How A Runner-Cum-Coach Is Transforming Lives

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All For A Noble Cause: How A Runner-Cum-Coach Is Transforming Lives

| Updated: May 24, 2023 16:02

The world is full of highly adventurous people who never back down and pursue their goals with unfailing determination. Some live and serve for a noble cause. A young man from Ahmedabad epitomises these qualities to the highest degree. Rupesh Makwana, a resident of Naroda, Ahmedabad, has started an initiative like that of Anand Kumar in the movie ‘Super 30’. He’s providing free coaching to youth keen on a career in the police, army, and sport.

In the last four to five years, he has been coaching over 300 youngsters free of cost. Such has been the impact of his training that over 500 young people have been freed from substance abuse and addiction. More of that later in this article.

Makwana owes his mental, physical, and inward upliftment to Khel Mahakumbh. This year, the Khel Mahakumbh will be a 10-day-long event featuring over 4,000 athletes and officials from 207 universities across the country in 21 disciplines.

He started running in the Khel Mahakumbh in 2010 when it just started. He topped the event at the ward, zonal, district and finally the state level. He realised his latent talent. The event would become the source of his “inner strength” as he puts it.

“Whatever I am today, it’s because of Mahakumbh. Without Mahakumbh, I couldn’t have showcased my talent as a coach. Training commences in the morning for those interested in defence. There are evening training programmes for aspiring sportspersons. In the afternoon, I visit slums to teach children. I believe sport is a medium to inculcate discipline,” he says.

How did it all start, we ask. “In 2015, I tried to join the police but didn’t meet the yardstick of height,” he recalls. To reboot his life, he started offering free training to youngsters. His failure transformed lives. He claims that of the many youngsters he has trained, about 60 have served in the Indian Army, 58 are part of Gujarat Police, two have joined the Navy, and two are working with the Air Force.

The coaching isn’t for glory — it’s an instrument for rehabilitation. “Join me if you sincerely want to quit addiction,” he says. And this has been the objective of his life.

His two missions, ‘Yuva Bachao Desh Bachao’ and ‘Save the Earth’, are aimed at making youth free from drugs. Symbolic of these pursuits, he completed a 6,000 km run in Delhi on May 30, 2023.

“I started this run on February 31 from Delhi’s India Gate. Running in 13 states, including Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, UP and Delhi, I’ve completed 6,000 kilometres. The run was supposed to be completed in 99 days to get into the Greenish World Book of Records, but I completed it in 88 days, one hour and 28 minutes. I’m registered in the Guinness Book of World Records,” he reveals.

He adds, “I was running a temperature of 42-44 degrees. The entire skin of my mouth and shoulders burned. When I went running to my room, my mouth was stinging. During a run in Kolkata, a rainstorm gripped the city, yet I didn’t stop. I withstood all seasons, extreme cold in the morning, unrelenting heat in the afternoon and evening rains. But I completed my run.”

The testimonials are his rewards.

Janki Patel, who trained under him, says, “I wanted to join the army. Once I saw him train other youths. I joined him, and though I couldn’t run (with intensity) in the beginning, he motivated me. Now, I can run for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Khel Mahakumbh is a good platform for youngsters like us,” she says.

“He gave me so many workout tips and training that I was able to perform well in both 100 and 200 meters long jump held in Tamil Nadu,” acknowledges Rishabh Arya.

Krishna Soni, another of his pupils, shares, “I came to know about the training through social media and then contacted him. I was always fond of running. Thanks to his running tips, they proved to be quite useful in my career.”

Makwana’s family — his father is a tailor, mother a housewife and brother a web developer — couldn’t have been prouder.

Suresh Makwana, his father, says, ‘Rupesh has decided to serve the country. We continued to support him because he was determined to help us despite financial difficulties. Today, we are proud that Rupesh is providing employment opportunities to others.”

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