A Kiwi-Indian farm worker, who has been in the country for less than five years, is on the mission to practice and promote healthy living by running and participating in marathon events.
Harjinder Singh Chander, a farm manager and full-time worker living with his wife in Dunedin runs at least 100 km every week- with 10 km every day and over 30 km during the weekend.
“I started running in 2015 and participated in the Marathon in Queenstown that I finished in 4 hours and 9 minutes,” Harjinder said in a conversation with The Indian Weekender.
Harjinder then took a year and a half gap from making long runs but kept his fitness level up to the mark, maintaining a steady run and diet regime.
In 2018 he restarted his passion for running with full seriousness and discipline and has not stopped ever since.
He participated in - 1000 km in 100 days challenge - in March 2018 and completed 1200 km in 125 days.
Harjinder then participated in another marathon in 2018 and completed the run in 3 hours and 12 minutes, followed by 50 km hill run called Naseby Ultra that he finished in 5 hours and 40 minutes and ranked 12.
Two weeks later Harjinder finished Dunedin Marathon in 3 hours and 17 minutes that brought him in the top 13 and fourth rank in his age category (18-30 yrs).
Earlier in June this year, he finished the Christchurch Marathon in 3 hours and 42 seconds, his personal best yet.
“I do not go to the gym, I just run, and it's therapeutic and like a meditation for me,” Harjinder added.
Harjinder is preparing for The Great Naseby Water Race, which is an annual ultra-marathon event from Friday, 23 August to Saturday, 24 August 2019 with multiple laps around a 10km course.
The runners will have to complete 100 miles or 160 km in 20 hours, and they are allowed to take breaks.
“Besides following my passion, I intend to promote running, which is the most basic form of exercise or fitness regime anyone can follow. Running keeps you sharp, removes a lot of health problems, and it keeps you fresh and agile mentally.
“I go for a run anytime that I am free, morning at 6 a.m. or after work in the early evening- I always carry my shoes with me and ready to make the run whenever I get time,” Harjinder added.
Harjinder recently joined Leith Harrier, and Athletic Club gets regular training and mentorship from his coach Chris Sole.
Harjinder also stressed on having the right shoes for running, which is a vital part of this exercise.
“Every foot is different, and one should get the right shoes that fit and suits the foot,” Harjinder advises.
Harjinder aims to participate in the Alps to Ocean Ultra run. This starts from Mt Cook peak to Oamaru ocean, which is a 323 km run to be completed in six days passing by lakes, valleys, rivers and diverse terrain which is a mental challenge as much as it is physical.