Mumbai: The small-town Mangaluru man curiously parted away from a long bank queue to have a good look of a standee promoting the 2006 Mumbai marathon. Confused, he had a good stare at it, but could hardly gauge what marathon means, or even running – for that matter.
To clear his cluttered mind, he walked to one of the bank assistants, who explained him the event’s technicalities, but all Shivanand Shetty could understand was he has to fill a form, pay Rs 300 and would be eligible to run a ‘42 km race’ that is scheduled next week.
Until here, Shetty’s only fond memories associated with running were the long walks at his village farm. And after moving to the city of dreams in 1993, he would brush his feet in the lanes of Bombay’s Zaveri Bazar, where he worked as a helper in a local bar.
Since then, it has been fifteen years. Alongside the mega marathon and the city, Shetty has evolved too, and so have his dreams.
“Participating in that (2006) marathon turned out like a drug to me,” Shetty says, while preparing for this year’s event, which will be his fifteenth consecutive appearance.
Today he is introduces himself as a full-time runner having participated in more than 450 national and international events with about 150 podium finishes. He was also the winner of his individual category in 2019 and 2019 editions of Mumbai marathon.
When Shetty arrived at the marathon scene for the first time back in 2006, he found himself clueless, not just at the start line, but life in general.
“I just ran,” he pauses, and adds: “Endlessly.”
“Today, I have my sight at the finishing line. This event has given meaning to my life,” Shetty continues.
Alongside pursuing his running dream, he works as a part-time salesman. “The main rule of running is to never look back,” he says.
And certainly, the 43-year-old has a long journey to cover.