Bangalore's BR Janardan, the oldest competitor in Sunday's Mumbai Marathon, makes light of his eight decades and brutal 42-km course
When Bylahalli Raghunath Janardan (82) hears the starting gun slicing through the air on what should, hopefully, be a cool, crisp Mumbai morning on Sunday, January 17, he will start off the 42-km event in the Mumbai marathon, along with 5000 others.
BR Janardan, they don't call him 'Jan, the young man' for nothing
The oldest man in the Mumbai marathon, is unfazed at the thought of competitors 50 years younger to him, jostling at the start line. "I am used to being the oldest in the numerous events I compete in," laughs this Bengalaru native over the phone.
Avid cyclist, trekker, and stair climber, (verticals) Janardan will be on familiar running turf in Maximum city. "I have run in Mumbai thrice previously, says Janardan who will turn 83 on July 1. "In 2012, I finished in 07.08.00 and had the same timing in 2013. In 2014, though I shaved off a massive 30 minutes off that time to finish in 06.25.48." Post those attempts, Janardan travelled to Dubai.
Several seasoned marathoners will remember some nightmare runs called nightmare-thons, where in that long distance of 42 km, life and strife take unexpected twists and turns. This may be because of the runner himself suffering on the course, or organizations gaffes. In 2015, Janardan finished in 07.25.00, where he said, "I had a forgettable run, I was dehydrated after 27k and there were no replenishments, no medical attention. Overall, it was a very bad experience."
Targeting 6 hrs 30 mins
In Mumbai, Janardan is hoping to finish within a cut off time of 06.30.00. Mumbai's weather can be brutal after four hours, and the course, with its inclines, some gentle and not obvious to the onlooker seem like Mount Everest, when your lungs are on fire and legs feel like lead, seem least problematic to Janardan.
This runner, who says he fuels himself with water and dates, during runs, has undertaken numerous vertical challenges, stair climbing, including one at Mumbai's Kohinoor Square where he climbed 52 storeys, 1250 stairs, and many others in different buildings.
During races, he simply switches from wheels to heels, "I train, for endurance events by cycling," says Janardan who actually started his life as an athlete at 64, competing in cycling events. This trekker and mountaineer says emphatically, "I do not feel old, I am actually re-living my boyhood," he says with some killer swag in his voice.
BR Janardan says he does not pay special attention to food. He consumes 5 liters of water at least, feasts on green bananas, green raw vegetables and has 300 ml milk a day. He also eats atta rotis, cuts out deep fried foods and oily junk food.