The 2015 Frankfurt Marathon will remain special for Nitin Kale. The financial hub of Germany was bustling with a carnival-like atmosphere; there was a sense of joy and anticipation in the crowd and the elite runners were going all-guns-blazing displaying a perfect show of stamina and strength. But for Kale, none of this mattered.
Nursing a knee injury, though he chose to run the daunting distance of 42.195 kilometres, he knew it was never going to be an easy run. He kept contemplating quitting the race midway, even looked around for help. But nothing would come to his aid and he would pick himself and continue charging forward.
He would push himself through every distance and eventually cross the finish line. Little did he realise what he had achieved then. Yes, completing a marathon with an injured knee should be a feat in itself but this man would go a step further and clock his personal best at the race. Three hours and 46 minutes read his timing chip and Kale was a relived man. “I didn’t see a point in not running,” he says about the race. “The preparations were all done and it was just three weeks earlier that I endured a knee injury. I didn’t want to give in that easy.”
Working as the vice president at a Japanese IT company, Kale would frequently visit Japan early in his career. It was there that he picked up the knack of running. What started as a stroll in the park later transpired into timed 10K runs.
His 10K journey was going well when Kale’s eagerness to do more saw him run his first full marathon in 2007. Though he would finish the race, it’s the timing that left a sour taste in his mouth. “It took me over six hours to complete that race. It was a disaster,” he says, recalling his first tryst with the distance. “I think I wasn’t fully aware of the marathon. I directly jumped from 10K to a full marathon, which is not advisable. After doing that full marathon, I felt pretty bad about myself that I couldn’t clock a better time.”
That disaster saw Kale take a break from running. However, an increasing waistline and the monotony of an IT lifestyle urged him to join a running club in Mumbai in 2011, some four years after he quit. This time though, he had a plan in place. After a series of short distance runs, Kale signed up for a half marathon in 2012 and clocked a commendable time too.
Since his return, Kale has completed the country’s oldest Ultra marathon — the Bangalore Ultra marathon — where he finished the second runner-up in the open category. He also improved on his previous best in a marathon by clocking three hours and 37 minutes at the 2017 Mumbai Marathon.
Apart from running, Nitin is also a passionate photographer and covers a plethora of running events as a hobby. He understands the importance of balancing his personal and running endeavours and works efficiently towards it. “I encourage my wife to run. So, this year, she also ran the half marathon in Mumbai. Apart from that, my son who is 10 years old, also runs in school events,” says the lanky Mumbaikar who believes his friends and family are his biggest support system.
He is now working on his swimming skills to participate in the Ironman events and is keeping an eye on the Boston Marathon. “I am taking triathlon as a cross-training exercise and will give it six months or so and then I will select a race to try for the Boston qualifying time.”