Record-holder Adil Nargolwala finds solutions to a plethora of problems while running

Adil Nargolwala is a man of many passions. Now 47 years old, he is a senior HR professional at WNS Global Services, a dedicated family man, a lover of motorsports, and a very passionate runner. To top it off, he is trustee & secretary of the Delhi Parsi community and president of his residential society.

When he talks about running, the energy is evident in every line he says. It’s been nearly a decade since Adil ran his first marathon but he still remembers that one vividly. It was in his office in Pune where he was overcome with an urge to enter the 2009 Standard Chartered Half-Marathon just days before the D-Day. His colleagues tried to explain that entries to these events close a month prior to the race day but Adil wasn’t about to give up.

He got in touch with a good friend who reminded him that he had never run before nor trained for the event. His simple reply was “Don’t give me medical advice, just give me a bib”. Three days later he was the proud finisher of his first half-marathon. Despite the inevitable aches and pains that he experienced, he was hooked to running.

Solving problems with running

Running became a way for him to clear his mind, a way to think and find out solutions for himself, a dynamic way to meditate. “When you’re running, you are running on your own,” he says. “You are competing with your own self. The only competition is the road you’re running on. Somewhere, you have got to fight the gremlins in your head and somewhere you just blank out everything and just run for the fun of it.

“There are problems in life and you think about solving them as you run. A lot of work- related ideas come when you run. It’s your own time when you put four and a half hours in a marathon and two hours in a half-marathon.”

As the number of running events increased over the years, so did Adil’s participation. The past three to four years have seen him making a more concerted effort and the results are evident. Last year saw him enter the Limca Book of Records for completing 39 long distance runs including ultrasmarathons, marathons and half-marathons in the space of a year. This year, he plans to go further with a goal of 60 such events, a feat not unthinkable for the sixth Indian in the world to complete the Abbott World Marathon Majors. While his accomplishments portray him as an incredibly driven individual, his desire to run lies in a far simpler explanation.

Connecting with the world

“I don’t run for any reason other than having fun. I am not very fast nor very slow. I just love to run. I get up in the morning and run in the fresh air. Sometimes the sun isn’t even out and you are running in darkness and get to see the sun rise.”

His desire to enjoy himself while running has led him all around the world. “I love to go to places, experience new things, enjoy the carnival kind of festival that you have with larger runs both in and outside the country. These iconic runs like London, New York and Boston, they take you through the heart of the city. You experience those cities like no other way.”

With the popularity of running on the rise, brands flock towards athletes but Adil continues to promote his company’s brand, a token of gratitude for its long support. Fitness might have become integral to his life, but Adil advises others not to follow exactly in his footsteps. “I ran a half-marathon in one stretch but I wouldn’t encourage everybody to do the same. If you are not really into running, you could start with a smaller event like a couple or five kilometers of walking.”

Even though Adil encourages others to begin with baby steps, he provides the key element that has kept him going all these years. “If you don’t enjoy it you are not going to continue it. You’ll do it once or twice and then maybe you’ll stop. If you make it tough, you won’t go back to it ever. So the idea is not to do it in a way which will put you off the idea. The idea is to do it in a way which would keep you going,” he concludes.

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