“There’s just no time” — that’s the most common excuse not to go for a run in the morning. But 67-year-old marathon runner B.R. Hariharan says there’s just one reason you need to want to run: Fun!
What started as a hobby in 2007 when he took part in his first half marathon, has now led to him becoming India’s second entrant into the prestigious Seven Continents Club — finishing full marathons in every continent in the world.
“It was always about fun. I began running because of a colleague of mine from South Africa who’d run these half and full marathons. I used to think that it’s something I couldn’t do, but he told me that marathon running isn’t in the legs... it’s in the head. It’s a mental game,” explains Hariharan, who completed his 91st marathon on March 12 in Antarctica.
But just fun couldn’t get him through the harsh weather of Antarctica, and Harih-aran ran a marathon in the Nilgiris in January to test the cold and uphill terrain. “On the ship to King George Island too, we’d run for one-and-a-half hours a day on the upper deck in the wind and snow to get ourselves acclimatised,” says Hariharan, adding that they also had to practise getting used to running in multiple layers of clothing.
Running with the Hyderabad Runners group, he says, is what makes the runs even more fulfilling. “How would you feel if someone came to receive you at the airport at three in the morning? Even your family sometimes wouldn’t have made that effort!” he says with a laugh, about members from the group meeting him when he returned from the Antarctica run.
His family supports him all the time, he says, but adds that his wife does sometimes complain about him needing to take it slow now that he’s in his late 60s. And with the big century mark looming, he says that he now wants to take it a little slow, and finish 100 marathons (only full ones from now on) by the end of 2017.
“The moment people turn 60, they think they have nothing to do. But age is no bar, and you should enjoy running,” he says, and adds, “You don’t run for reducing weight or for your health. Once you run for fun your point of view changes.”...