RUNNING AND LIVING by Rahul Salim Verghese

What a nice book this is, and written by such a nice, unassuming man, too.

In the interests of full disclosure, I know Rahul a little socially, and, of course, “professionally,” through the runs he organises in and around Delhi, where I live.

“Running and Living” is an easy book to read, in the sense that it is written in a chatty, relaxed style, almost as though you were sitting talking to the author himself.

A relatively late convert to running (but not as late as me, Rahul.  I beat you soundly on that score!) Rahul is one of the lucky people in this world who has followed his dream and his new-found passion.  After 25 years, he stepped calmly off the corporate treadmill, and headed straight for a different world.  The world of running.  He started a company “Running and living”, which uses running as a marketing platform for brands, and his company now organises many races around India.

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I read this book in one long, happy sitting, but it is the kind of book that you can dip in and out of – there are chapters about motivation, about the myriad health benefits of running, and also about Rahul’s own experiences, about which he is endearingly frank and honest about his failures.

The chapter detailing the Everest marathon is thrilling stuff.

There are quotations, motivational messages and –  yaay! –  a training plan for running a marathon.

I am a total, unconditional convert to running, but I am sure that any non-runners reading this will easily be persuaded to lace up their shoes and head out for that first, wonderful run.  Just read about the health benefits, and I guarantee you that you will be out there, running.

Why don’t you check all this out for yourself, and order this book now, by clicking on one of the links below:

Published just a few days ago, in summer 2015, the paperback costs Rs399.

What’s on your running playlist? MAROON 5

I mentioned yesterday that one of the ways running is (sort of) keeping me young is via music, since I keep discovering bands that I would never otherwise have heard about.

Like Maroon 5 and this song “Moves like Jagger”.

Mick Jagger is, of course, my vintage, and the Stones feature a lot on my playlist.  More anon.

Anyway, this catchy song (128 bpm) is on my running playlist and is fun to run to.

If you also now feel like putting “Moves like Jagger” on your playlist, just click on the link below, to go straight to the iTunes store.

70/100. Marathons. (Obviously.)

What did you think I was talking about, then?

70/100 is the current status of our very own marathon man, Piyush Shah, the seemingly tireless man from Ahmedabad, who just keeps running marathons in the middle of the hot summer nights as though they were going out of fashion.

As of last night, he has now run 70 of the 100 target he has set himself.

You may remember that I first blogged about Piyush-ji a mere 7 weeks ago, when he had run his 48th marathon.

Yes, quite. In the 7 weeks since then, while we have all fiddled and faddled, and grumbled about the heat and the humidity, and promised ourselves we would start running properly once the weather is better…Piyush has, quietly and with zero fuss, run another 22 marathons.

22 marathons in 53 days.

Do the maths, friends.

As someone struggling to run beyond 15k in this brutal summer heat, I am, as ever, utterly speechless in the face of such achievements, and even though I haven’t ever met Piyush-ji, what I admire about him, from afar, is his low-key approach.

Social media is full of people sharing photos of themselves with medals and doing V for Victory poses, and yet with none of this hoopla, Piyush runs and runs and runs.  All we get are screen shots of his Garmin.


Hats off to yet another amazing milestone, and yes, of course, we aall await the remaining 30 marathons…yikes, just think, 30 marathons…

What did you see on your run today? Yikes! A what?!!

So, as you may have gathered from the odd connectivity moment, we were in Borneo last week, on a scuba diving holiday on Mabul Island, and the whole thing was utterly fabulous.

Our hotel was built on stilts, jutting out into the ocean and is connected by a walkway over the ocean to the little island, so going for a run every day was – yes, indeed – interesting. (The #100daysofrunning challenge, remember…)

Mainly I ran along the wooden runway connecting our hotel to the island, and then ran round and round and round the island (for ’tis a very teensy tiny darling little island).

And one evening, as I ran along the walkway, I stopped to gaze down at the ocean (as one does) and see what I spied…a ginormous banded sea krait:

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Sure knocks the stray dogs of Delhi into a cocked hat, I can tell you.

But despite its fearsome appearance and its seriously toxic bite (Google it, if you don’t believe me) these sea snakes are not aggressive.  Hmm, yes, whatever.

#stoppedforaphoto  #outforarun  #neveradullmoment

What’s on your running playlist? AVRIL LAVIGNE

One of the (many) great things about running is that it keeps you young.

I swear by it.

Once I’d put all my generation’s music on my running playlist –  Beatles, Stones, Queen…and yes, of course, Abba – then I had to start casting around for other songs. Through a judicious mix of my children’s input + checking on “the best 50/100 running songs” kind of websites, I keep discovering new music.

Avril Lavigne’s “Girlfriend” is one such song.

164 bpm.

Great to run to.

If this song isn’t on your running playlist, no worries.

You can download it right now, by clicking on the link below.

What’s on your running playlist? STRONGER by KELLY CLARKSON

No, I haven’t forgotten our running playlist, far from it
It’s just that I was on holiday with very, very slow internet, so blogging became a chore rather than a pleasure.

But now the travels are over, and I’m back in Delhi (though with an equally slow internet as well, if the truth be told…)

So, yes, where was I?
Songs that are good to run to.

Try this one for size.

“Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson, a song my children introduced me to.

Both the rhythm (128bpm) and the lyrics are good.

If you don’t already have Kelly Clarkson on your playlist, then you can download the song right now, by clicking on the link below:

Oh, the amazing power of our #100daysofrunning challenge

Let me set the scene for you.

I write this sitting in a village on stilts, on a sandbank off Mabul Island, which is off the coast of Borneo, which is off the coast of Malaysia.

Pretty remote, in other words, and absolutely fabulous.

We are on a family scuba diving holiday, and after our first day’s diving today –  3 dives, 6 boat trips, lots of sun, lots of swimming – I felt bushed.  Flat out tired & ready to turn in and sleep for ever.

In the normal course of events, there is no way on earth I would’ve gone for an evening run.  Just way too tired.

But there’s this challenge, remember?

100 days of running.


Involving people I hardly know/don’t know at all/may well never meet.

Nothing “in it” other than personal satisfaction.

And so…obviously I went out for a run.

AND felt fantastic, energized, and so much better for having trotted up and down the walkway linking our hotel to the tiny island of Mabul.  Over the walkway, onto the island, down the sandy track towards the beach, with coconut palms everywhere.

Too, too good.


Between the adrenalin of running and the compulsiveness (is that actually a word?) of a challenge, there is no way I could not lace up my running shoes, exhaustion or no exhaustion.

#100daysofrunning is one of the most amazing things to have happened.

Just can’t believe we are entering the home straight.

What did you see on your run today? #14 comes from London


Our running photo today comes from Bushy Park, London, courtesy of my friend Romit (he of the beer bottle photo. Exactly, well remembered).

Romit told me about the concept of Park Runs, when he was on a visit to Delhi late last year, and we trotted sedately down Rajpath, chatting about different running cultures.
Park Run is a global movement, whereby runners rock up at a local park, and run. For free. Local volunteers organise it.
What this means is that if you are travelling, you can just go online, find which park everyone is running in, and Bob’s your uncle.

Not sure how this would work in India.
(Actually, it might work quite well, having seen the brilliant organisation of the 100km run 2 weeks ago in Dwarka.)

Back to London.
Romit whatsapped me this photo, above, of his run this weekend. 902 people turned up.
Heck, but that’s a lot of people for a casual weekend friendly run.

What did you see on your run today? #13 comes from Kuala Lumpur

I went out for a run late last night in Kuala Lumpur – and as an aside oh, the joys of running in a city with proper street-lighting and safe roads.  More anon…

Yes, so I went out running late last night, and set out just as a massive tropical storm broke over the city.  Thunder, lightening, torrential rain, so I took shelter under a footbridge with a smiley Chinese Malay man who politely offered me a plastic chair.


We sat there in companionable smiling silence for ages (probably about 20 minutes) while the storm raged, and then when it began to calm down, he got up, smiled even more and said “When stop rain, you go run” and off he went.

Despite the downpour, the streets were not flooded, the traffic lights were working, the traffic was flowing normally…fellow dilliwalas, you get my drift?

So off to the pretty KLCC park I went, and watched with delight as the remnants of the storm raged around the top of the Petronas Towers.  Lots of lightening but not much else, as the storm blew itself out, and as it abated, the sky was just gorgeous:



What did you see on your run today? #12 comes from Delhi

Shikha Dadwal, a charming young lady I met during the Dwarka 100 km race last weekend, sent me today’s running photo.

During that long hot and oh-so-humid race, since we were both running in opposite directions, we would pass each other every loop, and never once did Shikha fail to give me a thumbs up, a smile, a cheery “Well done” – so, better late than never, thank you for being so welcoming and supportive.

Shikha spotted this little Ganesh propped on the railings outside her park in Vikaspuri, and she told me that she wondered whether or not someone had just abandoned their faith…Shikha, I am neither Indian nor Hindu, but surely no…not abandoning Ganesh-ji? Would someone really leave him like this?

I’d much rather imagine it to be someone leaving him there to bless their morning walk or run…😀


Thanks for the photo, and please keep on running and photographing for us all.

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