A Decade of Running-Non runner to Official guide at Boston Marathon 2019

Rightly said, the only thing that is constant is change. But I’d like to add to it. Drastic changes in life only happen if you keep working towards your goals tirelessly.

Hi, I am Bhumika Patel, 44;  Global Program Manager – Cybersecurity at IBM.

I started running in 2009, but it was since 2013 that my running career flourished. I represented India at World Master Athletics Championships in Brazil. I participated in first Pinkathon with 3000 women from my company winning the Award for Best Corporate participation-IBM, Maximum Participation from a corporate – IBM and won my first Pinkathon 5k (individual) and corporate 5k team winner. With the same awards in 2014, this time with 2000 women from IBM; I also won the first prize in 21 k and the Hero of Pinkathon award. This continued in 2015, when I completed my First International at London Marathon and made yet another 21k podium at Pinkathon. This was when I began volunteering for Pinkathon Training with Milind Soman’s encouragement and soon as Headcoach for the Blind People’s Association Ahmedabad, Devnar School For Blind-Hyderabad, Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled and Mitra Jyoti Institute for Blind, and several homes for visually impaired across India.

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Today I lead corporate/women running teams in various locations across India.

In 2015 I completed my First International at London Marathon. In between the hard training days, I would try to adjust my give back to these women and kids, which I found very challenging at start but gradually I settled down into a routine. I found it very satisfying to encourage and support cancer survivors and visually impaired to run. And happiness reaches its zenith when they scale kilometres or cross the marathon finish lines.

While training non-runner women is not an easy task, training visually impaired girls from an underprivileged background can be more challenging. In 2016, I started training the visually impaired and alongside started conducted separate Guide runners’ trainings which later shifted to Cult centers across the city as workshops to sensitize about challenges faced by the visually impaired with techniques to guide them, as a part of Pinkathon training. We had to ensure a strong back up of volunteers from among the Pinkathon training girls and corporate/running community for coordination, pick up, drop, running gear collection, distribution-storage, correspondence like emails, leave applications from offices or colleges of the visually impaired, crew support during training/races etc. Amidst all this, I completed several global marathons- London, Berlin, Copenhagen,Tokyo,Chicago,Frankfurt within 4hrs.

 

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Thus the visually impaired training resulted in stupendous team work by empowered women. My work with Pinkathon Training was recognised internationally and I was voted as GameChangers2017  ’21 Women who are transforming the world through Running’ by Women’s Running Magazine USA in 2017.

The team have evolved and become more organised and self driven over the years. There is a lot I have learnt in my journey of training the visually impaired. In spite of varying degrees of vision loss, these young girls and boys have not a thing to sulk about. The girls saw a significant improvement in fitness and timings improved over the previous runs at Pinkathon. Running workshops were conducted on running, strength training and recovery with guiding techniques and sensitization, at Cult centers across the city for men and women both, as there was growing demand to become guides. This was a major activity carried out simultaneously with visually impaired training. There was active participation from corporates and the project Received the India South Asia Outstanding Volunteer Work 2018 Award by IBM along with Grants.

These achievements were noted by media and Blind institutes contacted me after listening to news in All India Radio broadcast news for Blind and many more visually impaired were encouraged to join.

 

In July 2018, 15 visually impaired runners were selected from among 25 to train for the half and the full marathon on Oct 21th at Bengaluru. We started taking the necessary steps in a jiffy like conducting their blood tests, their physical assessments, planning out their workout regimen and diet charts as per their report analyses. Me and Milind already knew their grit and after witnessing their enthusiasm and achievements and in early 2018 decided that the runners who complete the full marathon will be trained for the Spirit of Pinkathon run from Mysuru to Bengaluru which is roughly 145 km. What happened in the 6 months of training, is something I will treasure for a lifetime. The guide team and the doctors kept on their toes to make sure the runners complete the  runs as per plan, free of any pain or injury. There were moments of fun, laughter, pain, difficulties. The tough times always started from bringing the visually impaired to a central venue in the morning wee hours, three to four times a week. It was astonishing to see how the girls and boys actively attended trainings and later then their office/college with the same amount of enthusiasm. On Pinkathon Day/October 21, 2018, History was created as India Book of Records awarded a certificate to 23 year old visually impaired girl Suneetha N D, who became the first visually impaired girl in India to finish a full marathon (42.2km)

There were a lot many write ups, news articles, videos and interviews posted on various platforms about this event which happened from 23rd to 25th January 2019. I was stupefied by the tremendous love and appreciation by the country. Karnataka Olympic Association for the reward and the department of youth services rewarded the athletes at the finish line! And thank you Pinkathon and Milind Soman for a grand commendation. Their generous gesture will be a prime motivation not only for them but also for numerous athletes pursuing their dreams in sports. I am invited by the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired to run as Official Guide at the upcoming Boston Marathon 2019 and its a significant milestone in bringing International exposure and expertise to help the athletes with a brighter future!

 

 

References:   

IBM & Pinkathon : https://www.facebook.com/100004582650551/posts/281134315382655?sfns=mo

https://d.facebook.com/Pinkathon/photos/a.375387162548740.93471.369025376518252/1495889167165195/?type=3&__tn__=EHH-R

 

Credit: Shradha Dalvi

 

You can follow my journey

Fb https://www.facebook.com/bhumikarunner/

Twitter @bhumikarunner

Instagram @Bhumika.patel1

 

First-of-its-kind Shero10K with 200+ cancer victors/caregivers

Happy to have organized the first-of-its-kind #Shero10K with 200+ cancer victors/caregivers with presence of eminent oncology experts & hospitals under one umbrella!

The Shero10k is our way of making a small attempt to salute the spirit, strength and courage of all our Cancer Sheros. The word Shero is derived from ‘Survivor Heros’. These are victor who braved cancer, hence these victors are called Sheros.
Cancer not only shatters the patient physically mentally and financially, but also traumatizes the entire family of the patient. In this case, all those associated with the patient also need counseling as much as the patient needs. As a part of the year long  Shero initiative, Pinkathon Training Bengaluru introduced  a novel concept of Garegivers Training. This idea struck us after watching our cancer victors scaling more distance, becoming stronger after undergoing trainings at our training centres at Bannerghatta, Lalbaugh and Cubbon.
Conventionally the immediate family was termed as caregivers. Our program has expanded the horizon of caregivers to outside the immediate family by introducing the concept of Caregiver Guides. Our program encourages not only  immediate family member but friends, relatives, peers, hospital staff, Doctors to be part of the Caregiver Guide and accompany the victors in their health and fitness regimen.
The Shero health and fitness program with caregiver guides has been designed with help of medical professionals and  therapists like yoga and meditation, laughter,  art therapy. Cancer Shero Run is a celebration of the effort by victors, caregivers guides to tide over the phase.
21st July 2018 marked the launch of the one of its kind of training initiatives of our Cancer  Sheros at  Pinkathon Training Location – Cubbon Park. Since July 2018 a 20 weeks training schedule has been followed which has been a great success where the victors participated along with caregivers guides to scale up distance . The remarkable outcome of this was when our victors themselves became guides to Visually impaired underprivileged girls helping them improve their fitness and complete challenging distance like half Marathon.  We also saw victors like Uma Pai, Geethashekhar and Ravi going out much beyond their call of duty by giving a strong a pus to this initiative by bringing major oncology institutions under one umbrella.  There will be many more shining victors in future.
This initiative  would not have been possible without the strong support of Milind Soman, Apollo Hospitals and all others.
The event was a 10k run by Shero Victors and their caregivers guides started at 6 am with distribution of T shirts. The lamp lighting brought in sanctity to the event before the flag off of the run. The lamp was lit by Pinkathon Mentor Milind Soman and honourable dignitaries Apollo Hospital, Manipal Hospital, Shankara Hospital, Myshah Foundation and Head Coach Bhumika Patel.
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Milind Soman first gave a welcome speech, followed by shero training report presented by Bhumika Patel. The best part of the event was the victors sharing their stories on stage as a motivation for everyone and Truly Yours artists performed a short skit based on it.

 


The run began at 6.30 with flag off by Milind Soman and he also led the participants along with other volunteers and pacers on the route. The sheros seemed ecstatic as they scaled their kilometres, as they were actually scaling towards good health. After the run was over there was an art exhibition of the art creations made by the sheros and the caregivers. The concluding part of the event was as much exciting since there was an announcement of the Santa Christmas tree. The felicitation of hospitals for the support, distribution of medals and certificates to the participants and vote of thanks concluding the event. The happy and satisfied participants who left the venue with smiling faces was an evidence of the grand success of the program.

 

 

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Training Wheels – Girls of HSR-Bellandur

 

HSR Bellandur training was launched on Jun 30 2018 at Bellandur Central Mall. There was good participation from the residential communities around the mall. There was good support from Divya G, Saroj, Divya M and Rashmita in giving a continuity to the initative.

Sapna and Suverchas have been the most consistent training girls. On Oct 21st they took on the role og guide runner for visually impaired for girls from Mitra Jyoti Institute of Blind. The visually impaired girls and boys training happens 3 days a week at HSR location. More are expected to join from coming weeks.

 

 

Blog : Bhumika,Sapna

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visually impaired Training -Highlights

Since 2016 we started training as guide runners for visuallyimpaired.

These Girls and Boys are from underprivileged background and the challenges are immense.

Leading Ngo’s have nominated some of its best visually impaired athletes. These athletes have been selected after assessing their performances in previous races, Bangalore 10k was one of them. Since then, they have been undergoing rigorous trainings for around 6 days a week with my team.

Starting with their whole body physiotherapy assessments and blood tests, the athletes  were given their nutrition support which included energy drink, pre run snack and nutritious breakfast post run.

They have also been provided running gear and shoes.

Their workout consist of 3 running days, two days of strength training, per week.

Also foam rolling, stretching sessions. Doctors and physiotherapists attend the sessions regularly to assess their health.

Apart from this there are few athletes from the Mitra Jyoti institute for Blind who join us regularly.

Pics from Pinkathon Bengaluru 2016

 I strongly believe that every human being has her set of rights to achieve what normal people do. It was in a Pinkathon event that I learned that there were hundreds of them willing to run and undergo training and the journey started since then. These visually impaired women & kids are from underprivileged background and the challenges are immense.

Event: Training session at JP Nagar  & HSR Samarthanam, Meet and Greet with new members, 2016

Event: First Aid session for Visually Impaired by Alert India, Jagadish, 7 Sep 2017

Event: Self Defence Session for Visually Impaired, Ritika and team,  Sep 2017

Event:

Event : Bengaluru 10k training at Stadium.June 1st 2018 ,  Footballer Sunil Chhetri’s dad joined us as Guide runner for the day !

Event : Visually impaired athletes running Bangalore Marathon
Schedule 1 : Body assessments of VI runners
Date : 25th August 2018
About 10 visually impaired runners of Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled who will be running the Bangalore Marathon on 21st October 2018 are heading speedily towards progress. Since they will be the first set of runners in India to run a full marathon, their schedule is under stringent surveillance by their coach Bhumika and her team.
They underwent body assessment today with physiotherapists. This body assessment is the first major step in their training process since their diets for the 2 months to come will be decided according to their test reports.

Thanks to Dr Sitaraman from PhysiobeFit for the assessments and advise.

Event  : Strength Training sessions at the gym and Kanteerava stadium, Aug to Oct 2018

Event : Running workouts, three days a week at Kanteerava Stadium, HSR Layout, some sessions at Bannerghatta

Many thanks to the running community for their donations of running gear and accessories. Huge contribution from Runners 360 and Pacemakers

See Also :

http://bhumikarunner.blog/2018/10/24/indias-first-visually-impaired-girls-to-finish-a-full-marathon

Blog: Bhumika, Shraddha Dalvi, Sucheta

Pics credit: Enthusionz, Mayur Chandranee

Nature Lover Girls of Cubbon Park

Bengaluru trainings first started with Cubbon Park location! We achieved a major milestone onn Jan 26th 2018, as we celebrated 100 weeks of #PinkathonTrainings at Bengaluru #Cubbon Park !! Thank you Vasundhara for organic millet cake and thanks to Pinkathon Milind Soman for encouragement and support !

 

Pinkathonday Celebrations continued at Cubbon Park on 27 Oct too! With medals and prize distribution.

 

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A big thank you Balasubramaniam, Vasanthi, Vandana, Vasundhara,Preeti and team for leading and supporting the various events at Cubbon Park.

 

Blog: Bhumika

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Oct21st Bengaluru – History in the Making

 

This day was a special one for Bangaloreans as they witnessed a very rare one of its ​​kind phenomenon where visually impai​​red and cancer sheros put their mark in the world of fitness and health. 

​​It was history in the making as visually impaired girls completed Full Marathon first time in India.

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Bangalore Pinkathon Girls enthusiastically participated in making Pinkathon Day a huge success. The Ambassadors and Training Leads worked hand in hand for effective execution. The leads from different locations like Cubbon, Whitefield, Kadugodi, Bellandur/HSR, Jayanagar, Bannerghatta, Indiranagar, Cox town, Malleshwaram , Budigere ,Jeevanbimanagar etc for collection and distribution of  bibs and T Shirts for participants at Kanteerava Stadium.

The most remarkable thing of Bengaluru is that it has recognized and emphasized on fitness of Visually Impaired athletes and Cancer Sheros equally.

route map

Since last 20 weeks, with a need specific training format 15 Visually impaired athletes are ​being r​i​go​ro​usly trained to run a Half Marathon and a Full Marathon which is an outstanding achievement for Pinkathon Training Bengaluru. Hence the choice of marathon and 5k route was based on NammaBengaluru Marathon route for timing record purpose, as this was a record attempt which would create a name in history books.

The training format also focused on the nutrition requirements of the Visually Impaired athletes. Bengaluru has experienced a day where darkness shared vision of success. On Pinkathon day we held their hand, walked their path from the dark to the light of glory.  We are proud to announce that 5 girls and 2  boys explored the joy of completing their Full Marathon. 6 visually impaired girls with strong will power finished their Debut Half  Marathon.

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#PinkathonDayBengaluru VisuallyImpaired Athletes and guides

 

The perfect example of ‘Pinkathon mantra of fitness’ is Geeta, 50 yrs + the colorectal  Cancer Shero. Her fighting spirit and dedication has made her so strong that she attempted her maiden Half Marathon. She is also a guide runner for a Visually impaired  athlete on Pinkathon Day.  Geetha strongly believes that a Cancer Surviviors need strong support from family and friends. She has proved that ‘life after cancer can be beautiful’. She says she dedicates her debut Half marathon run to Head Coach Bhumika who was by her side throughout the journey conquering Minds over Miles.

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Associated with Pinkathon Training as Visually Impaired guide Ravi, a colorectal cancer shero started distance running during the last 3-4 months. He participated in couple of competitive 10ks with a sub 60 minutes timing. Ravi successfully finished his half marathon in the Bangalore Marathon on 21st Oct.

“As I stepped on the running track my face enlightened and eyes sparkled. I ran 5k with lot of aspirations. I reached the finish line leaving all my anxiety and stress behind. On the race day I not only merely earned a medal but also a satisfaction and confidence that now I can live a normal life once again.” were the feeling expressed by Seema a cancer Shero who set a fitness goal on joining Pinkathon Training at Cubbon Park location.It was her maiden 5k run.

 

We can proudly say  ‘We are the power of yesterday today and forever’.

 

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Using COMMUNITY RUNNING as a tool, Pinkathon and it’s Ambassadors have empowered and enabled thousands of women across India to bring positive change into their lives. By understanding that by PRIORITIZING a little bit of time for themselves every day they can bring about change in physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. They can bring change in understanding the value they bring to their families and society, and respecting that value. They will be bringing change to the future of their families by INSPIRING BY EXAMPLE. Bringing the concept of health into every aspect of their lives. Making physical, mental and emotional health the driving force of every decision.  The entire team of Pinkathon Ambassadors and leads had geared up as they executed every task to make the 21st Oct 2018 Pinkathon Day a huge success.

Many thanks to the team which volunteered day and night for the success of the event

Saroj whitefield
Sudha Whitefield
Prachi Hardikar Whitefield
Rashmita HSR
Vandana Cubbon
Vasanthi Cubbon
Geetha Cubbon
Uma pai Cubbon
Rajesh HSR
Vasundhara Malleshwaram
Dr Priya Jayanagar
Hema Jayanagar
Sucheta Kadugodi
Praveen Indiranagar
Shilpee Jeevanbimangar
Preeti Bhuyan Cox Town
Saritha Arra Bannerghatta
Rashmi Mishra Bannerghatta
Himani  Manyata
Uma Pai Bannerghatta
Poonam Mishra Bannerghatta

The celebrations continued the week after with all locations meeting at Cubbon with prize distribution and sharing of experiences!

 

Bannerghatta location also had celebrations and prize distribution the following week!

 

Three Cheers to all who participated enthusiastically !!

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#Live2Inspire #FitWomen4FitFamilies #PinkathonDay #PinkathonDayBengaluru

Blog Credit: Sucheta, Bhumika

Pic Credit: Mayur, Masud, Enthusionz

 

See Also

https://bhumikarunner.wordpress.com/2018/10/24/indias-first-visually-impaired-girls-to-finish-a-full-marathon

https://bhumikarunner.wordpress.com/2018/10/29/kavya-lost-her-eyesight-due-to-stone-injury-while-playing-as-a-child

https://bhumikarunner.wordpress.com/2018/10/26/pinkathonday-ahmedabad-celebrations

https://bhumikarunner.wordpress.com/2018/10/27/pinkathonday-hubbali-wonder-women

https://bhumikarunner.wordpress.com/2018/10/28/pinkathonday-rajkot-glow-girls

 

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