Fitness enthusiast, Milind Soman has been nothing short of an inspiration for his fans who look up to him for leading a healthy life. The model-actor added another feather in his cap as he participated in the Sydney Marathon recently. What made the event extra special for the 57-year-old is that he got to proudly wave the Indian flag upon crossing the finish line, which he calls a “goosebump moment”.
Story behind the run
Invited as an ambassador for the Sydney Marathon, Soman explains he was there to promote the race, which is a candidate to become one of the world majors. “The world majors are the six biggest city marathons in the world, presently New York, London, Boston, Chicago, Tokyo and Berlin. They had seen me running with the Indian flag on my social media pages and asked if I could run with the flag in Sydney as well. Even though I did not run the entire distance with the flag, I held it at the finish and, as always, for me, it was goosebumps,” he says, adding that while it’s a regular affair to see people in Mumbai running marathons holding the flag, “But rarely have I seen it abroad”.
Though Soman is known for his fitness and stamina, he admits that the marathon brought along its share of difficulties, something that most runners face. “Everyone faces the same challenge of time. Whether it’s me and my crazy travel schedule or the thousands of corporate professionals with full time jobs who run, training or even maintaining preparedness to run the 42km distance of the full marathon is a big commitment and requires dedicated time. That is the biggest challenge. But when you run the distance and cross the finish line, each time, you know it’s more than worth it,” he shares.
That being said, being a part of the Sydney Marathon will always be among most special memories for Soman, and he shares an interesting story behind it. “I had been told that it was a flat route, but I discovered that it was probably the hilliest marathon I had ever run. Each small hill is burnt into my memory and I am using the word burnt because Sydney on that day was experiencing a heat wave and at 31°C was hotter than Mumbai,” he tells us. Adding that even the Mumbai marathon is run in cooler weather, he states, “But, it was fun to run across the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge, and finish in front of the gorgeous and world famous Sydney Opera house with 17000 other amazing runners.”
Promoting fitness goals
Up next, Soman is looking forward to participating in the New York marathon on November 5. As an inspirational figure for fitness, he vouches for running as one of the best physical activities and believes that it is essential for everyone. “We are all born with the basic ability to run and as children we are always running. I believe everyone should run or relearn how to run correctly, whatever their age, so that they continue to feel the joy of youth, lifelong. In my experience, regular running has the potential to keep the body strong and the mind open, active, clear and calm. It is not necessary to run fast or run 40 or 50km at a time, but the ability to run happily and comfortably should never be lost,” he notes.
Advice to aspiring runners
Sharing a pro tip for aspiring fitness enthusiasts and those who wish to run marathons, Soman emphasises on personal growth and learning. “I believe that only by continuously challenging ourselves, mind and body, can we grow as human beings, and only if we grow as human beings do we have the chance to find the key to our own individual happiness,” he says. He concludes by sharing a piece of advice: “Have fun, do not be too hard on yourself, and learn from your experience of preparation for the challenge every day.”