"There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” - Nelson Mandela
Gautham is a person who has not settled for less but has been chasing his passion of marathon running. Marketer by profession and a marathon runner by passion, his acquaintance with running began in his college days- from the frequent punishments to run from one end to another from his NCC staff. Presently, he is part of the Pacemakers group and has participated in five full marathons, 22 half-marathons, 5 TCS W10Ks, 1 ultra 50K. Marathon running is not only his passion, but also something that his family including his wife, sister, and brother-in-law share. Along with them his pet dog also loves to join them during their runs.
Gautham along with his best friend (who gave him company during his NCC punishments as well) used to register for the 5K runs and found it a struggle to finish. He recollects his practice sessions at Sankey Tank in Malleshwaram, Bangalore, where they would start one or two months prior to the date of the race and run for 1 or 2 km for a few days a week. This was invariably followed by 'hogging' at the nearby Idly Store. Their maiden attempt in running a 10k was at the majja run which they finished in 1hour 19 minutes and were happy about the result as well.
After running around ten 10k and 12k runs, He participated in his first long distance run in the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon in 2010, in which he clocked 2 hours 2 minutes and still considers that as a special record which he took a long time to break. His full marathon following the Delhi experience was the Singapore Full Marathon. Until then, Gautham was not under any formal training nor guidance, and then began to be guided by his close friends in the US, who were getting trained in marathon running. With their help and guidance, along with an Ironman Watch gifted by them which tracked his running, he recollects painful training sessions for the Singapore Marathon, where he clocked 5 hours and 36 minutes. Post this marathon, Gautham was highly disappointed with his performance in TCS and felt overconfidence and lack of professional training were the main reasons.
That’s how he joined the group Pacemakers and started getting trained by 'Kothandapani sir'. Gautham says that this training has brought about a big difference in his performance, being injury free and maintain diet plans. Talking about maintaining work and running schedules, Gautham has never felt running interrupted his schedules as his training is mostly in the mornings and he also adds that one should not find time but make time for his hobby or passion.
Gautham gets his inspiration from his coach Pani Sir, a retired Air Force personnel and also his wife, Bhashini S Gautham. His wife, an IT professional, is a cancer survivor and a runner. The fight which she put through and the will power she has always inspires him especially during tough times in life and while running.
Talking about training with family, he along with his wife and brother in law get trained together. Gautham adds that sharing the same passion among family members has eased a lot of things like maintain diet plans, training schedules, spending time with family, especially during the travel together for marathons is a lot more fun. When asked about his favorite marathon, he considers his run in Mumbai's SCMM full marathon 2014 as a special one and the reason being his wife, who came to Mumbai few hours before the start of the run as a surprise which motivated him to perform well. He recently ran the Chicago Full Marathon 2014, where he achieved his personal best timing of 3: 52 Hrs
Talking about the marathons schedules for the coming year, he has planned to train his wife for her forthcoming marathon, and he will be participating 2 full marathons and couple of half marathons along with the TCS W10K (which has always been part of his list). The goal he has set for the 2015 in terms of half marathon is completing it in 1 hour 40 minutes and full marathon is to clock in less than 3 hours 40 minutes.
As far as tips go, Gautham's advice to marathon runners is to go through proper planned training to avoid injuries. Working with Fortis Hospitals, he feels it’s necessary for a runner to know about his body and not to blindly push it to strenuous levels.
We wish him good luck for all his forthcoming marathons!