Preeti Lala (Photo: courtesy Preeti)

Deepak Bandbe wins in 100 km category

Preeti’s mileage is the second best by an Indian woman in the 24-hour category so far

Preeti Lala emerged the overall winner of the Ageas Federal Life Insurance 24-hour Stadium Run held in Mumbai over February 6-7, 2021.

Thane-based Preeti, the sole woman running the 24-hour race category at the Mumbai event, finished way ahead of the rest of the field, covering a distance of 193.60 kilometers during the allotted time of 24 hours. It is the second best by an Indian woman in the race category so far. It was also the maximum distance covered across both genders in the given race category, at the Mumbai stadium run. 

Apoorva Chaudhary holds the national best of 202.212 km, set during the 2019 IAU 24-hour World Championships held in Albi, France. During the same event, Priyanka Bhatt had finished with a distance of 192.845 km. It is this mark that Preeti has bettered.

In the 24-hour category at the Mumbai event, Parwinder Singh was the winner among men with 154 km covered. Buddhi Saini finished second (151.60 km) and Munir Kulavoor third (150 km).

Deepak Bandbe, running in the 100 km category at the Mumbai event, finished the race in seven hours, 57 minutes and 47 seconds. It is the third best finish so far for Indian men in the 100 km category.

Sandeep Kumar had set the national best in 100 km – 7:56:22 – at the Bengaluru Stadium Run held on January 23 and 24, 2021. At the same meet, Abhinav Jha had secured the second best male performance in the same category with a timing of 7:57:35.

In the 100 km category for men in Mumbai, Nilesh Yadav finished second with timing of 8:27:28. Aaditya Dattaram Badavate placed third with 9:24:20. In the 12 hour-category, Sandel Kisan Nipane (120.80 km) was the winner among men. He was followed by Raman Baisla (119.60 km) and Ankur Lakhera (112.80 km). From among women, the winner was Reena Maru (98.40 km). She was followed by Mahek Makhija (95.60 km) and Corina Van Dam and Pooja Varma (both 82.80 km). The Mumbai event was organized by NEB Sports.

Preeti started her run at 6PM on February 6, 2021. “ I did not have any target except that I wanted to be on my feet for the entire 24 hours,” she said.

Deepak Bandbe (Photo: courtesy NEB Sports)

Participants were few as there was uncertainty about the event taking place, she said. Training could have been better but the uncertainty affected it. Still, she had moderately good training sessions for three months with average mileage of 100-120 kilometers per week.

Over 2020, training for most runners was impeded by the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Preeti’s last run before the lockdown was in the 50 km category at Tata Ultra of February 2020.

Getting back to training after the lockdown induced-break, Preeti chose to run the Run to the Moon challenge organised by NEB Sports. “ The challenge required us to run a distance of 2 km to 10 km daily. This helped me get back into rhythm,” she said. She also participated in TCS 10k virtual run.

“ I am happy that the event (Mumbai Stadium Run) took place finally. The weather was mostly humid especially during the night but early mornings were quite cool. We had several hours of scorching sun,” Preeti said.

“ The excellent arrangements at the venue with volunteers and runners supporting me during the race, helped immensely,” she said.

Apeksha Shah and her husband, both runners, provided substantial support to Preeti. “ Also, Pranaya Mohanty, ultra-runner from Bengaluru, ran with me for the last 20 km,” she said.

(The author, Latha Venkatraman, is an independent journalist based in Mumbai.)


Photo: Rajeev G / Imaging: Shyam G Menon

Doing the cover version of a song can be as engaging as you wish it to be. Some artistes aspire to keep it true to the original; others offer their own interpretations. Both approaches have unique challenges. In the first, there is the challenge of nailing things perfectly, to the last detail. In the second, you must get your interpretation right; right in terms of either how enjoyable the resultant music is as distinct creation or how resonant of the original the overall reinterpretation is despite degrees of departure. It is a balancing act.

Many of us have an all-time favorite song; something that we love because it completes us and our view of life, lyrically or as soundscape. For long, that song for me, has been U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For. I loved it from the day I heard it for the first time, in 1988, when a program on the nominees for the year’s Grammy Awards was broadcast on television in India. Courtesy it’s weird yet comforting rhythm and signature bass line, the song helped channelize the restlessness in the listener into a joyful sense of movement, a journey. The lyrics then proceeded to build a beautiful cathedral in the mind. Unlike so many other rock songs which end up anchored in earthly concerns and entanglements within the human collective, this one stayed spiritual and therefore, a song for the years. The influence of gospel music in the song was something I discovered much later in the age of Google and Wikipedia. What endeared it to me was the theme of not having found what you are looking for; the notion of a continuing quest.

In the ensuing decades, I had this song with me at all places I lived and worked in. It was there at hand at home; it was there at the offices I worked at during my years as an employee. As the human collective periodically chewed me up and spat me out, I played the song for reassurance by universe. It made me feel that I had the right to exist just as I am. It isn’t the destination that matters but the journey. Not to mention, as an evocation of journey, it was the abject opposite of the world’s preferred style of focusing on the limited for profit instead of attempting to see the whole. In my fifties now and beset with a tortured planet as legacy of such focus, I wonder – isn’t it better to journey on having still not found what you are looking for, than to claim: found? For many years, the song lived in an audio cassette or CD. A veteran of multiple technology waves, it was played on a Walkman and later, a portable CD player and MP3 player. Nowadays, thanks to the mobile phone, I don’t have to possess a physical format; I can listen to it online when the urge arises.

A cover version of this U2 song is tough to do, especially one featuring reinterpretation. The original set the bar high and molded expectations comprehensively. Room to maneuver is limited. How do you use so little space to shift things around and yet make a statement, uniquely your own? In early January 2021, on YouTube, I came across the cover performed by K. T. Tunstall and Pomplamoose. It was remarkable; they had a style and sound that was distinct without losing the spirituality and sense of journeying of the original. As mentioned, the original was special for Larry Mullen Jr’s unforgettable drumming and the beautifully supportive contributions by the other members of U2. The Tunstall-Pomplamoose version is less radical as it essentially builds on a fantastic original but it holds its ground, courtesy excellence in vocals, engaging bass and an airy, ambient texture that retains the song’s overall feel.  

Hope you like it:

The original by U2:

(The author, Shyam G Menon, is a freelance journalist based in Mumbai.)