Five years ago, Sanket Bhirud ran in a local competition. The next year, at the age of 12, the visually challenged Bhirud participated in the Mumbai Marathon.
After a gap of four years, the 16-year-old will once again participate in the marathon on Sunday. He will run in the six-km-long Dream Run category.
“Since my last participation, I worked on increasing my stamina through swimming and other exercises,” said Bhirud, who is also a state-level swimmer.
This will be the last time for this Class 11 student of Mulund College of Commerce (MCC) to run in this category.
“Next time, I aim to win the Half Marathon (21 km),” said Bhirud. “All these days, I was practicing for the Half Marathon but missed the deadline to fill the form.”
Unable to practise in a nearby ground due to overcrowding, Bhirud, a Mulund resident, has been practising by running on a treadmill for 30 to 40 minutes every day.
“After I finish college, I rush to a gym to practise for the race,” he said.
His coach in college, Ramesh D. Mishra, described Bhirud as one with a very high sportsman spirit.
“Despite his disability, Bhirud would never say ‘I can’t do’ or ‘I am tired’. He has worked quite hard on building his stamina,” said Mishra, sports director for MCC’s junior college.
While Bhirud will run with the help of a guide for directions, his parents are
hopeful that their son will one day make it alone on the racing track.
“He recently participated alone in a swimming competition in the sea. I am sure that one day he will win a marathon without a guide,” said his mother Varsha, a homemaker.