‘I eliminated sweets, samosa, namkeen’

‘I run four times a week — Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.’

Six years ago, Anil Gupta was asked to undergo knee replacement surgery.

Instead, the 69 year old from Udaipur changed his lifestyle and today he has 38 half marathons (21.1 km), over twenty 10 km and 15 km runs, three ultra marathons (50k to 65K), and two stadium run events comprising 50 km and 83 km to his credit.

Anil reveals how he did it!

I am 69 years old.

I started running in 2016 while I was living in Mumbai.

I was unfit with constant knee and back pain problems, weighing close to 87 kilos.

Back then, walking for even 2 km was a painful exercise.

My orthopedics who treated me for 3 years suggested that I consider undergoing knee-replacement surgery for my long term happiness.

However, in spite of doctor’s advice, I decided to try and become physically fit to be able to play with my grand-daughter through her growing years. She was just one year old at that time.

I pushed myself to walk slowly for 3-4 days in a week for three kms at a time and in 3 months gradually increased this distance walking up to 8-10 km at a time.

Through my walks and with slight changes in my diet, I started feeling much better, healthier and my weight had also started coming down.

This prompted me to start jogging for a few hundred metres in between my walks.

Slowly and steadily the jogging distances kept increasing giving me immense confidence in my activities. With this confidence in heart I registered for a half marathon event in Thane, Mumbai.

I walked nearly 70% of the course with intermittent runs and completed my run of 21.1 km in 2:58:12 hours.

This gave me further confidence to try to participate at more marathon running events and more importantly changed my mindset from being negative to being positive about my physical health.

In April 2019, I shifted to Udaipur.

Since then I have participated in over 50 organised competitive running events comprising of many full marathons (42.2 kms) including Ladakh Marathon in 2018, 38 half marathons (21.1 km), over twenty 10 km and 15 km runs, three ultra marathons (50k to 65K), and two stadium run events — one 50 km in 6 hours and the other 83 km in 12 hours.

For someone who was recommended surgery to run at these competitive marathon running events has been a big achievement as I not only reversed medical advice but continue to lead an active and happy life everyday.

My workout

I indulge in at least one or more physical activities throughout the year.

I run four times a week — Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

Sundays are for weekly long distance runs of 21 km to 40 km. My average weekly run distances are between 70 and 80 km and consist of fast paced runs, hill runs and several repeats of express-fast runs ranging from 800 m to 1.60 km with a couple of minute recovery intervals after each repeat.

I also go for weekly long runs that are normally done at a slower pace.

Other than running I regularly do strength and mobility training exercises, yoga based exercises or surya namaskars.


The first thing I eliminated from my diet was sweets, samosa, namkeen, biscuits and other fast-food items that I used to munch on every two three hours.

I reduced consumption of tea and coffee to just two cups of green tea and/or black coffee.

I compensated this with seasonal fruits and cucumber, tomatoes etc. I started eating porridge-milk (dalia) with banana and some nuts along with sprouted beans/dal/gram for breakfast.
Lunch typically consists of green vegetables, curd and dal.

I finish my dinner by 8 pm which consists of one chapati and couple of bowls of vegetables.

In between my meals I eat mixed seasonal fruits but ration my intake of grapes and mangoes.

Lessons learnt

My journey over the past five-and-a-half years has taught me a big lesson that physical fitness is extremely important at every stage of our lives.

We only have to remove negative thoughts from our minds that push us away from physical activities such as walking and running.

The start may be slow, but with sustained and gradual efforts we can achieve it.

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