Meet the Indian Forrest Gump of Milton, Canada
Introducing a passionate Indo-Canadian runner who has completed this year's running target of 2500kms by the middle of November 2022 and is still counting.
Written by Vandana Joshi Bhatt
"Set your target, plan it and do it," says Kunjan Kumar from Milton, Ontario, Canada, who has completed this year's running target of 2500kms by the middle of November and is still counting. A software Engineer by profession, Kunjan immigrated to Canada a few years ago and found a home in Milton.
Regardless of fluctuating and unpredictable Canadian temperatures, whether the mercury dips below zero or climbs above 40, Kunjan is driven by his passion for running. Although Kunjan wasn't always inclined towards running, and that too in extreme weather conditions.
Running was a component of the exercise for Kunjan. It helped him stay fit and re-energize his body. Whether a long or short run, Kunjan tried to keep it as part of his workouts.
During COVID, when the entire world was learning the meaning of long-distance, Kunjan had to work from home. He started running regularly for a change of scenery. Soon, he began to enjoy it. He tried to improve his running by increasing distance, improving his pace and focusing on his forms. He added different running variants to his routine, such as tempo runs, interval runs, long runs, hill runs, and recovery runs. Also, he set the target of completing a minimum distance monthly. His initial target was 250km monthly, and he managed to achieve that.
Social Media groups contributed a lot to Kunjan's running journey. It elevated when he learned about a running group in Milton and joined Milton Running Group on Facebook, where he found many professional runners. With them, he learned a lot about running, like how to improve pace, how to improve running forms, how you can achieve your marathon running goals, what running training is, etc. Soon, he started participating in group runs and made good running friends. The enthusiasm of the group members and athletes inspired him to wake up day and join the run again.
This year in 2022, Kunjan completed the 5 Peaks trail runs, including five spectacular natural trails in different cities in Ontario. Each trail has its own course, including rocks, roots, tree stumps, and logs, through mud puddles, snow, and so much more. The distance for each race was 14-16km. He also joined the challenge of 100 days of every day running for a minimum of 3 km. In that challenge, he completed 1004.97 km in 3 months and reached 4th position overall.
Throughout the running period, Kunjan made some Personal Best records in 1km (3minutes 49seconds), 10km (44 minutes and 29minutes), and Half Marathon (1 hour 44mins)
Kunjan is an adventurer who loves to travel and explore new locations with his family. Also, as a food lover, Kunjan hasn't gone expediently on crash diets but eats a balanced diet. His wife, Lata, has always supported him on this journey. Despite knowing Kunjan's schedule to complete his runs, she never interrupted him. In fact, she has joined him in transforming her own health and fitness.
Exciting aspects of running included Kunjan exploring a plethora of trails in numerous locations. Kunjan had no idea that there were so many magnificent conservation trails offered in different towns. One of the most fascinating aspects of running, for Kunjan, was exploring those paths, which kept him inspired throughout the adventure.
As each sport has some challenges, running has challenges too. Most of the common challenge is injuries on leg muscles or joints. Rest days are crucial to overcome that, and regular visits with sports physiotherapists can also help.
Extreme temperatures are another challenge in Canada. Kunjan typically bundles himself in layers of clothing and gloves to be warm. While layering is vital in winter, keeping your body hydrated in the summer is crucial. He always carries water when he goes for a run outside in the heat.
Future Target: Kunjan developed the running goals and has successfully accomplished them. Moving forward, his target is to complete at least one full marathon in 2023. Until this point, he had never run the 42.20 km marathon. He also wants to maintain the running goals I set for him each year and improve with each run. Kunjan is aware of the need for time management and knows he must prioritize his running and weight training.