Their hearts beat for Mumbai

The spirit of some marathon runners, like heart patients, will put your lazy bones to shame on Sunday

By Snigdha Rajgarhia

If the thought of a Sunday morning spent running nearly 42 km makes your stomach churn and leaves your muscles sore, think again. The spirit of some marathon runners, like heart patients, will put your lazy bones to shame on Sunday.

Surendra Dasadia (66) and Dhananjay Yellurkar (48), who underwent bypass surgeries in 2009, are participating in the Half Marathon and Full Marathon respectively this year. While Dasadia participated in the Dream Run in 2011, Dhananjay has participated in the Full Marathon in New York (November 2010) and Berlin (September 2011). Dhananjay says, “I started running only after my surgery. My two children are rooting for me to finish the run successfully. I have been running about 60 km a week to train for the Full Marathon.”

P Venkatraman (55), who underwent a bypass surgery in 2007, has been running the Half Marathon distance of 21 km every month for two years. He is the first heart patient to have become a pacer for the three-hour bus in 2011 and had finished with a timing of 2:59:29. This year too he will be the pacer for the same slot. “I enjoy giving first-time runners the thrill of completing their first Half Marathon in three hours,” he says.

Advised to cut down on sugar and fried food to the bare minimum, these heart patients have been following regular diets in the run-up to the marathon. While cheese and fats are a strict no-no, wholesome home food is a preferred choice. The runners are hoping that the cool weather conditions continue in the city on Sunday so that they can complete the marathon smoothly.

Training 90-odd people with heart diseases, Dr Ashish Contractor, head of department, preventive cardiology & rehabilitation, Asian Heart Institute, is extremely encouraging towards his patients who aspire to run the marathon. “We judge their basic fitness levels and then put them through a cardiac rehabilitation programme. Through the training, each one inspires the other and we encourage everyone to at least participate in the Dream Run.”

Jayanti Shukla, executive director of NGO United Way of Mumbai, said: “Several NGOs that support causes related to ailments have registered.”

Source: TNN

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