Willpower turns addict into runner

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Former drug addict runs 1,480 km to spread message of ‘think health, not drugs’ 

Pune: Spreading the message of ‘Think health, not drugs’, Rahul Jadhav (42) once a hitman and a drug addict turned into a marathon and solo runner. This transformation took place with the help of city-based Muktangan Rehabilitation Centre. Mumbai-based Rahul recently completed his 20-day solo run from Gate Way of India in Mumbai to India Gate in New Delhi, of 1,480 km, spreading the message. 

Jadhav had 17 criminal cases against him, but his passion and determination transformed him into a law abiding citizen and a recognised ultra runner. He completed 22 run events and three solo runs since 2016. He said he used to run so fast that the police never caught him.
“My past experiences involving the family, relatives and friends pushed me to keep running until the want of a respectful life was fulfilled,” he said. 

“‘One day at a time’ was the motto taught to me at the centre, so I kept running and did not worry about the next day. From February 1, I started the journey and completed it in 20 days. I used to cover an average distance of 80 to 90 km per day across 18 cities between Mumbai and New Delhi. The toughest part was in Rajasthan as it was an elevated road, the temperature was high and the roads under construction. Two to three times I got cramps on my leg but the team consisting of a physiotherapist helped me recover soon and continue my journey,” he recalled. 

Jadhav now works as a salesman at Morde Foods Pvt Ltd at Byculla, Mumbai. He said, “When I was sentenced for three-and-a-half years at the Arthur Road Jail, Mumbai, my parents wrote to me a letter saying I have made them ashamed. And now my parents and relatives are proud and happy for me and I am happy to see them happy. The respect and trust which I had lost has been gained only through the positive activity that I have imbibed within myself.” 

He added, “Even now when I travel by local trains or pass by the Arthur Jail Road, the goons or hitmen recognise me and meet me and I tell them only one thing: get out of the crime world and live a better and positive life.” 

Jadhav’s next dream

  • “My next dream is to run from Mumbai to Kathmandu. I also want to run international marathons and solo runs, but I am waiting for my passport to get cleared,” said Jadhav. 
  • Mukta Puntambekar, Director at Muktangan Rehabilitation Centre, said, “We only faced trouble for three to four months to get Jadhav out from the negative phase and then he was on his own. He started as a housekeeper, cleaning things at the centre and then the rest is known to all.”

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