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By Amit Mehta

RRUNN at Veterun, Pune

The Unived Sports team had been excitedly counting down to Veterun, Pune. Veterun is India’s first running race dedicated to over-40 ‘veteran’ runners, to encourage more seniors to take up fitness activities. Unived Sports was delighted to be the Hydration Partner for the event. The promise of inspirational runners and their stories, the chance to witness our RRUNN system in action, and the opportunity to escape busy Aamchi Mumbai for the more laidback pleasures of Pune – we could not wait!

We dove right into action at the bib collection on 4th October at the famous Deccan Gymkhana. Soon, the venue was abuzz with runners who couldn’t wait to get their hands on their bibs and route maps. We handed out free samples of RRUNN Pre, our instant and sustained energy product to give the runners a great head-start for the big day. Our team was kept busy, as runners were curious to check out this unique system of 3 drinks geared towards supporting one’s needs throughout the run. From 40+ professionals running the 21k, to couples over 60 getting set for the 10k – the diversity on display was astonishing. The Veterun team was well prepared and moved like clockwork to ensure the collection went smoothly. Nikhil and Sucheta, the friendly organizers of Veterun from Explore Adventures were constantly available to answer the runners’ queries and made sure the Unived team had everything we needed to serve the runners.

Alongside several runners, we also had the fantastic opportunity to attend a session by the legendary Ashok Nath. A five time Boston qualifier and regular podium finisher at India, Ashok gave invaluable insight on training the right way and a planned, balanced approach to take towards a successful running calendar. Ashok answered several questions and also touched upon the importance of using the right kind of sports nutrition products to support one’s running. We were delighted when he gave our team a shout out and encouraged runners to try the RRUNN system. Ashok’s talk was followed by an extremely useful panel discussion called ‘Head over Heels’, on mental preparedness for running. The star studded panel comprised of Comrades Ultra finisher and marathoner Vaishali Kasture, Chetan Ketkar who successfully summited Mount Everest and Dr Kaustubh Radkar who is the only Indian to have finished 7 Ironman challenges. The panels spoke extensively on techniques like visualization to overcome the ‘wall’ and get to the finish.

At the end of day 1, we measured, blended, tasted and blended some more! RRUNN During, our hydration and endurance drink which was to be served at the aid stations for the runners, was prepped and ready to go. Early to bed for an early rise, team!

On race day, October 5th, we were at the venue at 4 a.m., bright eyed and buzzing with anticipation. The Veterun team of organizers and volunteers were geared up and ready to take the event to the next level. By 5.45 a.m., the runners were out in full force, stretching and warming up. We spotted quite a few veteran runners sipping RRUNN Pre, giving each other pep talks and visualizing the road to the finish. Soon, the moment of truth arrived. At 6 a.m., the 21k runners were flagged off, shortly followed by the 10k and 5k runners. We spotted runners carrying placards to raise awareness for the NGO ‘Help Age India’, while some others wore T-shirts that read ‘Say No to Drugs’.

Sleepy Pune had not awakened yet, but these runners were already setting the trail ablaze along the scenic Prabhat Road route. As minutes passed, the first of the finishers surged to the end, where they were greeted by thunderous applause and cheers. The impressive times recorded by the veteran runners were inspiring for runners of any age. Clearly, one’s physical age did not hold back the determination to live well and enjoy the pleasure of running.

We felt great when runners approached our team to tell us how RRUNN During made them feel hydrated and supported for the whole distance of the event. The Unived team also handed out samples of RRUNN Post, our recovery drink, to the thirsty runners who were excited to get a taste of a unique product designed to help with soreness and replenish the nutrients they had burned off during the challenging run. As the runners relaxed after the race and medal distributions, we had the chance to have a chat with some of them and listen to their running stories. One story after the other, they had the same message- it’s never too late to run. One 69 year old runner had taken up running because of the encouragement from her children, one 60+ runner ran for the pleasure of running and to inspire others, while another 40+ runner took up the activity to lose weight and become healthier.  Amarjeet Singh Chawla, a 60+ blind runner who ran the half marathon along with his guide embodied the very spirit of Veterun.

At the end of race day, when the cheers had faded and the last of runners had made their way back home, you could still sense the positive vibes in the air. Events like Veterun show us that all one needs to do sometimes, is take the first step towards running, only to find a thousand more feet and spirits join us in the journey towards living better.

Veteran runners, we take your inspiration back with us to Mumbai. You taught us that the only barrier one needs to surmount is not age, but oneself.

We want to thank the Veterun team for their support and congratulate them for organizing such a wonderful event for a worthy cause.

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