Running in India: Running group – Running and Living

Running And Living was started by Rahul Verghese in 2008, setting up base in Gurgaon. Having worked with corporates like Unilever, Nestle and Motorola in the US, Rahul switched gears and decided to take up promoting running in India as his full time job. Within a short span of less than two years, this group has gone from strength to strength. From organizing 5K and 10K runs in Gurgaon, the scope of the events was extended to Half marathons and Marathons, and across multiple cities like Gurgaon, Delhi, Noida and Chandigarh. Rahul’s goal is simple – to get 200 million people running!

Group Website: runningandliving.com

Here’s what Rahul has to say about his passion:

“I have always been outdoorsy and adventure loving having gotten into trekking since class 7 and then rock climbing and mountaineering in college, river rafting in my 30’s and skiing and running in my 40’s. Even at work, with Levers, Nestle and Motorola in different business, cultures and countries. But I never dreamed I would leave that to switch gears to start something of my own, and that too, connected with my newly found passion of running. 

I realized in hindsight so many of the varied benefits of running which go way beyond just health – strengthening self confidence, perseverance, optimism and more. This was coupled with a realization that we are among one of the most unhealthy countries on the planet when it comes to diabetes, cardiac ailments and hypertension, and how running, or any regular exercise, could help tackle them. Running also happens to be the most egalitarian and at the base of the pyramid of all sport.”

So began a journey with the birth of Running And Living Infotainment – fusing 25 years of marketing experience with 8 years of a passion in running – to build running into a platform to enable brands, organisations and individuals to unleash their potential.

Having only started running at 40, with his 1st marathon within 6 months of completing his first 5k, with extreme over-pronation, and now, being told that one leg is longer than the other, beyond normal tolerance levels, Rahul has learnt a lot over the last 29 marathons he has run in, and busting a lot of myths about running, His work involves meeting doctors, educationists, CEO’s bureaucrats, parliamentarians, kids, housewives, executives, villagers and slum kids, encouraging people to take that first step and run in the neighborhood park.

Rahul’s goal is to get 200 million people to rediscover the simple joys of running, and go beyond. A tall ask, but then as Rahul says, if you don’t dream big, you might as well not dream. Running and Living is in the business of spreading the IDEA of running –

  • I to Inspire people about why they could run and the benefits they could realize.
  • D for data on all the how to’s – schedules, gear, running groups in the area, nutrition and more
  • E for an Experience that goes beyond expectations and
  • A for Addiction – so not a one off event but some exposure on a repeated basis that would get running into the targets DNA.

Here are some areas in which Running and Living is actively involved in:

  • Provide content by way of articles and TV and radio programs – all to do with running.
  • Have runs now in Gurgaon, Chandigarh, NOIDA, and will be starting some in Shimla, Delhi, Jaipur and Pushkar as we go on in 2009, with the focus being on multiple runs per location and engaging the runners and hopefully their family and friends.
  • Work with organisers and sponsors of major running events – helping them to improve on the experience, for runners and sponsors alike.
  • Do workshops with Companies and have been invited to speak in several educational institutions – all focused around running and some aspect of the target audience’s life.
  • Started building a great running community across the country and linking into varied enthusiastic running groups.

Monetizing this hasn’t been huge yet but Rahul is confident that things will pan out very positively.

“With tough times, many marketing heads are listening. If they don’t bite now, they sure are warming up and will bite later. The long distance runner I have learnt is a patient animal. It’s been a phenomenal and fun learning experience so far, seeing how running is beginning to mushroom in pockets around the country. But this is the first step and my marathon has only just begun.”

Upcoming Running and Living events in 2009:

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