Running is not a sport it’s a way of life!
There are all sorts of people, some walk through their life, some jog, some even jaywalk but there are some crazy, passionate people who run through it! The ones running through their life are probably the only ones who achieve their wildest dreams.
Our Pain Warrior’s story today is no different. Pradeep Kumbhar is a 49-year-old, ace marathoner from Mumbai. His journey started with a bang but went on to nose dive due to an unexpected injury. The rest of his story is how he decided to face it all and come back to chasing his dreams.
- Can you tell us about the start of your journey, the accident and how it all happened (in brief)?
I got familiarized to the world of Marathon in 2011 when I first participated in ‘Standard Charted Mumbai Marathon – 6km Dream Run’. I had participated out of sheer curiosity, witnessing my colleagues participate. Since that day, there was no looking back and I made running my unwavering passion. My journey has been truly inspiring and extraordinary. In last 8 years I had ran nearly 21+ half marathons, 10 Full Marathons (including National Marathon Circuit) and numerous short & long-distance runs in multiple cities.
Running Ultra Marathon requires extreme training, strategic nutrition, focus & endurance. I took the challenge to participate in some extraordinary run and started preparing for 160Kms Mumbai-Pune Ultra Intercity Run which I successfully completed in 2017 with Milind Soman, followed by 2 Ultra Marathon, 12 hours & 24 hours Stadium runs where I ran over 100 kms in a single event.
I always believed “Dream Big & Aim High” and with this extraordinary achievement I decided to progress from Marathon to Duathlon (Running + Cycling) and Triathlon (Swimming 3.8KM +Cycling 180 KM + 42KM Running). I started professional training under Triathlete coach Deepak Raj and Pradeep Karthodia in 2018. At that time, I also rigorously started practicing long distance cycling and open water swimming preparing for upcoming Ironman Malaysia event in 2018. I completed my maiden “200km BRM” Mumbai Pune and “Duathlon” with flying colours which encouraged me to go the extra mile.
Just when things were going great, I met with an unfortunate accident in 18th August 2018 while riding bicycle on the Western Express highway upcoming Ironman Malaysia event in 2018 where I lost my right leg and badly damaged my other leg and ankle. I had also got my TBA Fractured. I had rod and screws inserted, pushing me to spend 22 days in hospital. For 8 months I was bed ridden. Though, I would like to add here that I was fortunate enough to have survived this massive accident. With multiple operations and physiotherapy doctors could only salvage my left leg.
If we do not help ourselves, no one else can make a difference. Everything else is secondary. Doctors, therapists, family and friends are there to support you, but it is your inner strength which matters the most.
- How did you cope with the trauma you underwent?
I was able to deal with it purely based on my strong willpower and never-say-die attitude. I started working on my fitness. I wouldn’t say it was easy, all I would say, one needs to help themselves more than anybody else. If we do not help ourselves, no one else can make a difference. Everything else is secondary. Doctors, therapists, family and friends are there to support you, but it is your inner strength which matters the most.
The two role models who helped me cope were Sachin Tendulkar and Major D. P. Singh.
- Can you please tell us about your journey with your prosthesis?
I started walking daily with my prosthetic leg to ensure that a little progress each day will add up to big results someday. Taking one step at a time, was my mantra. Once I started feeling better and healthier, I learned to walk on my first prosthetic leg.
Soon, I realised I was not going to be satisfied with just walking around. I started doing cycling daily 20 KM and practicing swimming. I completed my first official 5KM Marathon within a year. I am hopeful that one day, I will be back on the track like a champion. Again, I will do Marathon and my Dream Iron Man event.
- How and when did you connect with The Challenging Ones (TCO) and came across Major DP Singh?
I came across TCO in 2015 while I was working for IDBI and organising a marathon in Kochi for them. At that time, we had invited all TCO members from different locations to participate. And that is where I met Major D. P. Singh briefly.
Years later, Major D P Singh happened to be the model for an Adidas shoot my friend was co-ordinating. He happened to tell Major D.P. Singh about my case and Major Singh immediately asked to speak to me. He was constantly in touch with me, through video calls and messages. He not only motivated me, but also added me to TCO family, introducing me to many other members with similar injuries. The support and motivation I have received from TCO has been unparalleled. Through them I learnt how the word impossible also says I-M-POSSIBLE!
Surprisingly I must add here, the moment I came out of the operation theatre and saw my leg, I knew things were going to change. The first person who came to my mind was him. Major D P Singh has been my sole motivation and inspiration behind it all.
- What is your message for people across India who are struggling and striving in their own personal lives?
My message to everyone is “Success belongs to those who are goal oriented, determined and persevering, if you can dream it, you can definitely do it!”
P.S: All images used are copyright of Mr. Pradeep Kumbhar
If you are a pain warrior or know someone who is one and would like to share their story with us, please do get in touch with us.