No distance is too long for this marathoner

Updated: 13 November, 2019 07:44 IST | Hemal Ashar | Mumbai

An ex-farmer and a security guard at a SoBo school, Sagar Patil, gears up for a 100-km walkathon

Sagar Patil after a run. Pics/ Suresh Karkera
Sagar Patil after a run. Pics/ Suresh Karkera

When he is not at work in a South Mumbai school, this security guard can be seen running at Marine Drive, training for his many conquests.

Sagar Patil works at the Deutsche Schule Bombay (DSB) in Grant Road, where he serves in a 12-hour shift from 7 am to 7 pm. He may not be dressed in expensive running shorts or quick-dry t-shirts; he may not have fancy running shoes, but, "I have sprint," says the 29-year-old.

Patil is gearing up for an ambitious walkathon, the Oxfam Trailwalker India, where as part of a team of four — called The Warriors, he will have to walk a distance of 100 km within 48 hours. The event is going to be held from December 13 to 15 in Karjat.

Medal and mettle

Sunrays dance on a bunch of medals at Patil's Dombivali (E) home. The metal discs were won at a slew of marathons and endurance events. Patil has competed in full (42 km) and half (21 km) marathons and finished in some jaw-dropping durations. He ran 21 kms in a breezy 1 hour and 33 minutes. His full Mumbai Marathon time is 3 hours 19 minutes.

SagarSagar Patil on duty outside the school

Patil's day begins at 3:30am — he gets ready and sets out for school at 4am. A quick change into his running gear and soon Patil is running at the promenade. "I practice from 5 to 6am and return to school in time for my 7 am shift." He credits marathoner Kranti Salvi as his "mentor and coach." Salvi is a well-known distance runner and made it to the Guinness World Records as the fastest marathoner dressed in a sari, after she participated in the Berlin Marathon in 2018.

Walk and talk

For the upcoming Trailwalker, a team has to pay a substantial registration fee as the proceeds are used to support a cause. Patil's team has two expats and an Indian. The expats — the team leader from France and a member from Germany — are sponsoring Patil 's participation. "This is something I did not dream of when I came to Mumbai from Belgaum in 2010. I used to be a farmer," he said.

"For the Oxfam Trailwalker India event, I train with my team members. Since the trail of the walk has different kinds of paths, we have walked on all types of roads — flat, inclining and declining. We cover 25 to 28 km in approximately five hours." The Warriors have been doggedly training on flat surfaces, and running on the inclines at Malabar Hill, Hanging Gardens and Peddar Road. They also cross Haji Ali, Worli Sea Face and run up till Siddhivinayak temple, before returning to Grant Road School.

While Patil may not be working in a field, he continues to toil physically. Still the feisty security guard grins and says, "People call me crazy for waking up at 3:30am and taking the 4 am train just to reach town and run. I would rather be crazy than lazy! That's the joy of being one with my body. The delight I experience when I cross the finish line is hard to explain,"

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First Published: 13 November, 2019 07:30 IST

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