It was in 2016 that Adil Nargolwala, president of Beverly Park II, Gurgaon, won a place for himself in the Limca Book of Records for running as many as 39 long-distance races.
A passionate runner, this 47-year-old man working in the corporate world as the head of recruitment at WNS, a global business process management (BPM), and leader of WNS sports, has motivated many to take up running, and gets full support from the organisation to pursue his passion.
Nargolwala has had a great experience with international marathons too. His calendar is chock-a-block with marathons — Tokyo in February, Boston in April, followed soon after by London and Berlin in September, Chicago in October and New York in November.
One of the first things that Nargolwala rues is the great confusion that people have between runs and marathons.
“I have a good laugh when I see Facebook updates and tweets that announce things such as ‘5 km marathon completed’," says Nargolwala. "You see, a full marathon is 42.2 km."
No wonder the 21-km Airtel marathon is called a half-marathon.
Talking about the history of fitness and runs, he informs how in the West during the 1960s, unhealthy habits such as smoking were in vogue in the advertising and film industries. Soon medical research started to highlight their ill effects and the scenario changed.
“It was during this period that gyms started mushrooming and running became a global health decision," explains Nargolwala. "When I was in school, the only marathon that took place in India was the ‘Rath’ marathon. I also remember the marathon at 1982 Asiad Games.”
With time, Nargolwala started participating in as many runs as possible. According to him, “The marathons abroad are organised well, ensuring nothing fails.”
“Boston has had a rich history of organising marathons for the past 121 years," says Nargolwala. "The marathons abroad resemble carnivals. The world's six major marathons have huge crowds of people, cheering thousands of runners as they pass through the city streets. New York's marathon is the grandest — there are over a million people cheering 50,000 runners along.”
He further adds, “Being a city with loads of universities, the Boston marathon witnesses throngs of students cheering the runners. You will see young girls with attractive catchy banners come and give a peck to the runners and continue cheering them enthusiastically.”
As per Nargolwala, people abroad not only go all out to cheer runners, but also help them in every possible way.
Most of us don't know it, but all marathons do not take place in similar terrains. There's a lot of variety.
Nargolwala explains, “For instance, one of the marathon paths in Africa is through a safari, and as you may have guessed, there are several wild animals around. It must be so exciting! Another unique experience for runners is, I'm sure, an Antarctica marathon, where it's practically running on ice at -30°C! Boston has a curvy track and Berlin has the flattest.”
The marathons involve a lot of preparation and expenses, such as booking hotels, travel, registration, coping with jet lag, and adjusting the body clock. “Though it is believed that one hour of time difference is equal to one day, the jet lag disrupts your routine. It is difficult to cope with," says Nargolwala.
So what's next in line?
Nargolwala aims to become a member of the 7 Continents Marathon Club and intends to break his personal best in the Limca Book of Records.