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Chennai native Sridhar Rajamohan to lead Tata Mumbai Marathon this year

Updated on: 16 January,2024 01:37 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Hemal Ashar |

A medical condition has not stopped runner Sridhar Rajamohan, from becoming a pacesetter for the 3 hour 55 minute group at the Mumbai marathon

Chennai native Sridhar Rajamohan to lead Tata Mumbai Marathon this year

Sridhar Rajamohan is an acer and pacer

Sridhar Rajamohan makes short work of long distances. The Chennai native will lead the 3-hour 55-minute ‘bus’ for the full marathon distance (42.2 km) at the Tata Mumbai Marathon (TMM) to be run on Sunday, January 21. With this, Sridhar will be doing what he has been doing for so many years, defying a childhood medical condition. Sridhar was diagnosed with childhood diabetes or Type 1 diabetes when he was 11 years old. Today, he is 35 years old. Sridhar is one of the 22 pacesetters or pacers in the 42 km distance of the TMM.

Century smasher

A pacesetter has to bring in a group of runners following them from start to finish at the predetermined time. The group following a pacesetter is called a ‘bus’. The idea is that the pacer must finish just a few seconds before the promised time. So, if runners have joined the 2:30 bus, the pacesetter will lead them through the finish line somewhere between 2:29:30 and 2:29:59 hours, and not by 2:15 hours or 2:32 hours. Sridhar said as he prepared for his Mumbai trip, “TMM will be my 100th event where I am running the 21-plus km (the half marathon or longer distance).”

Sridhar Rajamohan is an acer and pacer

The diagnosis

Sridhar was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 11 years old in 1999. He explained, “There was frequent urination and weight loss. The diagnosis was fairly easy to identify as my sister, too, was a Type 1 diabetic.” He had his challenges as a child but managed as best as he could. “I was diagnosed with high blood pressure later. My doctor said we have medication as treatment, or you can also take up a sport where you sweat a lot.” Sridhar, chose his fork in the road taking to running in 2012. “Everything became easier, the waking up early, discipline, streamlining habits as running became my passion,” said the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Financial Risk Manager (FRM).

The balance

From then on, Sridhar’s life was about juggling endurance and insulin, finding that fine balance. He said, “I do at least 10 half marathons (21 km) across the country through one year. I have run full marathons too and did two Ultra runs of 52 km and 60 km each. I have paced a 10k run and a 21 km run in Chennai, this time it is 42.2 km in Mumbai,” said Sridhar who works for a solar energy start-up as a financial controller. Strength training is an important component of his training regimen. He said, “I have, like all pace setters, a strategy for the 3.55 bus. The first half will be faster than the second half, I have planned the first 30 km at 5 min 25 secs per km, we may be slightly slower uphill but make it up downhill. We have the 31 to 36 km at 5 mins 35 seconds per km pace, after which the last 6 km will be at a 6 minute per km speed.” It is not just numbers, Sridhar will be monitoring, but his glucose levels on his Garmin (specific make) watch too. A big component will be encouraging his ‘bus’ to keep up and finish in the stipulated time.

The inspiration

Sridhar’s sister, Lakshmi Rajamohan, said of her brother’s accomplishments, “I have deep admiration and respect for my brother’s incredible journey and the inspiring person he has become today. He loved sweets in his childhood, and when diagnosed with diabetes, his immediate decision to refrain from sweets left everybody astonished. What sets him apart is to be recognised as a normal young man, not defined by this disorder. I am so proud of him. I can only say to my brother: keep going, keep running.” 

As if those strides both metaphorical and literal do not tell their own story, Sridhar has a message for those battling this condition, “You can achieve anything you want in your life, if you make sure your sugar levels are under control. There is only one thing you cannot do and that is produce insulin. Everything else you can do, if you put your mind to it.” That’s from a ‘bus’ driver who knows when to gun the throttle, drive cautiously, put a foot on the brakes and crank it up a gear on the road of both—races and life.

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