Philippides in Action: In Conversation with Naveen Kumar

When Philippides ran from Marathon to Athens to announce the victory of the Grecians over the Persians, little did he know that millennia later, a poet by the name of Robert Browning would immortalise him in verse. The original marathon, as the dictum goes, was 42.195 km long.

Manipal Runners Club, in association with Protons Running of Bangalore, organised Manipal’s first ever marathon on the 5th of March, 2017. With the guidance and vision of the Pro-Chancellor Dr HS Ballal, the Manipal Marathon managed to rope in a crowd of about 5000 participants. There were 4 categories: 3km, 5km, 10km and 21 km. Though there wasn’t a 42 km long marathon, MRC did manage to chalk out a 21.1 km track for the athletes encircling various places in Manipal and Udupi. Directors Ankush Sharma and Tim Tim Sharma took a leading role in organising the various runs.

A Promo Run was held earlier on the 22nd of February, 2017 which began from KMC Greens as it did on the main Marathon Day.

The dignitaries present for the event on the 5th of March included Kishore Adani (Chairman, Adani Group), Ranjan Pai (Chancellor of Manipal University) and Shruti Pai.

The 21.1 km run was not for the faint at heart. Weeks to months of practice was necessary to even consider attempting this length. The 21.1 km roadmap comprised Vidyaratnanagar, Perampalli, Karnataka Housing Board Colony amongst other places. Mr S S Mallikarjuna Rao had the august duty of flagging off the run.

With a strong endurance that develops only after intense practice, the Alva Education Trust proved the mettle and success of its training. All the three places in the mens’ and women’s run were secured by the runners from Alva Education Trust.

Women’s Category 

3rd: Archana KM

2nd: Perempille 

1st: Kiran Jitu 

Men’s Category

3rd: Santosh

2nd: Rajeet Singh 

1st: Naveen Kumar 


We at MTTN, were lucky enough to get an opportunity to interview Naveen Kumar, the winner of the men’s category of the half-marathon. He is also an Asian Games (2014) Bronze Medallist in 3000m Steeplechase. Here’s the transcript of our interview with him.

MTTN: Congratulations Naveen! You’ve won so many events such as the Asian Games. How does it feel to win this one?

Naveen: It feels great. Obviously, you can’t compare this to representing your nation in international sporting events. But it still feels good on a personal front. I’d worked towards this and coming first was a great result for me.


MTTN: How much practice went in to prepare for the 21.1 km?

Naveen: In anything, you always require practice. As they say, practice makes perfect. I used to try to cover greater distances in practice, since on the day of the marathon, you don’t know what might go wrong. For a month, I used to run for about 25km every two or three days. It was really tiring but worth it.

MTTN: What were your previous long distance running experiences like?

Naveen: To be honest, this was my first time running 21.1 km. Generally, I run distances of 3000m. In the Asian Games and National Games, I generally run 3000m. But the first experience of running this distance was really pleasant.


MTTN: Now that you’re a national level athlete, how are the training facilities in Patiala and Alva; Is it as bad as they show it in the media?

Naveen: I haven’t trained much in Patiala but I heard from others it’s really good. As for Alva, I don’t have any reason to complain. The facilities are on a world-class scale, and we get our due share of living there. I agree the money may be a bit less but I was lucky enough not to be affected by it.


MTTN: From Haryana to Incheon, what was going through your mind when you were running for the Bronze in the 2014 Asian Games?

Naveen: It was a lot of pressure to have the expectations of your entire nation on you. I knew I had to make my country proud. But at the same time, I had to keep calm. When I ran those 3000 m, I remember nothing except the pride of representing my nation on that large a scale.

MTTN: What advice do you have to give to the athletes in Manipal?

Naveen: Practice and more practice. There is no replacement for the amount you practice. It holds true not only to athletics but any field you can think of: whether it’s studying or any form of music, dance or other interests you hold. If you’re really passionate about something, work towards it.


MTTN: Last question: What motivated you towards running?

Naveen: I was eighteen when I joined the army. I started then. My seniors motivated me to run and they saw that I was good. Since then, there’s been no looking back. Initially, I used to run because everyone around me asked  me to but now it is for my country and for my own personal happiness and inner peace.


We let Naveen leave after this, since he was tired after the run. He is a tall stout figure with a constantly smiling face. MTTN was really glad it had this opportunity to interact with such a brilliant sportsperson.

-Reetobaan Datta, for MTTN

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