Of late, there has been an increased focus on health and work-life balance. Some people devote 15-20 min daily in yoga, some people prefer to jog (slow pace) for about 30 min every day and some people do some other form of aerobics or exercises. But very rarely, you will find a normal person running Full Marathon (42.2 km) almost every week to keep oneself fit and that too in different foreign countries. It feels more unbelievable when you have 9-8PM office job on weekdays and it is very hard to take leaves for practice run for the Marathon.
Meet Mr. Amit Gaurav, he had recently got his name registered in “India book of records” after completing 9 full marathons (42.2 KM competitive race) in less than 3 months. He became 1st Indian, 1st Bihari and 1st NRI to do so.
He ran those races between June-Aug 2018 in extremely humid condition in south-east Asian countries. Usually, expert runners recommend a budding runner (like, Amit Gaurav) to run maximum 1-2 full marathons in 3 months. He ran these full marathons spanned across 8 cities in 4 countries (Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand & Cambodia). For these 9 full marathons, he didn't take any vacation or medical leave which is also quite remarkable.
For these nine races, he used to travel to these cities (where marathon competition was being held) either on Friday evening (after office hour) or during early Saturday morning on a highly budgeted trip. These marathon competitions are usually held on Sundays. He used to return to Singapore (his current home) after completing the race by Sunday evening (just few hours after finishing the race). 2 out of these 9 marathons, he ran with 102 F fever as well. He faced challenges in those cities because of being a strict vegetarian.
Amit, 37 years old, was born in a lower middle-class family in Bihar Sharif (a place 75km away from Patna), Bihar. Seven years ago, he moved to Singapore. Thanks to Singapore’s infrastructure and facilities, he started doing practise run (after office hour, usually by 8 pm), just to keep himself fit. He never believed that he could ever run even a 10KM race, forget about a Full Marathon run.
During early running days, he faced lots of difficulties because of his odd working hours and family commitments (married with a 3-yr old child). But soon he started managing the time well. He negotiated with his wife to let him run during the evening time (after office hour) and his wife agreed to run during the early morning time. (His wife started running recently and she has completed 10KM races and aspiring to run half-marathon soon). It was a win-win situation for both and it also ensured a minimal impact on their child (who needs constant care and attention).
Within two years after starting his jogging, he ran his 1st full marathon in 2018. After that he never looked back and so far, he had completed 20 full marathons across 3 continents, 8 countries and 17 cities. This includes 3 world marathon majors as well – New York City marathon, Chicago marathon and Berlin marathon. He is yet to run a full marathon on Indian soil (which he intends to do soon).
He does not go to gym for his practice run; neither has he used any treadmill at home. He is an investment banking professional and so far, worked for various top-notch global banks such CitiBank, Nomura, JP Morgan, BNP Paribas, Bank of Singapore, UOB, etc. He had faced intense financial difficulties during his academic years but somehow overcame it and managed to complete Engineering course (from one of the prestigious institutes – BIT Sindri). He was the first engineer in his extended family and in his locality. But he never sat on his laurels. He did 4 post-graduate courses including world-renowned CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) and FRM (Financial Risk Manager) certification courses from the USA. He did all these 4 post-graduation courses along with his full-time work. Because of his studious life-style, he never cared for healthcare and fitness. He was not physically strong since childhood so he could not do well at any of the sports. So, what triggered him to run so many marathons?
Around two years back, he suffered with an intense chest pain. Its symptom was akin to pancreatic cancer. He was very scared but when he consulted the doctors and underwent various tests, it turned out to be a gastric issue. This incident changed his perspective about the life – Don’t take things for granted. He decided to follow a balance approach between professional and personal life. He took some extra efforts to increase his stamina through running long races.
So how did he manage to sacrifice nine weekends to run those nine full marathons (which enabled him to be in India Book of Records)? He never joined any running club neither he has any running mate. He never took any coaching for running either. He credits his mother, wife, daughter and his entire family for supporting his madness about the marathon.
Another lesser known fact about him is, he offsets his expenses (for his travel during marathon) partially by stock market investment in Singapore and Hong Kong stocks. He does his own stock picking analysis. He is also working on his own Fintech start-up (related to stock market investment) parallel with his full time 9-8PM job.
After having run so many marathons, he feels that there are so many added benefits of running – healthy mind, increased immunity, being more productive at workplace, being more confident, more mentally tough and being a role-model for his whole family, friends and society.
The “Bihari” word in India is synonymous with the blue-collar workforce. He wants to change that mindset. Biharis can be investment bankers as well and at the same time, they can run a Fintech start-up and follow extreme passion of running full marathons in various foreign countries. He also wants to change the stereotype thinking (among 30-40 age group) that once you are married and have children then your own life goes for a toss.
Amit aims to complete the Six-Star world marathon majors (Berlin, Chicago, New York, Tokyo, Boston, and London) in one single year. So far, there are around 34 Indians who have completed it but no Indian has done it in a single year. He also aims to improve his completion time of full marathon (less than 3 hours) and complete seven-continent marathons (which is a prestigious achievement for any serious runner across the world). He also aims to spread awareness about the running among the working age people in India.