The runner Mumbai can rely on

A self-trained marathoner, who’s most wanted for stretches, yoga and bodily coaching at Mahalaxmi Racecourse, says his days of wrestle as home assist employee pushed him to overcome the observe

Chauhan seen coaching runners at Mahalaxmi Racecourse. Pics/Atul Kamble

Marathoner Suraj Chauhan’s morning begins when the town has briefly lulled into sleep. Starting his day with prayers at 3.30 am, a ritual he by no means skips, Chauhan heads to the Mahalaxmi Racecourse for a 25-km run. On days when he isn’t operating, he’s seen pushing others to remain on the observe.Having accomplished 121 marathons throughout the state and bagging 37 medals, Chauhan has turn out to be probably the most wanted man amongst runners on the racecourse, who search his assist with coaching and stretching. Officers from the Mumbai Police power and their relations kind the most important chunk of the 47-year-old’s fan membership.
A local of Badaun district of Uttar Pradesh, Chauhan arrived within the metropolis as an 11-year-old for a “Mumbai darshan”, however determined to remain again along with his father, Chiranjilal Chauhan, a sanitation employee in a constructing at Nepean Sea Road. After his father’s sudden demise a yr later, {the teenager} briefly moved to be along with his mom in Delhi, solely to return just a few years later. Passionate about martial arts, he enrolled at a coaching centre in Mumbai Central, whereas moonlighting as a sanitation employee to make ends meet. His tryst with the operating observe started someplace in his early 20s, after he obtained a job as a home assist on the home of an advert movie director at Nepean Sea Road. “Apart from doing the home chores, I needed to additionally take his pet canine for a spherical twice a day at Mahalaxmi Racecourse,” he says. Chauhan says he’d spend the mornings operating, regardless of his employer making an attempt to forestall him from doing so. “One day I participated in a foot race at Thane. My employer occurred to see me on the street, and publicly humiliated me, in entrance of everybody,” he says.
Suraj Chauhan, 47, who lives along with his household in a chawl in Worli, has accomplished 121 marathons and bagged 37 medals
Around this time, he was noticed by Mumbai police officer Pradeep Lonandkar, now a retired ACP, on the racecourse. “He urged I run for marathons,” he says. Since Chauhan was unlettered, Lonandkar stuffed up his kind, and that’s how he ended up collaborating in his first 21-km run, the 2013 Vasai-Virar Marathon, and that too, barefoot. “I stood second within the race, and even obtained a money prize… this gave me an enormous confidence enhance.” Chauhan continued to chase his goals, operating many extra marathons, whereas nonetheless working as a home assist. “One day, after I gained a medal, a giant {photograph} of mine obtained printed in a newspaper. My employer misplaced his cool and insulted me. He was plain jealous of my health and ambition.”  
That was the turning level in Chauhan’s life. Tired of the insults, he stop his job in 2014, and devoted all his time to coaching.  “Initially, I used to be very upset, however quickly I felt as if I had been let out from a jail.” Chauhan steadily began reaching out to fellow runners on the racecourse, providing to assist them with coaching, stretching, physiotherapy, acupressure, and yoga. He costs a small quantity for his providers. At current, he helps greater than 30 to 40 individuals each day on the racecourse.
Helping an athlete stretch
Chauhan, who lives along with his household and three kids in a chawl in Worli, admits that not having a daily wage has are available in the best way of giving his household a superb life. “I’ve no cash to purchase a flat… Medals are good for recognition, however they gained’t assist you to survive. My kids are rising and wish separate rooms to review, however I really feel helpless as I can’t do something for them,” he provides.
He nonetheless runs barefoot, as he can’t afford a superb pair of sneakers. “My toes have now turn out to be like iron…” he quips, whereas admitting that he has suffered accidents up to now. “When I used to be operating a marathon in Satara, my foot obtained badly injured. I used to be bleeding, however I didn’t realise, as my focus was on the operating observe. Later, I needed to take mattress relaxation for a month,” he provides. Retired ACP Lonandkar did supply him a pair of sneakers for operating a marathon, “however I can’t acquire my unique velocity if I run with sneakers on,” he says. Speaking with mid-day, Lonandkar says, “Suraj is an inspiration to many people, coaching at Mahalaxmi racecourse. He has made his personal profession.” 
Harshad Aherao, superintendent of Thane Central Prison, remembers injuring his knee in 2014. “Suraj beneficial some workout routines, which helped me heal. I might run a marathon quickly after,” he recollects. 
Senior IPS officer Krishna Prakash, who has run greater than 50 marathons with Chauhan, says that he’s not simply his “operating companion,” but additionally his private physiotherapist. “He will not be educated professionally or medically, however he is aware of all of the strain factors. If you are taking a physio session with him, your muscle tissues really feel relaxed.” Prakash provides, “He has learnt and honed his expertise regardless of being hit by disaster repeatedly. He really greatest represents the outdated adage, ‘the place there’s a will, there’s a approach’.”

Recommended For You