82-year-old `Marathon Man` pens joys of running
New Delhi: At 82, when many find daunting the prospect of even taking a walk, Ashis Roy has completed 115 marathon runs across the world within a span of 28 years.
He has chronicled the journey in his second book "Wonderful Joys of Running," which also talks about the benefits of running. "I took up running at the age of 50 simply to better my health but what I discovered was a passion. Running not only made me healthy, it changed my personality," the practising physician cardiologist said. Roy, who does not let age come in the way of a career in running, released his book at the Press Club of India here yesterday.
"My friends who served with me in Indian Air Force where I worked for 21 years, said that I was very short-tempered and grumpy but now I am a changed man, much calmer and stress free," he said.
Roy has run 44 marathons in the US and 12 in Canada. Other countries include UK, Greece, Finland, Russia, Pakistan and Macau. "The lowest point was when in November 2011 my right lower limb was paralysed and I had to go for a neuro-surgical operation. It took me almost two years to recover and run marathons again," he said.
Roy claims to hold the unbroken Indian National record of marathon for 55 plus age group which he made in 1987 in a record time of 3 hours 10 minutes. His first book was on "The Joy of Running".
The author said, "My second book book is divided into two parts, I have penned my experiences and memories from running all over the globe. It also contains benefits of running as well as how one can train for marathon running."
Taking a trip down the memory lane he said, "Ranjit Bhatia who died few weeks back, was a great friend and an inspiration. He was the first one to spot me while he was a journalist for a news channel."
He added, "The other big inspiration was Emil Zatopek who was my childhood idol and still is." Zatopek who went by the name "Czech Locomotive" was a Czechoslovakia long distance runner who won many Olympic medals.
Emphasising the importance of running, Roy said it is often overlooked by people in India who are "crazy about sports like cricket and badminton".
"Running must be made compulsory for school children only then in the next 10 to 15 years, India can produce ace runners," he said. "Today my granddaughter runs and so does my daughter. One of the memorable moments we had was in September last year when we became the first father-daughter team to run a half marathon in Philadelphia," he recollects.
Roy completed his 115th marathon in January 2013 in Mumbai and says he is fit to run many more.