We catch up with runner Namit Sharma from Jaipur, to understand how he has used his passion to stay fit.
Meet Dr. Namit Sharma, a dentist by profession and a marathoner by passion. He runs his own dental clinic in Jaipur and been practicing there for the last 5years.
During his school days, running was just something he did as a warm-up exercise before a game of cricket. Soon, he got busy with college and preparation for his medical entrance exam and that left him with no time for any physical activity. A surgery in 2012 didn’t help his cause either and required him to be on bed rest. With less or no physical activity, it resulted in him gaining weight.
Staying fit through running.
Dr. Namit was not too happy about the fact that he had gained weight and he decided to get back on his feet and do something about it. That’s how he took up running in 2013. Starting off with 2kms, he gradually increased the distance to 4-5kms every day. After a while of constantly being at it, he did see a difference in his body weight and was getting fitter with each passing day. This really inspired him to continue with his running.
Fitness aside, running also helped him in other areas. For example, Dr. Namit was suffering from asthma and was dependent on medication and inhalers. There was a time where he couldn’t walk up the stairs without feeling breathless. Running constantly for over a year, it helped him improve his immunity system. “I noticed a drastic change especially during the winter months as I did not suffer from any chest congestion, cough, cold and sparingly used an inhaler. Since then I have hardly relied on asthma-related medicines”, recalls Namit.
It had been 3 years since Dr. Namit took to running but he didn’t dare to attempt running a half marathon. He felt it was so much easier to run a 5k but it never once crossed his mind to run a 21K. The turning point of his career as he explains was “When his running mentors(Pradeep Ji and Guru Dayal Ji) asked him, “Jawan! How old r u? I replied -” 28″. He said, “At the age of 74, if I can run a marathon which is triple your age, why can’t you?”. These lines by his mentor stayed with him and inspired him a lot. Thereafter Pradeep Ji trained him on how to run longer distances. He eventually ran his first official half marathon – the Jaipur HM in Feb 2016. “I did it 2hrs 23mins, without a single break. It felt like I won a medal in the Olympics. I was extremely overwhelmed and happy after I finished my race”, he recalls.
Until that moment, Namit had never attempted running a 10K prior to running his HM. He ran his first official 10K at the Jaipur night run later that year in Sep 2016. To date, he has completed 24 Half marathons, 1 full marathon (TMM) and innumerable 10K runs. He has also completed 100days of running challenge with a distance of 1111kms. Some of his best timings across distances are –10K is 52.35 min, HM is 1.56 hrs and FM is 4.45 hrs.
Speaking of his best and worst races, Namit says, “My best run so far has been the ADHM 2018 where I finished the race in 1hr58mins and my worst run was at the IDBI Delhi marathon 2019. Due to overcrowding and a single lane route for Half and full marathoners, it ruined my initial 5 km timing. I pushed very hard to hit sub 2 hrs but it was a heart breaker with 2.02 hrs”.
The PinkCity story.
Inspired by how running had helped him, Dr. Namit wanted the people of his hometown (Jaipur) to benefit from it as well. In order to achieve that, he brought together like-minded people to create the PinkCity runners’ group. At present, this group has reached 600+ members on WhatsApp and 1500+ on Facebook. Talking about his involvement in the growth of the PinkCity Runners’ group, he says “Many runners are personally added by me. I used to motivate people to take up running. Those who are doing good in running are motivated and guided by us to push themselves further to graduate from couch to running a 10k, 10k to HMs and HMs to FMs as well. We conduct long runs every Sunday. We also conduct promotional 5 and 10K events, yoga sessions, cycling trips and support many big events in the city of Jaipur. On a lighter note, my running friends call me ‘SARKAR’“.
Namit has contributed immensely to changing people’s lives in his community through running. The selection committee of Jaipur runners has appreciated his efforts by rewarding him with the “Jaipur runners award” for being the “RUNNING MOTIVATOR” last year. Speaking of his contribution towards building the running community in Jaipur, he says “We promote people in our community to lead a healthy lifestyle. Some of my friends have transformed from being fat to slim, few others improved their blood pressure and blood sugar levels, while few others from leading a sedentary lifestyle, few quit smoking/drinking, etc. We have promoted people whose lives have changed through running within the community by sharing their real stories to inspire others to come forward and take a step closer to being fit. We have also made them ambassadors at various events and supported many by paying the event registration fees for those who couldn’t afford”.
The initiatives he wishes to take in the future is to build a much stronger running community in Jaipur, promote injury-free running, lay more emphasis on hydration and following a proper diet to run a marathon successfully. His personal goal is to hit the timings of sub 1.50 hrs for a half marathon and 4.00 hrs for a full marathon.
He leaves us with this small note by saying “Keep running, keep inspiring. If I can run, you too can run”.