This is an edited and rephrased version of a post by Bijay Nair on his Facebook Page.
K Haridasan ‘Hari Sir’ Nair. You are about to read the profile of an amazing person; simply unbelievable. An athlete who loved his running and Bata shoes, and started running during his Army days.
Hold your breath: A veteran of more than 150 Half Marathon s, 100 plus Marathons and many Ultras too. An Army man who loved long distance running, with a 21km timing of 66 Min and 42km timing of 2 Hr 26 Min and a running career spanning 31 years. I remember, training with him for a day and it was like my Fauji days were running in front of me.
An entrepreneur and the coach of Runtastic Dilse Group, a wonderful soul and a great guy, Hari, you inspire us. This is his running story
During my school days, I always used to participate in 1500 m and 5000m distance. Then in 1986, I joined the Indian Army and started running long distances and representing Goa state where I was posted.
Being in Army the training was very tough. Many a times I used to curse myself for joining the Army. But I was determined about my passion. I was kept reserved for the 1st inter-company cross country competition(which includes damper road, mountains, fields, kaccha roads and solid ground of 18km in 1986. I was allowed to participate in the last moment and it was held in Goa. More than 250 runners participated and to my surprise, I bagged the 2nd place.
This was the turning point of my life as a runner. After this I got serious training and coaching. I had only 2 pair of brown PT shoes (canvas shoes) which was used for the parade as well as for running. During the rains, I use to run barefoot as I was afraid that my shoes would get dirty and would not dry easily. In January 1990, I ran 21km representing Goa in the National Cross Country Championships in Udaipur. I bagged 3rd place and my good performance impressed Col.S.P.S.Rane Saab, who gifted me a Bata Power Shoe which was my first running pair.
Between 1986 and 1990 I participated in 5000m and 10000m events in the Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala ,Karnataka and Goa region I used to practice every morning and evening with Sunday being the break day. My long run practice was twice a week and I used to run from Bambolim Camp to Madgaon Army Camp (34km) in the morning and return by bus.
My best time in a Half Marathon is 66 Min and for the Marathon it’s 2 Hr 26 Min. From 2000 to 2007, I took a break from events but continued to train and participated in my Ist Mumbai Half Marathon in 2008 and clocked 1 Hr 43 Min. In 2011 I clocked 8 minutes faster and in 2013 I participated in the Marathon and clocking 3 Hr 36 Min. Now I focus more on training. I train for 5 days which includes Strengthening exercises,core exercise, hill run, Speed Work out ( Tempo run), Endurance run and stretching.
This August I complete 31 years of running. For me running was and is always my passion, and slowly I realized that it is also a means for healthy and hearty life. It made me feel stress free. It gave me a chance to interact with many people.
My running goal is to make people aware about the health benefits, to motivate more and more to run. I want to remove the myths about running from people’s minds.
Having already run in Goa, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Allahabad, Udaipur, Delhi,Mumbai, Satara Marathon, Vasai and Thane, I would now love to participate in Comrade, Bangalore Ultra 100km, and the Boston and New York Marathons.
Hari Sir’s favorite running quotes
“Running should be a lifelong activity. Approach it patiently and intelligently, and it will reward you for a long, long time”.
“I always loved running. It was something you could do by yourself, and with your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs.”
About the author
Bijay Nair is a 38-year-old former LtCdr in the Indian Navy, and now works for the National Classification Society of Shipping. He’s been running Marathons since 1999, and in the timed events since 2008 after leaving the Navy. He’s veteran of 40 half marathons, 5 marathons and a 12 hr Ultra run, having run all over the world. In 2012, for the project 121212 (to commemorate the unique 12/12/12 date, which incidentally was also his birthday) he ran 2012km to support cancer patients at the TATA Memorial Hospital and collected Rs 1,21,212. He’s currently posting inspiration profiles on his Facebook wall with the hashtag #TheyInspire
Main image: Bijay Nair