“A poor child’s dream always is just a dream, and despite having so much in life, I feel I am still dreaming,” says Major Nitin Joshi. From selling newspapers to losing his parents when he was 21 years old, Major Joshi is not just a motivational figure but has also earned the title of ‘Army’s Iron Man’ for his daring feats.
Major Joshi is a Guinness Book of World Record holder — he ran 2,122 feet up a mountain in Junagadh, Gujarat on January 5, 2015 — India’s first reverse marathon runner and also the Ice Man, where he spent 29 minutes immersed in a pool full of 29 kilos ice. On Sunday morning, he created a record by completing Hyderabad 10k where he ran, holding the Indian national flag, sideways. “If practice makes a man perfect, I believe perfect practice makes a man even more perfect,” says Major Joshi, who wakes up every day at 3 am, does kapal bharathi (2,000 times), power yoga, runs while pushing his bicycle for 6 km, works out for 40 minutes and swims for 20 minutes. “I am the ‘Iron Man’ in quite a literal sense. In an accident I broke my left arm and now have an iron rod and nine screws keeping it in place,” jokes the 44-year-old, who is now training to become the first man in the world to walk on his hands underwater for 30 meters while holding his breath.
Explaining why he hungrily pursues such extreme challenges, Major Joshi says, “My parents were farmers and they moved to the city (Gujarat) for better job opportunities. My father was a cook and my mother a house maid. I, on the other hand, used to sell newspapers since Class IV,” he says. Major Joshi lost his mother to cancer and his father passed away as suffered a heart attack. In 1989, he was adopted by a lady (Mrs Neeru Patel), whom he met in the UK when he was selected to represent Gujarat in a cricket tournament; but with a brother and sister to take care of, making ends meet always proved a challenge. “If there is one thing I have realised, it’s that you need to be healthy not just for yourself but also for the sake of your family. I have a healthy body and I want to push myself to achieve the best. You may not always do great work, but you can do the every day things in a great manner.”
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