Interview with Mr. Siddarth Choudhary - Founder of JunioRun India's Largest Multicity Kids Only Running Event
I realized that I want to get fit and getting fit was my call. Running was the way I could get fit at the age of 36. I realized that at that time running was picking up, so I started running and in the process it became my passion. I wanted to get fit and options were by running, by yoga, by exercise etc. I started running because I am more inclined towards outdoor activities than indoor activities.
How did you decided to establish Gurgaon Road Runners?
After few marathons I saw many changes in myself. I was sleeping good, eating well, I became a happy person. I wanted to share this achievement with other people. I wanted to tell them that after exercising your life will change, you will be happier. The best way to make them do all this was to make them experience it. That’s how we made GRR, as we were road runners and we were in Gurgaon. That was how GRR was made. We wanted to share the experience of fitness with everybody under one umbrella.
What were the challenges that you faced?
Challenges are still on but the biggest challenge was that people were not accepting what I was doing. People were not very receptive. Another challenge was how to increase the people’s involvement. How to motivate people for running.
How do you advocate changes in lifestyle?
We do boot camps like today in Lodhi road. We advocate through boot camps, social media. Our aim is that people should take back memories of fitness and not just a t-shirt and a medal. If out of 10,000 people, even 100 realize that they have to be fit my job is done.
What is your mantra to motivate kids towards fitness?
It’s easy to motivate the kids. It’s difficult to motivate the parents. Kids will follow what parents do. My mantra is “parents need to change not the child”. Parents need more grooming, more motivation. Children follow whatever direction elders show them. Parents have to change not the child.
In your opinion what is more important, training or mentoring?
Mentoring 100%. Training is part of mentoring. This country needs motivators and mentors and not trainers. Basically, we need a leader. And to be a good leader people should have confidence in what you are doing only then they will follow you. People tend to get de-motivated very fast, so a good leader has to keep them motivated.
Do you believe mentoring is the foremost thing for children that need to be addressed?
Foremost thing that needs to be addressed is their inactivity. They have to become more active. They have to focus equally on sports and on their studies. In some form, they should play every day even during their exams. They should have sports activities regularly.
Children need to have a holistic development - Do you think mentors play the key role?
Yes, Mentors are the key. Parents and children need a lot of talk on how to stay fit. They need to be made aware about health before they go to a gym or start running.
How can we increase the number of mentors in our society?
There are mentors doing something or the other. If we have a person who is good speaker but he is not an athlete, we have an athlete who is not a good speaker. So if a combination is not available, we have to make that combination. We can’t get everything in one person. We have to be more clear in our search, are we looking for a coach or a mentor.
How did you come across the idea of JunioRun?
I used to see lot of adults with lot of health problems. They have health problems because when they were young they didn’t take care of themselves. So I thought, we have to correct the root of problem. The root of problem is the fitness in children and correct them in young age. If we have a fit kid we will have a healthy adult and that is our tag line. I thought we have to do something for the children not the adults. That’s how JunioRun came into existence.
What is your approach to involve more and more children for JunioRun?
Apart from boot camps, we tie up with schools; we contact the schools and their sports facility and tell them about JunioRun.
In your opinion how can kids adapt to a healthy lifestyle?
By their consistency. There is a famous saying “be the change you want to see”. So if parents want their kids to change, they have to change first.
What is your strategy to spread the idea of fitness among people of different ages?
You have to become one of them. With children we have to talk with a different mindset, with elders with a different mindset. Different age groups need different ways to talk. You have to become part of their group. You have to understand their minds; you have to understand how to speak to them. Everybody can change provided you have different strategies with different people. You should know how to motivate others.
Were there any difficulties you faced for JunioRun?
Juniorun is a 1 and half year old brand so difficulties will keep happening. But the main problem is how to get people enrolled for running. Because people don’t focus on fitness. So that’s the time we have to motivate them, mentor them about fitness, make them more aware about health.
What are your future plans?
I want to do corporate awareness on fitness. And also want to go global. I have already travelled pan India and now I want to go global. Like JunioRun, I want to do pan India. I want to travel all over the world to mentor people.