In the last decade, running has become popular among most age groups. After the resounding success of the Mumbai Marathon, different places in Mumbai had their own marathons. As the number of marathons grew, running clubs/groups started mushrooming across the city. One such group that has made remarkable progress over the past few years has been the Lake Homes Panthers(LHP). Started by Vishal Khatry and Chhankang Shu in 2010, this group now boasts of around 40 runners that include ladies. Most of them participate in various marathons across the state and a few of them travel around the country and abroad too.
The Mumbai Marathon (TMM) is a mega event for the LHP. Serious preparation to dish out a good performance begins a few months before the event. The runners religiously practice every day and special training sessions are marked for Sundays. The best thing about them is that they enjoy the run and each other’s company. There is no shortage of friendly banter but everything is taken in the right spirit.
“On Sunday morning, while most people are sleeping, we have a long run and end it with tea and snacks. It’s become a ritual for us. We enjoy so much that we eagerly look forward to the Sunday morning run,” says Vishal. LHP may be the only running group that has a pre-race breakfast. The day before ‘The Mumbai Marathon’, the group with their families assembled at the Club House of Lake Homes and enjoyed breakfast. The breakfast session ended with the cutting of the cake and a photoshoot with the entire group. After wishing good luck they dispersed.
“We welcome more and more people to join us and run for fun. There is no fee to be a part of the group. You just have to run with us once and you too will get addicted. Our group has doctors, pilots, chartered accountants, businessmen, dentists, etc. It provides a great platform for networking too,” says Vishal who is a pediatrician by profession.
After completing the race and resting for a while, preparations were on in full swing for the after-race party. They danced with the same vigour like they ran the race earlier in the day. All of them were seen shaking their legs to some popular Bollywood numbers. There was no shortage of food and drink and everybody was nice and relaxed. A couple of champagne bottles were uncorked and sprayed around.
Finally at 11pm the music stopped and it was time to bid goodbye. A couple of days break and the LHP will hit the road again to prepare for the next marathon.