Seniors Comments (0) |

It’s never too late to start running!

Deepthi Velkur catches up with senior runner, Rajendra Kumar from Bengaluru on how he fell in love with running. 

Running is not a sport reserved only for the young and elite but rather an all-inclusive lifetime sport that challenges you from the moment you start  and all you have to do to get started is have the will to put one foot in front of the other for miles.

The growing phenomenon of senior citizens taking to running is evidence enough that it’s never too late to start running and talking to them you will see that they have all good things to say about how they’ve improved their physical and mental health.

One such gentleman I spoke to is Y.S. Rajendra Kumar, a retired Assistant General Manager who was with State Bank of India for nearly four decades.  An inspiring individual to youngsters and old people alike, he took to running at the age of 74 years in the year 2014. I was curious to know from him, how running became a passion at the age of 74. These are the excerpts of our conversation.

What motivated you to take up running at an age where most people put their legs up and relax?

Prior to me taking up running, I have always kept myself physically active over the years by doing yoga as well as taking long daily walks with my wife to the temple. In one of my discussions at home, my son suggested that I take up running and join his club “Jayanagar Jaguars”. The thought appealed to me; I started in 2014 and here I am 4 years later still enjoying every run.

Can you tell us from your experience what kind of changes running has brought into your life?

Before I took to running, the winter season was quite challenging for me. I used to suffer from a cold and chest congestion but that has now completely vanished since I started running. The bigger impact that running has brought to me is a more pleasant psychological change and cheerful attitude that I can attribute to my experience in running alongside the youngsters in the group.

To encourage more senior citizens to run, how should they start their process?

I would think that there are 2 primary steps that need to be in place:

  • Following a structured training program and
  • The able guidance of a coach providing them with the required direction to follow the training program.

There is a growing number of senior people who are running marathons around the world. What is your take on this growing phenomenon?

With the amount of information available online and the increased awareness among seniors on the benefits of running, this phenomenon does not surprise me. I welcome it and think that we as a society should be more open and encouraging to senior people taking to running.

In terms of your runs so far, how many 10k’s and half marathons have you completed?

Since my first competitive run in December 2014, I have completed ten 10K runs and six half-marathons until now. I am also proud of the fact that I have been able to achieve a podium finish in 2 of the runs –Ajmera Thump 10K (3rd place) with a timing of 1:13:47 in December, 2014 and TCS World10K (3rd place) with a timing of 1:05:58 in May, 2017. Some of other running courses I have completed are: Scotia Bank Calgary Run (Canada)10K, Spirit Of Wipro 10K, SCMM Half Marathon, Bengaluru 10K Challenge, Bengaluru Half Marathon, Chamundi Hill Challenge Mysuru 10K, Celebration Mysore Half Marathon and the Tata Mumbai Marathon.

That’s quite an impressive list and hopefully this will encourage other senior citizens to take up running as well. In your group of runners, is there a large percentage of people over the age of 60?

Not quite – in a group of over 600 signed runners, training across ten locations in Bengaluru, we are four runners above the age of 60 years.We are hopeful that other senior citizens will soon take to running as the benefits definitely outweigh the initial challenges that they will face.

In terms of your training sessions, can you give us some insight into your weekly running schedule?

We are currently in the middle of getting ready for our next half-marathon and our training schedule includes running 3 times a week with a mileage of 25K – 30K per week. Also, there are specific drills and exercises that we go through under the guidance of our very experienced coach, Pramod Deshpande and this helps us get stronger and stay injury-free.

To complement your training schedule have you made any dietary changes since you took to running?

Yes; I have made some dietary changes to boost strength and stay healthy. I have increased my intake of fresh fruits and vegetables while avoiding fried, oily foods and minimizing my intake of sweets. Maintaining a balanced and healthy diet is paramount to supplement my training and overall running activity.

I have also learnt that your entire family is into running. That is quite an achievement, how did that happen?

Yes, it is true that as a family we all love running. It all started out with my daughter-in-law, Padmashree; she has long been into running and over time introduced my son Darshan to the sport. With the growing enthusiasm of seeing my daughter-in-law and son involved, my grandson Tanmai soon joined the running group.

During mid-September 2014 at the age of 74, my son suggested that I join him as well. While it did appeal to me, I was hesitant at first but decided to give it a shot. In the beginning, I found it a little difficult to run. However, I persisted and my continued efforts with proper guidance and encouragement enabled me to develop a passion for running.

Today, as a family we collectively participate in certain important running events through the year.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Deepthi Velkur is a former sprinter who is trying her hand at various sports today. A tennis fanatic, who believes that sleep should never be compromised.

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Gear Comments (0) |

The Simple, Smart and Effective Polar M430

A look at the smart yet simple GPS watch, Polar M430, a favourite for runners, writes Deepthi Velkur. 

GPS watches and running have become quite synonymous in the energy-sapping world of endurance sports. From professional to weekend runners, nearly everyone seems to have one of these watches to track their every move and using this data to train harder and more efficiently.

Rewind a few years and owning a GPS watch seemed like a piece of luxury but the scenario has drastically changed today. Aside from the original Garmin Forerunners, there were hardly any companies dabbling in the world of GPS watches but with more companies launching wearable GPS watches and the abundant choices in the market to suit every budget, it has become rather commonplace to see one of these devices perched on the wrists of runners.

When it comes to GPS running watches, one of the leading contenders in the market is the Polar M430.

At first glance, the M430 does appear a bit intimidating but as you use it, you realize that the M430 is an effective watch for your looking for the best performance tracking and recording device in the market.

When Polar launched the M400 in September 2014, it took the running world by storm and become Europe’s top-selling running watch in 2015-16. Fast forward 3 years hence and you find that Polar has taken the winning formula of the M400, topped it up with additional hardware and feature thus translating into one hell of a quality product.

The main difference between the M400 and M430 is the addition of an optical Heart Rate Monitor (HRM). The heart rate monitor measures your heart rate round the clock every few minutes or continuously during an activity.

Apart from the HRM, let us take a look at some of the features the M430 has to offer.  

The Polar fitness test – The fitness test uses your heart rate and other data to differentiate the optimum rate at which your heart, lungs, and muscles can effectively use oxygen during an activity. Using this, you can set up and monitor a fitness plan.

Run anywhere – Indoors or outdoors, the integrated GPS tracks your pace, distance, and altitude.

Running program – using the Polar Flow app, you can design a personalized and adaptive training plan.

Running Index – helps you measure how your runs are improving.

Polar Sleep plus – this function provides you with important insights on your sleep patterns and you can use this to develop good sleeping habits and as a result better performance.

GPS – The M430 comes with two GPS tracking options: 1) high accuracy recording mode that pings every second, and 2) low-power mode that pings every 30 seconds.

Final recommendation

The M430 is a brilliant multi-sport watch that performs very well in nearly every category. At INR 30,000, the M430 is a running watch in its purest form at a fairly decent price compared to the competition.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Deepthi Velkur is a former sprinter who is trying her hand at various sports today. A tennis fanatic, who believes that sleep should never be compromised.

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Seniors Comments (0) |

The Runner who talks to God

The name Fauja Singh is an inspiration to senior runners the world over, Capt Seshadri takes a look at this remarkable runner.

An 89 year old Punjabi man in London, wishing to train for a marathon, landed up at Redbridge, Essex, probably in deference to the formal attire of the country of his residence, dressed in a three piece suit, much to the bemusement of his coach. To further add to the trainer’s surprise, the bearded and turbaned old man confessed that he thought the marathon was run over 26 km and not miles. Not that it mattered at all. His training began in complete earnestness and dedication. The outcome? In 2003, at age 92, he completed the London Marathon in 6:02 and the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 5:40.

This is the saga of Fauja Singh, a name that must now be familiar to every marathon runner across every continent. This was the same person who, born on April 1, 1911, in the village of Beas near Jalandhar, the sports goods capital of India, struggled to walk on his weak and scrawny legs until the age of five. One hundred years later, the very same ‘old’ lad set eight world age group records in a single day at the Ontario Masters Association Invitational Meet: 100 m in 23:14; 200 m in 52:23; 400 m in 2:13:48; 800m in 5:32:18; 1500 m in 11:27: 18; the metric mile in 11:53:45, the 3000 m in 24:52:47 and the 5000 m in 49:57:39. A series of events that no professional athlete would dream of attempting even at the peak of his career!

Where most master athletes would take weeks to recover from such a strenuous ordeal, just three days later, on October 16, 2011, Fauja Singh scripted history as the first centenarian to complete a full 26.2 miler, running the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 8:11:06. Sadly, this amazing feat never made it to the Guinness Book of Records, since he had no birth certificate to prove his age, despite a passport confirmation of his date of birth.

Even though he was undeterred by age and never laid low through injury, this living legend decided to call it quits from competitive running after the Hong Kong Marathon on February 24, 2013, where he completed the 10K in 1:32:28, a timing which is just outside the qualifying limit of 1:30 set for the Tata World 10k, and meant for runners who would qualify as his great grandchildren! The proud moment of his running career was when he carried the Olympic torch in July 2012. The retired Fauja now runs for pleasure, health and charitable causes. Fauja Singh was honoured with the British Empire Medal in 2015, for his outstanding contribution to sports and charity.

The 52 kg, vegetarian Sikh attributes his longevity, stamina and outstanding fitness to his non-meat diet comprising roti, dal, vegetables and curd. Good hydration with plenty of water and ginger tea, early sleep, an abhorrence towards smoking and alcohol, and a professed diet of love and respect from the world around him, keep him going strong. His take on running successful marathons at such an advanced age: “The first 20 miles are not difficult. As for the last 6 miles, I run while talking to God”.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Capt Seshadri Sreenivasan is a former armed forces officer with over 30 years experience in marketing. He also a consulting editor with a leading publishing house. He is a co-author of the best selling biography of astronaut Sunita Williams.

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Motivation Comments (0) |

Should you run with your spouse?

Running as a couple might be an intriguing way to connect, writes Radhika Meganathan

It’s not as radical as it is sounds! Running with your spouse can be a time saver, budget saver and even bring couples together with a common goal. But should you do it? Or is it better to train alone, with no familiar distractions, so to speak?

First let’s look at the advantages, and there are quite a few:

  • Convenience: When you train with your spouse, you have a running buddy who lives with you! It cannot get easier than this.
  • Planning: No more schedule conflicts or communication problem, you can just say, Hi honey, let’s go for a run, and be done with it.
  • Instant support system: You can motivate each other, look out for each other and even share the same coach. Think of the savings, you can even share the transport!

Yes you should!

running partners

Anna Vergese, project manager in the construction industry who recently moved to Sydney from Hyderabad, feels women can benefit from running with men because men are faster (a physiological advantage, nothing more, nothing less) and that a less experienced runner, especially if they are a woman, who wants to improve can actually do so if she is running with her male spouse.

Ideally Anna would like to run/ train with her husband, but with young kids and no support system they have to take turns and run. “The thing is, I like running – whether it is alone, with my husband or a group,” she confesses. “As for a specific preference of what kind of running I prefer, well, it depends on the mood. I all options, though. As for my husband, I think he runs just to humor me!”

It is okay if you don’t want to

Nutrition

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The truth is, there are no should’s or must’s that come into play while toying with the idea of running with your spouse. You choose the option that’s most instinctive for you, and also most beneficial for your present running stats and future goals, without having to sacrifice your preferences. Anna’s husband Alex is frank in his opinion. “I like races/ events with lots of atmosphere and tend to get bored if I have to run alone,” he says. “As for running with my wife, the truth is our paces are so different so I personally find it tough to run in tandem.”

On the other end of the spectrum, a runner who wishes to be anonymous says: “I can’t imagine running with my husband, I’d go crazy. We both are short tempered and we simply cannot work with each other, we need an external person, someone not close to us and thus can be objective and grounded, to keep us going. Plus I do not want my hubby to witness my shortcomings, or gloat over how much faster he is than me. I know that sounds egoistic, but a girl’s gotta have her pride.”

Bottom line, if you have a good communication with your spouse, and if you can respect the other person’s limitations or superiority and frame your own goals accordingly, and can be patient enough to support the other person, you and your spouse can easily create a new avatar for yourselves as runners. Otherwise, your best bet is to enjoy your own company as you collect your running miles!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Radhika Meganathan is a published author who is an advocate for healthy living, she practices sugar-free intermittent fasting, all-terrain rambling and weight training.

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Gear Comments Off on The original Anti Chafe Balm |

The original Anti Chafe Balm

Deepthi Velkur explores a product that tackles chafing, a common runner problem

Chafing is the most common skin problem among long-distance runners and occurs in areas that constantly rub against each other causing friction or is dependent on the type of clothing you wear. Prolonged rubbing can cause your skin to burn and develop a mild red rash that can be extremely painful and distracting while running.The key here is to be pro-active and prevent this chafing by using the right product. The Body Glide anti chafe balm does exactly that offering you a hassle-free run.

The body glide anti chafe balm is said to be ‘magical’ as it forms a satin smooth invisible barrier that helps the skin retain moisture leaving the skin feeling dry, non-messy and resists rubbing that causes chafing.

Product features

  • An all-natural lubricant, made with allergen-free and plant-derived ingredients.
  • Vegan approved and never been tested on animals.
  • Child safe
  • Satin smooth formula that keeps your skin dry and non-messy
  • Rich in Vitamin A, B, E
  • Keeps skin hydrated and retains moisture.
  • Ideal for sensitive, dry and cracked skin
  • Comes in a roll-on stick dispenser for easy application.
  • Lightweight and scent-free
  • A unisex product, available in different sized tubes and has a product exclusively for women.

Why is it good

Here are a few reasons why this balm is a must try –

No.1 choice of athletesThis product is the preferred choice of athletes as it leaves the skin feeling dry when compared to messy wet creams, gels and powders that have a greasy effect and leave you feeling uncomfortable. The dry feeling is due to no petroleum, lanolin or mineral oils being used in its preparation.

Easy and quick application – It can be easily applied in sensitive areas such as inner thighs, neck, under-arms or any place where the skin is rubbed.

Non-messy – The balm does not rub onto your clothes making it messy.

Sweat resistant – The pores are kept free from clogging so the sweat can easily escape helping your skin breathe.

Portability – This tube can be easily carried around and can also be put away in your race bag for later use.

Long-lasting Protection – A super effective and long-lasting balm which can be applied daily even in humid and dry weather conditions for a pain-free active life.

Price

INR 3999 for 70ml(2.5oz) and is available on Amazon India.

Final recommendation

It is a highly recommended for runners. Though it is expensive, it’s long lasting and worth every penny. A quick application is all it takes and lasts you through the entire run preventing your skin from chafing and making the run so much more comfortable.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Deepthi Velkur is a former sprinter who is trying her hand at various sports today. A tennis fanatic, who believes that sleep should never be compromised.

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Training Comments (0) |

How to fix Heel Pain?

If you have stepped out of bed and experienced a sharp pain in your heels, then you need to learn these remedies, writes Nandini Reddy.

Painful soles and a feeling like a million needles are pricking your heels is the hallmark symptom of heel pain. This is also the first symptom that tells you that the connective tissue in your sole is strained and inflammed and you could be seeing an onset of plantar fasciitis.

Once you experience this heel pain, the recovery period is long and slow. If you are in pain already or if you wish to avoid the injury then there are few cautionary tips for you to follow:

Re-think you training program

If you are experiencing heel pain then you need to inform your running coach or work with a physiotherapist who can alter your program. You will need to make changes in your speed, distance, gear and running terrains. Hilly and uneven terrain should be completely avoided as long as you have the heel pain. Work on getting different footwear that will support your foot.

Balance Rest and Stress

Opt for a running shoe that is a better fit. You will need to find a shoe with better arch support and cushioning on the heel. This will be less stressful on your foot. Get used to the new shoes by walking in them first. Strengthen and repair your damaged tissue and the surrounding muscles that offer support to the foot. Calf strengthening exercises are extremely important and your core stability is also paramount.

Relieve your Symptoms

Use a foot roller or a tennis ball and move your foot over it to relieve the muscle pain. You can also use a frozen water bottle to relieve the pain. These are for temporary relief of symptoms only. There are massage therapies available to manage the pain as well. These may not resolve the problem but are useful for temporary relief.

Don’t stop moving

Resting and not moving will not improve your problem. Aerobic exercise is the best way to take care of an inflammation. If you find it difficult to run then opt for an elliptical machine or running in a swimming pool. Essentially opt for a low-impact exercise that doesn’t put pressure on your foot.

Suggested Exercises

Calf raises are the best exercise to do to repair your heels. This exercise improves tissue quality and stretches out the stressed tissue bringing relief. This also works on the surrounding muscles and strengthens them as well. This can be done several times through the day.

The most important thing to remember is that recovering from heel pain needs patience.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

An irregular runner who has run in dry, wet, high altitude and humid conditions. Loves to write a little more than run so now is the managing editor of Finisher Magazine.

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Motivation Comments (0) |

Controversy over Marathons and Hearts

There has been a long debate on how the heart is affected by marathon running, Nandini Reddy talks about the research that allays fears. 

Exercise is suggested as a good way to improve the health of your heart and lungs. But there has always been a debate about how much exercise one should do. Experts cannot agree on what is the right amount of exercise and each of them seems to have a different opinion. Running is one of the easiest exercises to start for people who want to get off the couch and get fit. But there is a divided opinion on how running affects your heart. One group feels running has no lasting effect on a healthy heart but another group things heart damage is linked to running.

What does the research say?

But instead of opinions if we look at research, you will find that when runners finish a marathon there is a certain level of stress that is visible in the heart muscles that is reversed after rest and the effect is only temporary. While runners who train regularly have a lower incidence of this effect, the new runners who attempt to run marathons without proper training seem to show higher levels of such stress.

The research was expanded to see how the heart function is changed for marathon runners. Marathon running is a high endurance activity that keeps the heart in the zone of 60-70% of their maximum heart rate for an extended period of time. This means that the heart needs to work at higher levels for a longer period of time but if the runners is trained their is no lasting effect of the stress the heart takes. If a runner doesn’t rest adequately after a marathon race then the effects of the stress cannot be reversed fully and there might be a last affect on how the heart functions.

So what can you do?

  • Draw up a training plan with a coach
  • Do not attempt a marathon unprepared
  • Take care of your health first, you can always finish the next marathon
  • Adequate rest is important after a training session and a marathon
  • Get regular health checks if you have a weak heart or a history of heart conditions in the family

The Conclusion

People with lower fitness levels should not attempt marathons without proper training. Even if your heart is in good condition, taking on an endurance activity without adequate preparation is not a good idea. With training, coaching and monitored fitness sessions one can run a marathon with ease and recover as well. But running marathons without preparation is never a good idea.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

An irregular runner who has run in dry, wet, high altitude and humid conditions. Loves to write a little more than run so now is the managing editor of Finisher Magazine.

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Gear Comments (0) |

The Running Mate: Nike Epic React Flyknit

Deepthi Velkur, takes a look at the Nike Epic Reach Flyknit running shoes designed in consultation with runners.

Sportswear companies are constantly faced with the challenge to innovate and redesign their products with new materials or features to offer their customers an edge over other competitive products in the market. Nike has been at the forefront of technology innovation to meet the demands of their customers.

With the feedback received from runners, Nike developed a shoe using the Flyknit foam technology that could do it all with features such as more cushioning, higher energy return, lightweight and greater durability. To achieve this, Nike embarked on a four-year mission with teams of programmers, engineers, and designers and in February 2018, Nike Epic React Flyknit was launched.

Product features

  • Weight-239g(Men size 9), Women: 195g
  • Offset-10mm
  • Fits true to size for a snug fit
  • Heel shelf stabilizes the back of your foot and helps the heel from rocking as your foot lands
  • Style: AQ0067-002
  • Country of origin: Vietnam
  • Colour: Wolf Grey/Cool Grey/Pure Platinum/White
  • Synthetic suede heel lining prevents slippage and blisters

Why is it good for running

The Nike React foam is considerably softer and handles bumps on the road more effectively when compared to the EVA foam. The shoes upper is kept simple and the forefoot, toe, and arch are made from one-piece of the Nike Flyknit Bootie giving you the snug feel. The mid-sole is kept taller and wider to give better support and stability to the runner. The mid-sole is extended beyond the upper’s perimeter and around the heel to ensure the shoe provides the necessary cushioning, flexibility and breath-ability required by runners.

Price  (in India)

INR 15995. Available at the Nike store and other retail stores across India.

A final recommendation on whether you should try it or not

Some of the feedback received from buyers about the Nike Epic React Flyknit shoe-

  • The Nike Epic React Flyknit is a comfortable and good-looking shoe and the out-sole is surprisingly durable.
  • The lightweight disposition helps in increasing your running speed.
  •  The mid-sole is very responsive and has the snug fit and had the right amount of cushioning neither too soft nor too firm.
  • The shoe allows natural movement, even during fast-paced activities\running.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Deepthi Velkur is a former sprinter who is trying her hand at various sports today. A tennis fanatic, who believes that sleep should never be compromised.

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Seniors Comments (0) |

The Man who ran Forever

Legendary Senior Runner, Ed Whitlock is remembered for his indomitable spirit by Capt Seshadri

It was a warm summer day in Toronto, on March 13, 2017. It was a day of mourning for the marathon runners of the world. The day marked the unfortunate demise, due to prostate cancer, of a master athlete, just a week past his 86th birthday, the only runner to complete a series of marathons at an age past 80, in less than 4 hours. RIP Ed Whitlock!

Born on March 6, 1931, this English-origin Canadian did not start running again until he was 41, concentrating at the time on middle-distance running, and after several years recording best times of 1:59.9 for the 800 metres and 4:02.5 for the 1500 metres. His initiation into marathon running came at age 48, from a spat with his 14-year old son, who Ed could not dissuade from competing but, rather, ran alongside and casually completed the course in 2:31:23. Now he was bitten by the running bug!

Well into his 60s, he turned his attention to road racing. However, it was as late as in 2003, when at age 72, he ran the 26.2 miler in 2:59:49. Two years later, the time was 2:58:40, creating the record for the oldest man to run a marathon in under 3 hours. The number crunchers confirm that, if extrapolated in age with a 20-year old runner, this time would have been equivalent to 2:03:57, probably one of the fastest marathons of all time!

Fifteen minutes at eighty years; that was the improvement Whitlock made to the world record for his age category, with an astonishing time of 3:25:43 at the April 2011 Rotterdam Marathon. Not satisfied with this superhuman effort, he improved the timing in October the same year, at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon, to 3:15:54. Nothing could stop this remarkable athlete, least of all age. In October 2016, all of 85 years old, he became the oldest marathoner to complete the course in less than 4 hours, with a run of 3:56:34, once again at Toronto.

Ed’s running career and training program are unusual and unorthodox. His running shoes are worn out and outdated. His running vest is probably a couple of decades and a half old. He has never consulted a coach or trainer and has no records of his training mileage. And, unimaginable to any hardcore runner, he had no masseur, did not do weight training or stretching and abhorred supplements of any kind. What probably worked in his favour is an extraordinary lung capacity and a lean mass. But, above all, a dedication to win against time, against the track and against the body clock. With a cemetery as a running ground, Ed trained all alone, running around it for over 3.5 hours at a time, day after day.

Aging is an argument among the medical fraternity when it comes to Ed Whitlock. His running records at such an advanced age have prompted scientists and geriatric specialists to take a relook at the processes of aging and athletic performance. However, Ed’s own philosophy is quite simple. “I believe people can do far more than they think they can. You have to be idiot enough to try it.”

In a fitting tribute to a senior runner, Ed Whitlock, the super marathoner with undying stamina and indomitable spirit, was inducted into the Milton Sports Hall of Fame in 2016.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Capt Seshadri Sreenivasan is a former armed forces officer with over 30 years experience in marketing. He also a consulting editor with a leading publishing house. He is a co-author of the best selling biography of astronaut Sunita Williams.

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