From start to finish

Neville J. Bilimoria runs, not only for fitness, but also for a cause.

Fitness was not new to Neville J. Bilimoria, the man behind Dawn to Dusk (D2D) Marathon, the third largest event of its kind in Tamil Nadu. A professional rower, it was through rowing that he got into running and cycling.

“I started running in 2010, beginning with 10 km and then going on to run full marathons. Dawn to Dusk started after I did 12 marathons over 12 months and ran in different places across the world. I saw people raising funds through marathons and I thought, why not do the same in India,” he says. D2D is in aid of Bal Sanjeevani, a rehabilitation centre for children affected with cerebral palsy.

From the first edition of Dawn To Dusk in 2012 to the current one, scheduled on January 5, 2014, Neville has been happy, raising funds for a cause. “I believe in giving back to society,” he says. “I believe that if you do something in good faith, things fall into place. What started off small in 2012, this year got 4,500 registrations, thanks to the running groups who have joined in and the D2D team. Shankar Lal Patel (Chennai Runners), Shahul Hameed, (Dream Runners), Peter Van Geit (Founder of Chennai Trekking Club), Durai Murugan (Chennai Trekking Club) and Imran Pasha have been a great team,” he says.

So which has been the most challenging marathon so far? “It was the one I ran at Colombo. I met with an accident while helping a fellow runner. I thought I wouldn’t complete the race. But I made it to the finish line. The most beautiful was definitely the San Francisco marathon,” says Neville, who is an immigration specialist by profession.

“It is a nine-to-five job. I wish I had 10 more hours to do everything. But I take time out and go running in the night to ensure that I don’t miss my runs and also make sure that I get enough rest,” he explains.

A popular face in the running circuit of Chennai, Neville has inspired many people to lace up and hit the road, “even those who haven’t played any sport at all,” he says. “Some of them now go to different places to run marathons. Recently, a friend of mine ran a marathon in Singapore,” he says, proudly.

He is also encouraging children to run. “The best thing about D2D is that the entire family can take part in the events. We have a children’s run that has the largest number of registrations and is breaking records. But I am not worried about records. If a child takes part and feels good running for a cause, I think it’s worth it!” says Neville, who is also a part of the Madras Cosmopolitan Round Table 94 and received the Super Randonneur medal from the Madras Randonneurs.

With 2014 just around the corner, what are his plans for the New Year? Neville’s message is simple: “Keep believing in yourself,” he finishes.

( Source : dc )
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