guarantee you fresh air and the company of army jawans running in full kit. It is inspiring and refreshing at the same time.
MRC: People you met through running?
NA: The biggest plus for me is being a part of Manipal Runners Club. The few who I got to know are Shameem, Rohit, Ayush, Ganga , Gajendra, Siddharth, Prakhar , Ankita, Dakshesh who are all brilliant runners with other athletic feats. Running with them has been an overwhelming experience. Their dedication instills in you a sense of wanting to constantly improve, come what may!
MRC: What are your long-term goals?
NA: To complete an Ironman triathlon and a 100k ultra.
MRC: What advice would you give to new runners?
NA: Running or any physical activity for that matter is a holistic pursuit which requires proper nutrition and recovery besides the activity itself. The earlier one embraces it the better.
MRC: What are some quotes which inspire you?
When you run on the earth and with the earth, you can run forever – Raramuri (running tribe) proverb
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step – Lao Tzu