Over the last few months I’ve spent a lot of time writing about my own marathon training journey and while it has been a great experience, it has also been really hard. I’ve come to realize it’s a lot more difficult to write about myself than I thought it would be.  As a journalist I’ve always found myself much more interested in telling other people’s stories than my own, so I want to make sure I take the time to do that.

With more than 60 current members, the UofC Marathon Training Program is a hugely diverse group of people, each with their own inspiring tales to tell. Some of them have been running marathons longer than I’ve been alive, some picked up running later in life. Some are competitive and are training for big races like the Boston Marathon and some run for the community and for fun.

I plan on telling some of the amazing stories of the group’s more experienced runners over the winter break, but for now, there are several other first-time marathoners with the UofC program whom I am so excited to introduce you to.

I have gotten to know each of these people pretty well after training together over the last few months. We have taken each scary, exciting, painful and triumphant step together since March and I am going to be featuring each of them while finding out what made them want to take on this crazy challenge.

I am proud to introduce you to Nand. Throughout this journey there have been many tough moments but as a quiet leader with seemingly endless optimism, I don’t think I’ve every heard Nand complain once. His consistency in both his pace and his attitude make Nand a delightful person to run with. His hidden talent is only laughing at things he finds REALLY funny. If you’ve made Nand laugh, you’ve made it.

Name: Nand Lal KhatriNand

Age: 30

Occupation: Petroleum Engineer

Goal race: Victoria Marathon

Before joining the UofC Marathon Training Program, how much running had you done before? What was your longest race, if any?

I only started running last year when I entered into the Terry Fox Run 10k. I wasn’t planning on continuing to run but after I entered the race and finished it, I decided I should run on a regular basis. I was running on the UofC track a few days a week for 30-45 minutes when I learned about this program. I thought if I was going to run on a regular basis I might as well get the help of a coach and a formal program.

What made you decide to train for a marathon?

When I joined the program I joined with the idea that I would run a maximum of a half-marathon. But when I was able to finish the longer runs with out any big issues, I decided to try for the full marathon. I am very satisfied with the outcome of taking the program so far.

What has been your biggest training challenge so far?

Honestly, I have never been the kind of guy who does a lot of physical exercise in my life. I have never played any sports so I thought this would be a huge challenge but when the long runs started I just really enjoyed it. I enjoyed the company, the talks and all the rest of it. I haven’t had any injuries or anything so I don’t feel that I have faced any major challenges. I guess maybe it was just the environment and the group that made everything less severe.

What is one thing you have learned since you started the UofC Marathon Training Program?

All of the running and the physical activity has taught me that keeping yourself fit is actually not that difficult and is really important. But more than the physical exercise I have learned that although in my life I have always hung out with peers in my own age group, it is important to spend time with people who aren’t. In this program there are people from every walk of life, not just in terms of their age but of their experience, their occupation etc. and talking with them and hearing their experiences and sharing my experiences has been great learning. In life you can learn so much more by interacting with people in all stages of their life then just interacting with your peers. I see that as even more important than the physical aspect.

What has been the best moment you’ve experienced since joining the UofC Marathon Training Program?

Meeting all these new people has been by far the most exciting part. That has been a very good thing which I think I will cherish, because I am planning on continuing this program next year and onward.

Also, when I talk to my friends and say, ‘Tomorrow I am going to run three hours or four hours’, they say ‘You are lying, you aren’t running (that far)’. They say, ‘It isn’t possible you are running 30km or 34km, we are going to come check on you’. When they tell me this and I really do finish 30km, I really feel that what I have achieved is a really amazing thing because many people I talk to think it isn’t a thing you can really do. As I said I have never been a physically active guy so I am really happy about how far I have come.

What do you say to yourself in your head when things really get tough during the long runs?

In this group I am never the person in the front, there are always people ahead of me so they are my main motivation. But really, I don’t specifically think anything, just normal things.

Do you have a goal for your race?

As for a time, I am not that picky, I just want to finish between 4.5 and 5 hours. My main goal is that I want to cry at the end, and I think that will happen.

Final thoughts… 

This program has been amazing in terms of keeping myself fit. It has set me up so that I have no doubt that in the off season I will keep running regularly. It has taught me how to keep myself in shape for the future. It has taught me about meeting with different people, who are in different phases of their life and are from different walks of life. There is a hugely diverse learning curve here.Nand2