Age NO BAR to START! An endless Journey of a Young Heart

Living in an era where competition is cut-throat and do or die holds true more than ever, a lot of people succumb to external factors of pressure, most important among them being AGE. The young can look into the future but the old only look at the past, the future holds no appeal to most. This gentleman of 82 does not belong to the majority, he has defied age and shown us with his feats that age after all, is just a number. What might those feats be? Read on.
IJ Kavyashree
Published on: 15th September 2015
He ran for the first 4 kms and was injured by the stray dogs pouncing on him. He got his first aid done and continued to run for the next 12 kms but, unfortunately, the nature didn’t allow him to run further when he fell down and because of the higher amount of blood oozing from his head, he had to stop running and that was the first ever marathon he ran for, at the age of 64, but was left incomplete, recalls Bylahalli Raghunath Janardhan, 82, Trekker, Maranthoner and an ardent lover of Cycling. Serving Indian Railways for 37 long years made him stronger to believe in himself. An incident at the age of 62, made him more adventurous, when he fell unconscious on a Sunday morning while spending time with the family, and when he was diagnosed by doctors and was told that he suffered from Epilepsy, he couldn’t believe and asked himself, how a person like him who was always active at work could suffer from a disease like this. He consulted more doctors with a belief that he hadn’t any problems but the result was the same. While he was recommended to get operated, he opposed it because he believed that he wasn’t suffering from any disease.
A lot of restrictions were posed on him to not step out of home without a person along to help him, because of the fear of him falling unconscious anytime. He continued to take medication for the sake of the family but he only felt more weak mentally every day. Slowly, he began to move out without the family being aware of it. He would wake up early in the morning so that no one could see him leaving alone and would walk for kilometers together and come back home before anyone wakes up. This way he started strengthening himself and a day came when he stepped out and decided to come back only after an adventurous journey. Riding his son’s bicycle, he took a long 76 kms ride to see his son perform in a competition and that was when he comprehended that he needs to do more.

The adventurous kick did not let him sleep and as usual, he woke up early before his family was up, packed some food, took a ride of 72 kilometers in 4 and a half hours and then called his family back, sharing that he just started his journey and would return only after exploring more and continued his ride for the next day for 132 kms. Some people didn’t believe this journey and some praised his achievement. He faced the criticism only taking it as a challenge and this journey was the end to his medications and restrictions. He became stronger everytime he rode his bicycle, only wanting to explore himself more and that was when he realized that his love for running has started. The first ever marathon he started was at the age of 64, when he ran for a full marathon of 42.2 kms but although couldn’t complete it, in the same year, he ran for the Bengaluru Full Marathon completing 42.2 kms in 5 hours 40 minutes.
He has continued his journey as a marathoner till date completing 6 full Marathons including 1 in Dubai, 27 half marathons and ultras or 10k runs are almost common every few months. He continued to participate in Vertical Runs and his first Vertical run at the World Trade centre in the year 2014 of 2 kms and 850 steps was completed in 23minutes. He continued to participate in more vertical runs in the subsequent year too and he remembers his international vertical run at the Kohinoor Square, Dubai which had 1250 steps(52 floors, 666 ft high) and an obvious feature of his in the newspapers of an 81 year old man participating in the vertical run. He made sure to not forget his adventure of cycling and travels in a bicycle to every destination possible. The first cycling didn’t allow him to stop till date and has made him ride 355,000 kms in the past years and Janardhan aims a target of achieving the farthest distance between the Moon and the Earth which is 384,400 kms. This means, another 30,000 kms will help him achieve the target and he believes in completing it in the next 2 years.

If you have felt you must start now with an adventure as a Marathoner or if you have started falling in love for cycling, then you must dream bigger because Janardhan did not stop with the journney of a Marathoner or a Cyclist. His journey as a trekker started in the year 2001, when he started trekking the Himalayan Mountains. The first ever trek was the Roopkund trek of the Himalayas, which is 16,500 ft high, which motivated him to do more of trekking and pushed himself for more trekking in the Himalayas, Western Ghats, Himachal Region, Kulumanali Region, Darjeeling, Sikkim, Manasarovar, Kailash and the list goes on.
More than 28 treks till date have been Completed by him and he feels he has just begun his journey. “Never think that if you are a starter, you need to aim low. If I could go for a ride of 76 kms at the age of 64, for the first time, then anyone can. So don’t fear if it’s the first time. Just give it all and make it happen” says Janardhan. He has, till date never looked back and has always stayed independent and has never given up in his journey of life. Today, he is completely cured from Epilepsy which was then to be operated and was a danger to life. While he feels he should have started early, he believes he can live the journey by inspiring more youngsters to start early.
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