Until March this year, several runners’ groups in Mumbai would take to the city’s sea-facing promenades, open roads and parks in the early hours, to do their group workouts. But COVID-19 has changed all that. While running is still top on their agenda, they’ve had to adapt to suit the current situation – by going solo and taking to shorter, more flexible time frames. They share their new mantra.
‘Our whole lives are in front of us, why take risks now?’
For many Mumbaikars, running with different groups has been part of their schedule, but the pandemic has got them all to find new ways to work out. Suvarna Joshi who is part of 10 running groups in the city, says, “There’s no group running happening since a few months. We are avoiding it in order to adhere to safety norms given by the government. Our aim is to be fit, but also to stay safe at the same time. Our whole lives are in front of us and we can go back to running once things are better, so why take risks now?” She has a plan whenever she goes out to run. “I sometimes go to Juhu Beach or any empty road early in the morning as people are hardly around then, so it becomes an apt time to exercise. Most of us do this and we also wear a mask. I have also been running at a garden in our club, which is relatively free of people around sunrise.”
Malad-based corporate learning expert Rodman D’Souza is part of the Mumbai Road Runners and two other groups shares how their regimen has been going online. “With cases of coronavirus rising, one has to be careful at this time and we runners are being very cautious. All our monthly runs had got cancelled since the start of the lockdown. Instead, we are doing virtual runs from home where everyone runs at their own pace. This ensures social distancing and keeps our fitness levels on track. We’re also doing high intensity workout and yoga sessions all via FB live.”
They’re taking up virtual challenges as well
Rupali Samant, an ultra-runner shares how she and her group have taken up running challenges. “Since we stopped our group running, we found a way to still run together ‘virtually’ with everyone clocking the miles in a way that is convenient to them. While some have taken to the roads, I am doing the runs in my building compound. It’s not easy – for one, it’s a short 40-50 metre distance one way, the monsoon is on and the path isn’t straight, it has a turn. That said, I make sure that I run here six days a week. I miss our usual runs, but this absolutely energising and I love it.”