Making my running dream come true

By June 25, 2019 No Comments
J P Gowda - boston marathon

In conversation with Jayaprakash Gowda, a seasoned runner who talks about how he went from a below average runner to chasing his dream of running the Boston marathon.

A civil engineering graduate from BIT, Bangalore with over 30 years of experience in the field of construction. Jayaprakash Gowda (JP) moved to the US in 1992 and lived there for 17 years before he decided to move back to Bangalore in 2008.

During his younger days, a morning jog was something he absolutely looked forward to. In 2009 there were not many running groups in the city of Bangalore and Jayanagar Jaguars (JJ’s) was the first running club which had a large group. JP joined the club after Mr. Ravi Shankar and Mr. Suresh Pathi (the brainchild behind the JJ’s running club) insisted he does so. His running journey began with this club and he enjoyed being a part of the group. “I always enjoyed running with the group, there was no membership fee or any monthly fee till the year 2012. Being part of the group helped in motivating each other and made it more fun. We never chased after any PB’s during our initial days”, recalls JP.

Taking the plunge

JP’s friend, Mr. KR Ravi Shankar had a wish list to complete a full marathon. He approached JP to train and run along with him since he was aware that JP was already into running by then. “I happily agreed to join him and make his wish come true”, he says and that’s how JP and his friend ran their first FM at the SCMM 2010 (now TMM). Talking about his experience of running his first official event, JP says, “I straight away jumped to doing a full marathon in 2010, Without doing any other runs, I did 2 full marathons within a span of 30 days, SCMM (5hr 25 min) and the Pondicherry Marathon. I should say it was a great experience and it did change my perspective on running”.

From the start of his running career, JP has been on a winning spree by achieving podiums in most of the races he has participated. He has run varying distances such as 10K’s, HM’s, FM’s, and ultra-distances (80K) with many interesting runs along the way – TCS W10K, SCMM (now TMM), Malnad Ultra, Spice Coast marathon, Bangalore 10K challenge, Chamundi challenge, Life is calling, the Boston Marathon amongst others. The toughest marathon according to JP has been, “The Spice Coast marathon, Cochin (2013) due to the humidity and the pressure of qualifying for Boston marathon”.

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Training along with proper nutrition is key to staying fit. Speaking to JP on how he plans his training and nutrition he says, “I started to do weight training and high-intensity interval training (HIIT). My training involved 4 days of weight and fitness training and 2 days running. I paid more attention to my eating habits and stopped consuming carbs, sugar, alcohol and started on a protein diet”.

The origin of the BRUR event

JJ’s organized a first of its kind 10K running event back in 2014 called the Bangalore Runners Unity Run (BRUR) at the Turahalli forest near Kanakapura which was aimed at bringing the running community and their families together to celebrate the spirit of running. JP counts himself fortunate to have been part of the organizing team of the first-ever BRUR event. He recounts his experience of the event saying, “It is still remembered as the best BRUR run organized till today. There have been many BRUR runs after that but nothing comes close as the first one. It was funded by JJ’s core team members and a few others. Everything was free and not a rupee was collected from any runner, unlike the other BRUR runs. The other members who made this happen are KP Jagadesha, Sudhir TK, Aravind, and Ajit Thandur. We wanted all runners to have fun with their families and the running community after a long calendar year, get to know each other and chill before the next season starts”.

The road to achieving his dream

Qualifying for the Boston Marathon in 2016 at the age of 52 was a huge turning point in JP’s running career and a dream come true. Talking of how he qualified for this race and the experience of running this prestigious marathon he says, “I qualified in 2014 when I finished the SCMM in 3hr 19 min and came second in my age category (50–55). My dream was to run the full marathon under sub 4 hours. At that point, I never had any plans or dreamed about Boston. It all started once I attended a two-day workshop conducted by Mr. Ashok Nath, who preaches Chi running which is all about Run Less Run Faster and more importance given to your running form. I ran the 2013 SCMM in 3 hr 37 min, an improvement of 35 min from the previous year where I finished in 4 hr 13 min. That’s when I began dreaming about Boston. My qualifying time for Boston was 3 hr 30 min (for age category 50 -54yrs). I started my fitness training with Dr. Sujay (Physiotherapist) who came to my house regularly and helped me to get strong, build muscles, lose extra fat, strengthen my core, leg muscles, and cardio. I have to say he is the main reason behind my fitness and diet, my pacer Mr. Nagaraj Harsha (Ironman) who paced me both in Cochin and Mumbai also helped me with training and during the race to finish strong. I ran the Boston Marathon in 2016. I will never forget the experience. It’s a dream come true for me. For someone who was a below average runner in 2010 to making it to Boston in 2016, a great journey in my running career. I am grateful to Mr. Beedu, Pani sir, Ashok Nath, Vaishali Kasthure who supported me in one way or other to get better during those years”.

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In October 2018, JP moved to New Jersey and aims to run the Philadelphia HM in November to qualify for the NY city marathon. In the coming years, he has set his sights on completing the Chicago and NY city marathon for which he is planning to start training this summer and he also wants to run the Boston marathon one more time.

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Deepthi Velkur

Deepthi Velkur

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.