How Anupam overcame personal tragedy and ran the SCMM


I started running during PUNE RUNNING‘s LSoM events followed by Pune Triathlon and Ruggedian. Some good practice sessions followed and it gave me the confidence to consider doing my first full marathon at SCMM 2016.

The first challenge was to get a qualification certificate. I missed  the Bharat FC run but, thanks to PUNE RUNNING’s Arvind Bijwe, managed to get registered for NIO VISION Marathon.

With my limited training, I should have known better than to make an overambitious attempt to do a Sub-2 hour half marathon. The over speeding comfortably got me an SCMM qualifying certificate but left behind a bad knee pain leaving me out of action for two months.

When I resumed training in October, there was still enough time for me to practice well and build up mileage and speed in a gradual manner. The training was going perfectly as per plan. And then tragedy struck.

On 26th Dec 2015, Three weeks before SCMM, I lost my father leaving me completely shattered. SCMM was the last thing on my mind as I was recovering from the shock of such a huge loss.

I joined back work on 11th Jan unsure of my SCMM participation. The tipping point was a discussion with my colleague Priyanka Shah. Her advice was clear, “you have to run SCMM for your father”.

Decision made and I informed my friends. Aparna Prabhudesai helpfully collected my bib.

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My pre-race day routine was anything but ideal.

I reached Mumbai the night before race day at 11pm. It was a hectic travel from Ahmednagar to Pune to Mumbai keeping me on the road for a good 8 hours.

I stayed over at a friend’s place. There was a lot of catching up chat to do and we went to sleep only at 1:30am.

Anxiety ensured that I wake up at 3:30 am and reach the venue at 4:45am.

It was relaxing to meet my running seniors Aparna and Mahesh who assured me that I would complete the run successfully even if I was out of practice for three weeks.

A quick call to my mother and her best wishes later the race was flagged off and off I went.

I started fine at my target pace of 5:30min per km. By the 3rd km I felt a slight pain in the knee. It was quite an effort to maintain a slower pace and remain calm.

I ran with a lady who had an inspiring “GARIMA-I AM BUSY GETTING STRONGER” message on the back of her t-shirt for the next 13-14kms.

The beautiful sea link view also brought back the knee pain further reducing my pace. I then tailed a runner named Murthy (Bib # 696) up to 25th km.

The knee felt better so I upped the pace and was on my own for the next 5 kms.

I crossed the 30km mark and the knee pain was back. This time it was intense.

I slowed down considerably but kept moving. I made a call to my mother and said “Maa, I have completed 33 kms only 9 kms are left. Papa and you have got me up to here and I am sure, with your blessings, I will get through the remaining part as well”

The last 9 kms was an emotional roller-coaster ride. Peddar Road climb was dealt with at a very slow pace. However, the Marine drive run was at a good pace. With 1600 metres to go, I decided to give it everything and went full blast to complete my first ever full marathon at SCMM 2016 in 4 hours and 10 minutes!

I was overcome with emotion and my eyes welled up. I thanked God and my father. I made phone calls to my mother, sister and my best friend Anubhav Singh Rathore. Priyanka was waiting for me at the finish, I thanked her profusely for instilling the self-belief in me.

Incidentally, the knee pain seemed to vanish completely as I crossed the finish line!

There are many people who have guided me in my journey – Bhagwan Singh Sir, Mahadev Sir, Vijay Sir, Aparna Mam, Kishore Sir, Mahesh Sir, Prasad, and the entire PUNE RUNNING community. I can’t thank them enough.

Anupam Khanduja is a running enthusiast.

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69 Responses

  1. Really gutsy of you to finish a full marathon inspite of a devastating loss. You story is very inspiring. Keep your chin up and keep running
    Vinita Apte

  2. Apoorva Sharma says:

    Congratulation! Cheers! Keep it Up!

    Well I was pretty sure you will finish the marathon just to inspire you and trigger your sportsmen spirit I made that comment a day prior to your marathon, “what will you do, you’ve been out of practice”

    That was the moment I could hear the confidence in your voice and you said, “I’ll finish it.”

    I knew you will.

    Keep Running! Stay Motivated!

    The show must go On.
    Stay Blessed!

  3. vikas says:

    Amazing anupam. It has been great to run with u. When u mention that u slowed down I thought that u are going to take 5 hrs. And there in the end u are almost sub 4hr. Unbelievable.
    Sad about your father. My condolences. He would be really proud of u

  4. Darshanjeet Singh says:

    Keep running. Pain is a mere distraction. God speed buddy.

  5. Namit says:

    Anupam, in your college time only I recognise your abilities like leadership, quick learner, heartily person and its still with you. That’s all your respect to your parents and their blessings you achieve this. You will achieve great heights with same inspiration and blessings. God bless you dear

  6. Akanksha says:

    Well done!! Khanduja.. We are proud of you….

  7. Gopinath says:

    Priyanka is great friend to have..well done Mate..inspiring..your father would be happy to see this from heaven

  8. YR MURTHY says:

    U r gr8 man… really superb… the entire Jakkash fraternity is proud of you

  9. Prasad Patil says:

    Stupendous Anupam, always thinking U really don;’t know ,what other person is going through. . . . recalling Sachin’s story of England World cup match where Sachin scored a century to show his love for this DAD and what an amazing way to pay tribute to d loved once, Am sure every one at Pune community proud of you. . . Keep running . . Smiling n running and. . ..keep inspiring many more. . .

  10. Mahesh kumar says:

    You are a rockstar Anupam , you made to feel proud to your family and friends. My best wishes to you keep rocking as always. It’s a great achievement and hoping to see you crossing many more mile stones.
    All the best

  11. Shripad says:

    Great Anupam. Damm sure your father must be watching you from heaven and feeling proud. Good leason to all other like me to give silly excuses.

  12. Taranjeet says:

    Proud of you Anupam!!!

  13. Prachi khanduja says:

    Well done anupam khanduja…We are proud of you… keep up this strong will and you ‘ll achieve wat you want one day..

  14. Ankita says:

    Proud of u jawaan….

  15. Varun says:

    Proud of you buddy..keep it up.. Keep running

  16. Sonal Tirpude says:

    keep it up Anupam..your family and we all are proud of you.. we will see more of your achievements in near future.. all the best 🙂

  17. Harish says:

    Simply amazing Anupam…with your parent’s blessings and your own grit you have completed your first FM. Hats off to u

  18. Anil Vishwakarma says:

    You have shown your mental toughness which is your strenght buddy.. It takes more than muscle, more than practice.
    Truely inspired…!!!

  19. Nain Tejwani says:

    Anupam 4:10 is an amazing time man ! Congratulations on ur first FM and many more to come ! Keep running !

  20. Shatakshi says:

    Awesome khandu.. We all r proud of u.. So sorry.. I didnt knew about ur dad.. He must b watching frm heaven and feeling proud of u.. Keep it up buddy (y)

  21. Priyanka says:

    Hey dude salute to ur dedication. Let me tell say you are an excellent runner. During our daily talk over phone I knw u were busy always busy talking abt running n cycling. By that only I knew that you really did tough practice for SCMM. Due to work pressure I was unable to talk to u n wen we talked u told me u lost ur father which was really v sad news. After a week wen u told me that u will not run SCMM that day only I have decided I will make u strong to fulfill ur dream . N finally u did it. I m really v proud of u to have u as my friend. Frankly telling u if I wud be at ur place I wud have not done wt u did . Keep running.

    • Anupam Khanduja says:

      Thanks Priyanka thanks for this motivating comment and thanks for motivating me before as well aur if u were had been at my place I would hai motivated u then

  22. Aparna Chhajed says:

    Hey Anupam
    Condolences on the immeasurable loss.
    Hats off to you for finding the strength birth physical and mental to actually go and give it a shot.
    To run with such good timing is the silver lining.
    Kudos to you …very inspiring !

  23. Suyog says:

    Hi Anupam salute to you for your bravado! Not only you made proud your beloved parents and soul of your late father you have given hopes to people like me who have knee pain that they can complete 42 km! Hats off to your determination and will power!

  24. Himalaya Monga says:

    Anupam bhaiya.. chakk ditte fatte..
    sorry for the loss.. you are amazing keep rocking..

  25. abhishek gaur says:

    Great job…a very beautifully scripted run to the finish line..4.1 is absolutely excellent with such pain and a humongous personal tragedy at the back of ur mind..god bless n keep running

  26. Pragya Saha says:

    I feel like a worst friend ever! Not being there wen u needed the most!
    But ur story is way too inspiring! M proud of u sweetheart! Always keep it going!

  27. Pavan Chawda says:

    Great Anupam. You are inspiration to many people now. Many many many ccongratulations.

  28. Priti Dutta says:

    Stupendous Anupam!!It feels proud to know you!! Your father would be proud of u!!

  29. Ingit says:

    Dear Anupam, a very inspiring race report rather an array of expressions/emotions of yours through the journey of SCMM FM challenge . The word challenge (apart from running and practice) here refers to your ability to beat your mind and an emotional state of yours, a very difficult one, due to loss of your father. The god has blessed all the human beings with the biggest asset so called “WILL”. The intensity varies from person to person. You have got an IRON will man!!! A very strong will power of yours that had beat your mind and your own belief. You did really very very well. Kudos to Priyanka for instilling the lost confidence and made you realize of your potential/will to take up this challenge with her advice. Keep it Up.

    Very proud of you Anupam! May god bless you and your family with strength.

  30. Vikas choudhary says:

    Well done Khandu..
    NCC m apnea group leader available nahi that tu.
    Proud of you buddy.

  31. Sheetal Kulkarni says:

    Hats off man! We feel so proud of you. Keep it up. Excellent!!

  32. supreme varjatia says:

    Congratulations bro..
    Keep it up
    U r the best example to others..✌?

  33. Deepika says:

    Please accept my sincere condolences.

    Great job!!
    Keep it up and stay blessed and motivated.

  34. Lovely Bodani says:

    Kudos to you Anupam!! very very inspiring … Take care!! 🙂