Passion for running: Septuagenarian doctor completes 102nd marathon

PTI, Oct 1, 2022, 12:51 PM IST

Representative Image (Source: iStock)

Seventy-one-year-old Som Nath Sethi, a well-known physician from Kurukshetra, in recent years has become more popular as a long distance runner who has completed 102 marathons and half marathons.

He got the 3rd position in the age-category of 60 plus in Tuffman marathon held in Chandigarh last week. It was his 102nd marathon! Sethi says, he has run 102 marathons comprising 16 full marathons – 42.2 km, one ultra marathon-50 km, and 85 half marathons of 21.1 km each.

Earlier, he had completed his 100th marathon in Kurukshetra.

The physician says he always encourages his patients to take more care of their physical health rather than depending on medicines.

”I tell them to regularly do physical activity and exercise daily if they have to stay fit and healthy,” he says.

Narrating his achievements, Sethi said he stood third in the age category of 65-70 in the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon held on January 15, 2017. He says his best timing has been half marathon in 1 hour 55 minutes and full marathon in 4 hours 14 minutes. The most memorable events for him were the Boston and Singapore marathons.

He says that in the last year’s Boston marathon, he got 31st rank in his age category of 70-75 years.

Sethi has always been an avid runner, walker and a firm advocate for physical exercise. While in college, he ran 5 km and 10 km races on a regular basis. He participated in multiple ‘walking races’ and was even named a champion ‘Race Walker’.

Sethi recalled that in the year 2011, while running on the roads of Kurukshetra, he had a road accident that resulted in a comminuted fracture (bone that is broken in at least two places) in his left leg and six ribs, leaving him bedridden for over three months. His surgeon told him that running was out of the question for him, ”even being able to walk without help would be a miracle for him.” However, Sethi refused to yield to the medical prophecy. The moment he was cured, the first thing that he did was attempt to run, he added.

After being discharged from the hospital, Sethi began using a ‘walker’ to help him gain control of his legs. Slowly, he went on to participate in walking races and began running marathons at the beginning of 2015, four years after his injury.

Sethi disclosed that in the last nine months, he has been running marathons on a weekly basis, and attributes his passion and success in running to his endurance. Sethi combines his passion for running with his medical philosophy. He believes that marathons, similar to medicines, are holistic.

The doctor says he personally believes that “god has given us immense potential which is hardly used”. He also advocates that running is an essential part of maintaining good health. He says that running is simple, ”you don’t need any equipment, and can do any time.” If somebody wants to maintain good health, running marathons is a great way to achieve that, he adds.

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