On Sunday, by 10:30 am, for most marathoners running the full marathon, the 2015 Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon will be over. But not for Durga Lal Panwar, who at 78, will be the oldest competitor in the full marathon category at this year's edition.
Durga Lal Panwar
Panwar, a native of Kota (Rajasthan), is not new to running, and completing, marathons having finished the 2014 race with a timing of 5 hours, 55 minutes, 59 secs. In the 2013 edition, he set his best time in a full marathon clocking 05:27:27 secs. It is this timing that he wants to beat this year.
"First aur second toh nahi aa sakta, toh race puri hi kar lunga (I can't come first or second in the race, so I'll just try and finish it)," said Panwar, who compulsively walks/jogs 20-22 kms every morning from 4:30 am to 8:30 am to keep fit.
It's this prime fitness that has seen Panwar win two silver medals (10,000m and 5,000m) and a bronze (1,500m) for India at the Veteran Athletic Meet in Hong Kong in 1990 at the age of 53 besides winning the gold in the 10,000m, a silver in the 5,000m and bronze in the 1500m at the All India Veteran Athletic Meet in Bangalore last year.
The retired Kota Government College sports officer has also completed the Delhi Half Marathon four times since 2010.
It's not wonder then that son Pradeept Singh is proud of his father. "Many people in Kota know me because of father. We can't even walk 21 kms but he, even at this age, runs 42 kms," says the 35-year-old. Panwar will arrive in Mumbai on Jan 17 by Jaipur-Mumbai Superfast Express, run the marathon the next day and head back home the same night.