Trailblazers: Senior Marathon Enthusiast – Srinivasan Raghavan, PGP 77

Age is just a number is a proverb yet again proven by our Alumni Srinivasan Raghavan. Marathon enthusiast with zeal for life is how people would describe him. He has enjoyed continuous success in seven consecutive annual editions of the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon (ADHM) from the year 2013 to 2019. His story is very inspiring and will encourage many to take on more challenges. The L Square team spoke with Mr. Raghavan about his love for the sport, inspiration, and message for alums.

My inspiration for running –

Nothing succeeds like success, especially if the same was reached in an unfamiliar skill and learning, thanks purely to inspired friends young and peers alike. The success in my first ever event the year 2013 ADHM (Airtel Delhi half Marathon), when I was already into my 63rd year, was infectious as it made me know something about myself that I hardly knew. It also gave me the awareness that many of the members of the ISHA Delhi group and elsewhere who were instrumental in introducing me to this event were now ever since then, keen to learn and share from my inspiration as also continue to seek guidance to this day. This continuous passion has led to my feeling certainly more eager and agile at many of my ‘professional’ activities as it also often gives me a diverse view and approach in taking up my consulting and teaching pastimes. By this, I also firmly ensured that my past health and medical adventures are best left to a grateful part of the past and not hinder the present and the future. It has also given me the opportunity to communicate the energy to the group of many an admirer in the place (residential colony and social circuit) where I live.

Impact of running in my life –

Running also has made me keen to engage with such friends as above and encourage them to be always willing to take up new activities. Focus and passion I find, gives you new horizons, not only am I a kind of Mascot for encouraging other runners from the ISHA group but it has also given me the ability to innovate and improvise every year be it in the warm-ups or in the capability build-up. The interesting aspect is wherever I travel in the USA when visiting my daughters; I make sure I keep running every day! My most passionate admirers are (as also my advisers) are my two daughters, both Ph.D. researchers in the US universities (New York). In my own way, as I would like to mention the satisfaction has only increased.

My most fulfilling runs –

The year 2018 and 2019 events have been the most fulfilling runs as I clocked a very improved timing (over 20 minutes sooner) in 2018 and in 2019 I managed to maintain it, (though the heat did play a serious spoilsport for the entire three months leading to the preparation).

Common misconceptions about running –

Very often both before my initial success and subsequently I do find many misconceptions about running marathons ranging from – a) your health and joints are at risk, b) your life span, c) oh you must be having lot of stamina and must be taking proteins!).

How I prepare myself for a marathon –

I wish to share here that my initial success was largely attributable to my having subtly noticed, ‘preparing and running for marathons is a very scientific and passionate ‘mind game’. Take the mind out of the equation the body exactly knows how to take forward (its) memories. Yes, passion is a must, as otherwise, one will be more weighed in by each and every ‘contrary’ view and ‘advice’!

Certainly, I carry the view from the marathon, into my professional and consulting engagements. (Yes since the past more than a year I am nursing carefully another marathon goal – I have registered for pursuing a Ph.D. in management with a leading central university and have cleared the written papers, the topic approval will take some time though). 

The management lesson I often drive home is –

Yes, a marathon is a long shot, but then much well-cultivated life’s ambitions and professional excellence are sure instances that are better served only by a passion and capability building just as it turned out for the marathon. Now having tasted the success of seven consecutive editions of half marathon (ADHM) from 2013 to 2019 as I have entered my seventieth year, I could not help aspiring to do one more encore in the new year, hoping to run my first ‘full marathon’ (hoping!) at Tata Mumbai marathon in January 2020. This is just akin to scaling new excellence and self-belief/self-discipline ladders. Whenever I see any smiling well-wisher in the neighborhood and other areas where I run often, as also the curious onlookers and familiar admirers, I only exhort and encourage every one of them to get into running (young and old alike).

My message to all the alumni will be –

 I see so many of you already running across in various global events. Our Alumni are spread in various global locations.  The alumni are achievers in many professional fields. The technology and digital age gives everyone a wide reach and also time and resources for building passions. Let marathon be a passion that more and more of our Alumni build-up, it will for sure propel them into even greater professional leadership and success achievers, for sure. I am sure they will also have ‘mastered their mind’. Is not that a passion and capability that deserves all attention? Thanks for tuning into this ‘fun channel’. Do keep talking to me – you will, I assure, not be disappointed.

When you think this is all what it could be, life surprises you with people Mr. Raghavan who motivate you to take on new roles and challenges. Kudos to his enthusiasm and spirits. A true inspiration indeed.