Mumbai Marathon: Age is just a number for this visually impaired shop owner from Malad
The 62-year-old is planning to run his 83rd marathon on Sunday.mumbai Updated: Jan 20, 2018 12:45 IST
What started out as a hobby has now turned into an “addiction” for visually-impaired Amarjeet Singh Chawla, 62, who will participate in his 83rd marathon this Sunday. Chawla, who runs marathons every other Sunday, intends to complete his 101st marathon run at Mumbai marathon next year.
Chawla lost his eyesight at the age of 40 and ran his first marathon at 48 in 2004 when he participated in 7-km dream run. He was escorted by former cricketer Kapil Dev, which he said encouraged him to continue the sport.
“I decided to start running at the age that most sportspersons retire, and was addicted to it after the first few months. I ran 20 marathons last year and intend to run 19 this year, so that 101st marathon run will be at Mumbai marathon next year,” he said.
Chawla runs a lottery shop in Malad and helps his wife, Gurpreet Kaur, with her insurance services business. Kaur said it was initially difficult for them to afford registration fees for the marathon events while also managing household expenses. Moreover, the visually-impaired runners have to pay for their escorts as well. However, she started supporting his hobby once she saw that it helped build his self-confidence.
So far, Chawla has won the gold medal for 50-metre free style at the All India Swimming competition for disabled in Mumbai, completed the 300-kilometre Mumbai-Shirdi rally walk, and is the only visually impaired person scale the 19,830-feet high Dolma Pass in Tibet.
His escort for the upcoming marathon, Aarti Kamble said that his escorts and fellow-participants are the ones who often struggle to catch up to his pace.
“The last time I was escorting him, he was brisk walking but I had to run to catch up with him. He is always enthusiastic about the runs,” she said.