Gaurav Karjee, who stood at No 2 in the 2018 edition of 100 Days of Running leaderboard, is from Chandigarh and works as Vice President with Edelweiss Financial Services Ltd. He started his fitness journey from 1st January 2017 as a new year resolution. Until then, Gaurav had become a couch potato and had been completely out of any kind of physical activities for many years. He had decided that he had no time for any workout post his working hours. Ultimately, this started to take a toll on his health and his weight increased to 84Kgs. Since he had never been overweight before, looking at himself in the mirror started to embarrass him and he was ashamed of himself.
From someone who had no physical activity, Gaurav has come a long way; he will be completing 365 days of continuous running on 1st April 2019. His journey, from being obese to completing Ultra Marathons, is truly inspiring.
How I Started Running
Everyone needs some or other inspiration to get out of their comfort zone and take up something new. For me, the inspiration came from my company (#Edelweiss) Chairman, Mr. Rashesh Shah, who is a #marathoner and #triathlete. I looked upon him and questioned myself, if he can take out time from his busy schedule and constant travelling for his fitness, then why can’t I?
Then, one fine day, on 1st January 2017, when I was sitting alone at home and killing time by watching TV, my inner conscience woke me up and gave me the push to start investing some time for my health. It happened to be the 1st day of the New Year and coincidentally, it was a Sunday. So, I just decided and went out to my colony park and walked for an hour. This one hour that I invested in myself made me really happy and gave the positivity to continue further. This time I was determined not to give up. In between taking up these activities, I went through lot of unbearable body pains as my body was shifting from being stationery to being active. However, I was determined not to give up. I was very confident that all this pain would vanish after some time. And this is how I started my journey; this journey that started for health has now become a passion.
C25K (Couch to 5K)
During the first few months, I just walked as it was very tough for me to even run 100 meters. Then one fine day, in April 2017, I came to know that someone was organizing a 5KM run, and I decided to challenge myself by participating in it. Prior to this, I had never run even 1km on a trot. However, I did participate in this and managed to run 5KM in around 29 minutes non-stop. And believe me, the feeling which I got from this run was out of the world. Bu for the next 2 days, my ankles and foot were in deep pain. But that pain was nothing compared to the HIGH that I got post completing the 5K run. I did not let these pains halt my fitness journey and continued my passion as I believed “Lohe ko Loha hi Kaatega”.
My Journey to Full Marathon
Next I participated in a 10K race and again it was a direct shift from a 5k run to a 10K run. I managed to complete this in 60 min. Post completion of this run I slept for the entire day as I felt myself dehydrated since I did not follow any hydration strategy for the run. This run taught me a lot and I started to Google for a lot of material on running. You learn from experience, and this run gave me a lot of experience that became a stepping stone for my further journey.
During this run, I also came in contact with a running group named Weekend Runners. I saw the members of the group running in their group tees. It kind of attracted me a lot and I decided to join this group. Post this 10k run, I had planned to run my first HM in the year 2018. However, post joining #WeekendRunners , the plans of running my first HM got advanced with the support and motivation of the group members. I ran my first HM in practice with the group members in August 2017 and completed it in 2.15 hours.
Next, I participated in my first official HM in the Ludhiana HM and completed it in Sub 2 hours. I ran my first ADHM in 2017 and completed it in 1.50 hours. The ADHM 2017 is very memorable for me as I had been out of hospital just 20 days previously from a severe bout of dengue wherein my platelets had dropped to 10k level and was not getting in control; I had to undergo 5-6 units’ blood/platelets transfusion. It was a tough time as I was admitted in the hospital for 5 days., and post discharge from the hospital, my first ever ADHM was just 20 days later. Though I was not ready due to weakness, however, I was determined not to give up. There was also the clamour of high pollution level in Delhi, and there was noise all around to call this event off. However, despite all this, I decided to run it and completed it successfully. Since then, I have run a number of HM’s (official and unofficial) which I am not keeping count of.
I did my first official FM in April 2018 in the Daily World Marathon and completed in sub 4 hours.
100 Days of Running – 2018 and its Role in my Running
The next big challenge I took upon was to participate in 100 Days of Running – 2018. When I started I did not have any target in my mind. I just wanted to be regular for 100 days. But those 100 days changed everything; I saw my name in the leader board and got this fascination to see myself in the Top 100 of the leader board. This target kept on changing every few days as I started to see myself first in Top 50, then in Top 25 and then in Top 10. However, never in my wildest of dreams did I think that I would reach the No 2 position. It all happened by God’s plan; I never planned for it. I finally did 3652 Km in 100 days.
These 100 days gave me confidence to target Ultra Running. I would have never thought of doing 50km on foot but these 100 days made me realise my potential and grit. I will be completing 365 days of non-stop running on 1st April 2019. It all started with #IndianRunners monthly challenges from April 2018, went into the next level during HDOR 2018, and now I will be completing 365/365 days of running.
Life After HDOR – 2018
I did my first official Ultra of 50Km at the tough and hilly route of Shivalik. I completed this in 5.30 hours and was 4th. I next participated in the Chandigarh-to-Patiala 75K road run and completed it in 8 hours. Post this, I took up the challenge to participate in the 84km #Trailathon 2019 in tough Mangar trail which I completed in 9.10 hours and stood 3rd. Recently, in March 2019, I did #Tuffman 12 hours stadium run and officially ran 103.3Km in 12 hours.
I had never thought that I would be doing this ever even in my wildest of dreams. However, everything is falling in place with passing time. I am privileged to have the never-ending support of my family, my #weekendrunners family and many other runners who carry the same spirit. The list of these runners is long, and I won’t be able to name them here as I don’t want to miss any names. But I thank each one of them from the bottom of my heart.
What Running Means to Me
This journey, which started as a fitness journey has now become a passion. The day that I don’t run, I feel a void. Running connects me to my inner soul, it gives me a high, it takes off my stress and it recharges my batteries. Running is a kind of meditation for me. There are times when I don’t feel like running or my body starts to give up during Ultra runs. However, it’s my soul that keeps me running and hold on to the never-give-up attitude. Running reminds me that even at the weakest of moments, I can be strong.
Finally, I would like to urge people to invest in your health as this is the best investment. Take out time from your busy schedules and be determined. Once you decide to do it, you will automatically take out time for yourself; believe me each one of us has enough time.
Finally “Daudte Hai Toh Zinda Hai” – Love this quote.