GURGAON ROAD RUNNERS

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Betsy Emmanuel

My first experience of Gurgaon Road Runners was orange clad figures running in the wee hours of the morning and the thought which crossed my mind was, can I bring myself to do that ever. I have been running in some form or the other for the last 2 years, in the gym, on the treadmill, in the park but I never did honestly enjoy it very much, now I realise it was because it was unfocussed, unguided running. Having taken to fitness, late in my life after leading a rather sedentary life around a desk job, I knew I had to change this situation sooner than later for the sake of my health and wellness.

As luck would have it, my gym buddy and friend Shoba Madan (you would know her as the lucky winner of the Reebok contest), told me about a GRR run at Galleria on a Sunday morning two months ago. I decided to join in and my teen son also accompanied us. It was a lovely morning, a good run preceded and followed by stretching and as a bonus – breakfast. It was nice to see enthusiastic runners of different ages bonding over good health and fitness. Very motivating. Siddharth gave useful tips on running, hydration and stretching, a lot of which has given me focus.

Since then, I learnt not to run to outrace others but do it at my pace, build on stamina more than anything else. I have participated in a couple of GRR runs, apart from which I have also done my own running owing to time and travel schedules, however being a part of GRR runs has its own fun, encouragement and fun co-runners (special mention to Shoba and Daisy) and Sid’s pearls of “running” wisdom. So I am hooked, running has become a part of life, currently on holiday, I have been jogging on the beautiful beaches of Kerala to the rising sun, an incredible experience.

As GRR turns two, I wish us all a Happy Anniversary, this baby will grow. Cheers to good health. Keep running, keep toning, keep glowing. GO ORANGE !


Betsy Emmanuel – My background is travel trade and I am running an inbound tourism company designing special interest tours and Incentive movements for corporate houses and leisure travellers. Married with a 14 year old son. Resident of Gurgaon for almost 2 decades. Avid gourmet, soccer enthusiast (thanks to my son) and travel buff.

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Vilasini Subramaniam - Blinkers On !

How did my first run with GRR happen , I often try to recollect But it's my first drive to Legend , that I don't seem to forget New to the city I was weary of hitting the road at 5 am So what was I to do if I were to be a part of them !

Dropped a message in the group , and Daisy promptly replied She put me on to Rashmi , who readily agreed to meet me half way and guide! So there I was furtively looking at every passing car Soon to find one with blinkers on , not so far !

To me it's this incredible spirit that draws me to the group again and again Not to miss the immense improvement in personal fitness from the time I began ! Many morning of intervals training , followed by important training tips To give it your best shot for the long run , it definitely equips .

The warmth and camdarie , one gets to experience here is one of a kind In a lovely & unique family like bond , it definitely does bind People reach out to each other to encourage and seek help to achieve their running dreams, And with so much fun and laughter along the way it becomes far easier than it seems.

So here we are here heading out for yet another long run at the break of dawn Waiting excitedly for our running buddies and nervous new joinees with our 'Blinkers On' !

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Daisy Singh

July 2014: One Saturday, Rubal Kaur called me, “GRR wants to do a running event in Malibu Towne, can you connect me with the official who can authorize this? By the way, we are a running group, why don’t you join us tomorrow for a run, at BD Park.”
“Run? I cannot run for nuts. Never done that in my life.”
“Just come and see if you like it!” she said.

I was a nocturnal being till that proverbial Sunday. Never had I dreamt of waking up at 4 a.m…… Nevertheless, I went….I couldn’t run 100 metres. Guidance Galore….some passing GRRian would say “breath through your nose you won’t get dehydrated”, another one said “take a deep breath it will help you regain your energy. Gawd…..I could barely comprehend…..I was so breathless!

“Leave me alone” I thought…..”this is not a time for advice”…..I just need to put my act together. It’s difficult to take another step….pant! pant!

But you know what! There is immense permeability in positivity. GRR is more infectious than any virus. I have no idea how I got hooked and flowed on.

By choice, I changed my lifestyle…..
I was not sure if I could run even 3 kilometres in my first marathon viz. Pinkathon, in September 2014. Slow and steady did it…..

Thereafter, 21 kilometres ADHM in November was in vision. No way, I thought I could never cover. But Sidharth Chowdhry believed differently. He said, leave it to me! Constant support, gradual training and motivation along with encouragement from GRR friends…..did it.
BIC in March 2015. It started pouring. Would the event get cancelled? Should we back out? How could we run with wet shoes? “We will do it” said the group…...So we did it…..
The best was, one day, a month ago, my husband decided to join me rather than getting disturbed when I would wake up at 4 a.m. Now he is more regular than even I am.

My journey with GRR has now been a year old. Sidharth Chowdhry, our eternal mentor helps us technically, empathizes, understands and stands by each member like a rock and like the head of a family.

Waiting for many more events together. Thanks GRR! Thanks Sidharth!

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Dimple Maheshwari

My race,my pace!

Hi! I am Dimple Maheshwari,travel consultant by profession and mother of a fifteen year old.Staying in DLF city phase 5 from last 12 years.Over the period I noticed,we the people in Gurgaon are most health conscious and its hard to predict the age of individual, as keeping fit to dress up well is the mantra for progressive Gurgaon.
Running is a lifestyle, which led to joining of GRR a year back.My first run was a great experience, felt like challenging myself in new way.I was bit hesitant initially cause I thought there might be a scene of needing emergency personnel to come and rescue me.Nevertheless I joined GRR for my first run.I ran for few minutes with only few short spurts of walking.U think its easy? No, but I felt amazing.The more I huffed and puffed , thought came to me I will end up walking more than running.I wanted to run 5k and not walk it and that was what I was determined to do.I realised that I need to keep pace of my own and not try to keep up with anyone.Now my pace was steady and I felt good.I was having fun.Then I slowed down a bit,but tried to keep my pace steady.I was fearful of tiring too quickly and had a little pain on my knee but seriously I wanted to run across the finished line.In the last km adrenaline went up and my pace became faster.I could actually see my goal being achieved.My feet started shuffling so that I could cross the finish line.Yes!I was there!!Finishing is winning. I thought 5 km was doable distance.GRR members appreciated my efforts as they said take control of your health and your goals and rock out!

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Hetal Sonpal

1. How GRR changed your life:
I started Running in Sept 2013, with the intent being to 'participate' in ADHM 2013. However, I did not take running seriously till Feb 2014,when i decided to sign up for only my second half maration, Corbett Run in April 2014. However, I was under the impression that running is a 'solo' sport and there is not much scope for 'TeamWork'. However, my getting associated with the trial run for ADHM 2014, in Oct 2014, completely changed my perspective on running. It has not only helped me look at running as 'Team sport' but also shown how has enabled to create a community of healty living, where there is a constant sharing of ideas and options and betterment for the group as a whole. The tag line which holds so true for each and every member of GRR, is ' I started running with a group of people and finished with a bunch of Friends' !!

2. Your first run with GRR
My First Run with GRR was the trial Run on ADHM Route, a week before the actual event. The bonhomie in the group was clearly visible with multiple people offering rides from BD park, seamless exchange of idea and information on target time/pace/event day preparation, etc. Even during the run, one thing which was common was the smile and encouragement of fellow runners, who were all bind by one common Orange TEE.

3. Before and after with GRR
GRR has helped me look at Running as a team sport and healthy and fit living as fashion/style statement !!. GRR has been a tremendous source of inspiration for many runners, the story of many members who have had their lifestyle go through a 360 degree change has been very encouraging.

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Jasmeet Arrora

Grrr…
No it is not the abbreviation, I am actually grinding my teeth in disgust. I know everybody would be writing good things about this group, I have a different take. Read on if you wish.
My first run with the group: dooms day
The fateful day when I decided to run with them at Galleria in May 2014. Life changed. How? Explained in simple heartfelt points below.
1. I liked running whenever I wanted to, how much ever I wanted to. The group tried to put a method to my running. Who wants that? I started following a schedule and became a slave and more regular. I didn't ask for it. Come on, why make running systematic and convert a raw runner to a methodical one. Totally sucks. I hate you GRR for that.
2. I liked to party till late ( so everyone says but that partying is limited to watching TV till late and munching). You took that away from me. I started sleeping on time to get up at crazy hours for an early morning run. You call that life. So depressing. Totally unhealthy, and you said you promote a healthy lifestyle.
3. I loved running alone and enjoyed it. You forced me to run in groups, make friends and spend time with them both during runs and otherwise. Why take away my loneliness from me. Who wants cool, good looking friends. Not happening.
4. I used to learn from my own mistakes during races be it pacing, hydration, nutrition, injuries etc. Now you tell me that I should gain from the experience of 1800 other runners. Why? What's the harm in learning slowly on my own. Life is long. I would have done well.
5. I don't like paparazzi, I like to be what I am and not brag about it. Joining you has taken my privacy away, featuring in newspapers now and then. Come on, we didn't even sign a contract for such appearances in papers. Wait till I get a lawyer.
6. I am a runner and you are forcing me to deviate from that and start cycling, yoga and what not. Cross training, who needs that. I was fine but now corrupted. Had to buy a cycle, yoga mat etc. Don't do this.
Enough said. I am corrupted and addicted so can't even give up so will keep showing up for every group run, cycling or yoga sessions.
You join at your own risk. Don't say then that you were not warned.

Jassisays.com

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Priya Sundaram

I am not an avid runner but strongly believe in staying fit. Would go for a brisk walk for 3-4 kms initially. It was my colleague in office who would talk about this group. What intrigued me the most was every time this colleague of mine would talk, week after week the distance ran by him would increase and I could see the sense of achievement in doing so.! So one fine day I wanted to put an end to this curiosity and joined the group, which was around 10th February and expressed the desire to run for 10KM / 1st march – Budh International Circuit.
Chief definitely didn’t take me seriously! Barely 15 days in hand, – all I was asked to do was focus on finishing the race. Yes, I finished my 1st 10k run with a satisfying timing of 1hr .19mts. While I was left behind in the race, the way I look at it is, lots haven’t even made it to the start line. !
While most would say numbers don’t matter, but some where deep down, they matter to me a lot. There is a target and a scientific way to achieve it. Association with GRR has brought in lot of discipline and learnings on good health.
I am looking forward to do 10K again with a better timing, and half marathon with ADHM this year. I know I can – with a guide like Sid, there is no doubt. Just blindly follow his instructions .. and there you are …

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Madhavi Issar

|| Don't ask me why I run because I can't answer that ||
All I can say is that it is a painful endeavour but one that gives me extreme joy. It leaves me gasping for breath but wanting for more. While 'on the run' ,somewhere after a couple of kilometres, you zone out -completely oblivious of your surroundings- and you zone into yourself .
It's your soul and spirit breaking free into a realm of eternity....and becoming one with the Self. Its a symbiotic relationship that you enjoy with nature, with every inhaled and exhaled breath affirming each others' existence.
You experience freedom-No thoughts, no worries , a positive emptiness- Isn't that what we are striving for in the end ..
You compete and you are compassionate... You compete with yourself - and years of conditioning because in the end you have to face your own demons telling you to stop, slow down, forget it but you negate them and move forward..
You are compassionate
You ensure that no human around you gives up... You don't let them.. You can't let them. You got to spur them on with a smile, a shout, wave of hand ...you got to make sure that nobody gives up. Isn't that what being human is all about ..
(Mantra as laid out by my coach, Sid - 'It doesn't matter whether you are the first or the last to reach the finish line, we all would be there waiting for you!! Your win adds to my win and further affirms my belief in the invincibility of our collective spirit.) that's why I call him The Running Buddha- hell bent on changing lives!
In my experience the best way to know yourself is to get as close as possible to your limits and exceed them. Running does that to me..
The joy that you experience is yours... The void that your experience at the end of each long distance run where you have expended all that you had, activated every nook and corner of your being - The body feels numb ...somewhere it gets engulfed by the elements of nature but at that moment you feel the most alive.....there is nothing else that can makes me feel more alive to Life than that moment...its a transcendental experience
May be that's why I run : )

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Mandira shorey

The catalyst behind igniting the flames in the hearts of Gurgaon Road Runners is none other than Mr. Siddhart Chowdery. His passion and belief has propelled so many of us, (not just adults, but children as young as 4 and 5) and introduced us to the Madness called Running. Thank you.
My journey in running started out as proving something to myself- but now it’s become something more. I was being a bit selfish and wanted something that was totally my own! Running is my time- time to reflect and retrospect. Being a wife and mother and doing some freelance work from home wasn’t really giving me the self-fulfillment which I was longing for. After I started running, my mind opened to new possibilities of doing things for myself. This concept is easier said than done or realise, but once the idea is kindled, the only way is forward. For me along with running, yoga, painting and writing have begun to nourish my soul again.
Randomly, I had put up a post in facebook about running in Gurgaon and Bhawana responded and told me about GRR. At first I was a bit hesitant, and Bhawana too was concerned considering the distance, if I would be able to make it or not. But I did manage. This was Oct 2013.
Novice to running, I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but was determined to gift myself a very special birthday present for my 40th birthday! Something that was truly mine. In March 2014, BIC Noida was my first half marathon. I could not believe that it was actually me who completed it and in a pretty decent time as well. I was quite ecstatic – couldn’t have asked for a better birthday present. My luck after my first half hasn’t been so great. I had signed up for the Delhi half, unfortunately I had fallen sick on the weekend of the marathon and was unable to attend. Then I signed up for the Mumbai (SCMM) half and as luck would have it I fell ill again the week before the marathon- but this time I was determined to go and finish my half- running or walking- It just needed to be done – It was the need for the hour. I did manage to go and I did finish it – although I walked more than I ran- But it was completed! I was not too happy with my results and I’d be lying if I said, I wasn’t disappointed and I did beat myself up about it. But Siddhart said something after the run- to complete a half is a big deal- timing isn’t important – that can be worked upon – just the fact I came and I finished in my condition was a win in itself. In retrospect, I understand what he meant.
One thing great about GRR is that it’s like a big extended family without the drama and everyone is very supportive and encouraging, you are always greeted with smiling faces – whether you are an old member or a new one, fast or slow runner. There is healthy competition as well, which just motivates you to push yourself a bit further. The best part is no one is judging and everyone is running at their own pace and trying to better themselves only. There have been times in my runs, when fast runners have paced with me and been encouraging during the run when I wasn’t sure if I could do it. That just shows team spirit and puts you in a good space mentally and reassures you, that it’s ok to be where you are and you have support.
The main thing I have been struggling with is consistency. I cannot tell you enough how important being regular is. REGULARITY! REGULARITY! REGULARITY! is definitely the key- also it doesn’t matter how many marathons you have run, if there is no consistency – it's like starting all over again. Lack of consistency for me can be attributed to laziness, as well as all the drama’s that unfold in my life- good or bad- I seem to get caught up in them losing my focus.
Personally, I would like to give a big shout out to Sid for believing in me and encouraging me and nudging me when I have doubted myself. He sees the potential in me as a runner, which I yet to realise, but I will! Further a big thank you to all the friends I have made and acquaintances I have met along the way for encouraging me and inspiring me.

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Namita Singhal

How GRR Changed my life
With each passing day in our lives we have experiences, some good, some bad and some indelible experiences which leave a permanent mark in our memories. Being with GRR has been one such event which is cherished with sweet memories and a smile whenever talked and thought about.
I joined GRR in June 2014, with mixed feelings and doubtful abilities- if I can run. But under the able guidance of our group leader Siddharth Chowdhary who mentored us all on running tips to designing individual running schedules and target timings, my doubts soon changed to enthusiasm and motivation, and here I was running Pinkathon in Sep’14. But I was soon to discover that 5K running in Pinkathon was just a start point of this addictive sport. With constant support from GRR I soon completed my first Half Marathon-ADHM in November’14. Completing ADHM has been one of the highest point of my association with GRR. Although from there on many running events have happened, but this is one achievement which brings a gleam to my eyes, whenever I hear word “MARATHON”. I am proud to be associated with GRR.
Ofcourse, this has been a journey, with knee pains, cramps, waking early etc….. but the result is terrific, reduced my body weight, have more energy and stamina, increased my bone density etc….. last but not the least met some wonderful like minded people. So I emerge as a winner finally. Thanx GRR for bringing this positive change to my life!!!!

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Nikunj Dhawan

How GRR changed my life
With sedentary lifestyle, I quickly gained lot of weight post my marriage and reached 97 Kg of weight.
To lose some weight and for some fun, I started playing Tennis and lost few Kgs quickly but still far away from a desired weight and activeness.
Then, one of my friends, Harsh Gupta motivated me to join Gurgaon Road Runners for bi-weekly runs. I was highly skeptical about running so thought of trying it out for a very short run, Next day, I ran my first 1 Km inside my society with a great sense of satisfaction. This was the turning point and I started increasing my distance week after week.
Within four months of my first 1 Km run, impossible became possible and I completed my first Half Marathon.

My first run with GRR
I ran with GRR first time on the Nirvana route, I remember, I had to kick myself out of bed and there were several thoughts and doubts coming to my mind on whether I will be able to do it or not, what will be my speed, should I carry water, what to wear etc.
I ignored all negative thoughts and excuses and reached the start line, to my surprise, I could run 5Km with an average pace of 9 min/Km
I am really thankful to all my friends for motivating me that day.

Before and After with GRR
Before joining GRR, I was afraid of running, now I run long distances with ease. I lost several kilograms and gained lot of confidence.
Total weight loss: 17 Kilograms

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Priya Sundaram

I am not an avid runner but strongly believe in staying fit. Would go for a brisk walk for 3-4 kms initially.
It was my colleague in office who would talk about this group. What intrigued me the most was every time this colleague of mine would talk, week after week the distance ran by him would increase and I could see the sense of achievement in doing so.! So one fine day I wanted to put an end to this curiosity and joined the group, which was around 10th February and expressed the desire to run for 10KM / 1st march – Budh International Circuit.
Chief definitely didn’t take me seriously! Barely 15 days in hand, – all I was asked to do was focus on finishing the race. Yes, I finished my 1st 10k run with a satisfying timing of 1hr .19mts. While I was left behind in the race, the way I look at it is, lots haven’t even made it to the start line. !
While most would say numbers don’t matter, but some where deep down, they matter to me a lot. There is a target and a scientific way to achieve it. Association with GRR has brought in lot of discipline and learnings on good health.
I am looking forward to do 10K again with a better timing, and half marathon with ADHM this year. I know I can – with a guide like Sid, there is no doubt. Just blindly follow his instructions .. and there you are …

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Rashmi Thakur

For someone who had never ever run in life, running was like overcoming one of the biggest mental blocks. Though I was a fitness freak and a decent enough workout person, I thought the only thing I couldn't do was to run. I used to brisk walk on the treadmill at a speed of 7 km/hr but would start panting the moment my trainer would ask me to run @ 7.5km/hr.
I desperately wanted to win over this block. However, even after months of planning, it remained more of wishful thinking until Pinkathon 2013, when I ran for the first time and stopped after covering almost 7 km. The very next week, I did 10 k. Soon, the event went by and so did running. I only picked it up again after about 6 months. I got into the groove and started running regularly, though with a small group of friends, with minimal technical support or know how. Finished a good enough 10 k Pinkathon 2014. However, I couldn't run non stop until now. I used to alternate between run and walk. And then came the twist. Seeing the huge crowd in Orange at pinkathon, I was awed and wanted to call the event 'orangethalon'. Was intrigued how come so many women in Orange were able to run continuously. The very next day i joined the GRR group on facebook and had a long chat with Sidharth Choudhary (Sid, as we fondly call him). We discussed about my inertia towards non stop running and he suggested I come over for a group run.
My first run with GRR- I still remember my first run with GRR was on 21 September 2014 around the nirvana loop. I had covered approx 14 k in my comfortable walk run style. Sid had taken a note of this and had already planned how to go about it in the next run. So, when we assembled for our next Sunday group run at Galleria on 28 sep, he deliberately gave the charge to a senior member of the group, Richa Deo and instructed her not to let me walk at all. So, after about 2-3 km, I started itching for walking. But Richa held my hands and took me along saying I could do it. Without realising, here I was with my first 8 k non stop. It is difficult to express how precious the feeling was. I had never done it before. 8 k in straight 54 mins and without a single step of walking was just awesome !!
Since then I am hooked on to the group. I trained seriously with them and what appeared a distant dream once turned into reality. I ran not one but two half marathons- The Airtel Delhi Half Marathon and The Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon. Now, diet check, water intake, proper rest and sleep are pillars of life.
Evening social gatherings and meet ups are strictly on days when the following morning i am not running at wee hours or i avoid it otherwise. My typical reply towards preference for a get together day looks like this 'Thanks a ton for the invite. For me, fri would work out better. Sunday early mornings are usually our runs. So, sat eve, will have to sleep by 10 latest'. And I have no qualms expressing the same.
Life is more sorted and disciplined now. Have a plethora of running buddies and meeting them as early as 5 am and running with them is de-stressing itself.

NA
Surendra Pal Singh

GRR – The life changer for me
My association with GRR has truly been no less than an inflexion point in my life. In fact, it has not only helped me develop an entirely new perspective about fitness, so crucial for someone my age but has also introduced me to a refreshingly new “Way of Life“.
Running as a discipline was not something I ever took up seriously; though I have been a sports enthusiast all my life and have been a club level regular tennis player for over 20 years. For me all along fitness meant action packed tennis in the morning, no weight gain, great food and not falling sick. About one year back my wife Daisy got associated to GRR and what followed was no less than a miracle happening so close to me. Daisy was fast adapting to a regime comprising getting up at 4 in the morning, followed by early morning runs, cardio exercises and yoga, balanced and improved meals and the whole lot of activities with a galaxy of friends she made in no time. She would often persuade me to join her and also the GRR activities. I was confused; had my doubts. Would I be able to pursue tennis? What course corrections my everyday life would have to undergo? I attended a few GRR parties and could sense that every single GRRian carried a signature charm borne out of sheer hard work. THEY RUN HARD AND PARTY HARDER!!!
I went for my first run on 4th May this year and it was a bit of a disaster. I could not finish a 3.5 km run and had to resort to walking to bring it to an end. But two things happened that day. A load of encouragement from Siddharth, the Principal lead at GRR. I saw in him someone who could handhold me as I tread into this new territory. He has been rock solid in guiding me ever since. Another notable incident was the constant chanting of “Come on SP “, “You can do it SP “ from another GRRian Daljeet Singh. It actually hit somewhere very deep inside me and led to a realization that all my years of tennis meant very little if I could not assimilate into this wonderful group of highly motivated runners.
5th May this year was not an ordinary day as that day I decided to join GRR. I knew given an environment I could slowly develop as a long distance runner and GRR appeared to be an apt platform for that. It has been a steady progress since then and starting with a 4 K run, I was able to run 6 k, then 8 k and within the month of May I did my first 10 K at India Gate. The month of June further inspired me and I was able to run my first 12.5 K on 21st June. More than anything else, I am thoroughly enjoying my GRR life and value every moment spent with my illustrious colleagues there. The proof of pudding, as they say, lies in its eating and my 2 months’ association with GRR has actually given my life an elevation that would certainly guide me immensely in the times to come. I look forward to being a part of the series of GRR campaigns leading to ADHM and other exciting events.
I term this calling as a life changer as my everyday life has gradually adapted to measured food intake, minimal partying and a near absence of alcohol consumption. Heavy breakfasts have replaced late and heavy dinners and sleeping and getting up early has gradually become a norm. The icing on the cake is training in the company of my dear wife, someone who has motivated me all along. Could I have asked for anything more?
What makes GRR activities wholesome is that they are not limited to only long distance running but are a 360 degree package for all round fitness. Siddharth has painstakingly carved a balanced weekly schedule comprising short runs, long runs, cardio exercises and yoga, interactive sessions, cycling and of course the well-deserved rest days. The venues chosen for the activities too are rotated keeping in view the convenience of every one. It is also refreshing to find GRRians encouraging each other, especially the kids and the new comers, and connecting so well inter se. This huge social aspect makes the GRR activities doubly enriching.
Overall the GRR activities offer the perfect fit to all those who would like to give a dash of vibrancy and youthfulness to their mundane lives. For the uninitiated and the new joiners, may I say “ the sore muscles are nothing compared to the pain of regret “.