Tribute to an Ultimate Runner

Dr. Vikram Singh Sahi
Jb bhi mila, zindadili se mila
Ek chehra , jo rheta tha
Sda khila-khila.
A young Motivator, Cricketer, Ultra Runner and above all, a loyalist son of the Country also known as ‘Shan of R.S.Pura’ died an hour after completing the 4th Super Sikh Run (Half Marathon, 21.1 KM) at Sri Anandpur Sahib, Punjab on the fatal day 17th of April, 2022. The whole running community and cricket lovers were shattered by this news and considered this unfortunate incident as the “Black Day” for the fitness freaks and athletes community of the city of Jammu. Born on September 14th, 1981, Pranav Mahajan was brought up in the small town of Jammu. With his sheer hard work, dedication and commitment Pranav became a professional cricketer and an outstanding athlete who represented J&K in various formats viz. Under 16 (U-16), U-19, U-22, U-25. On the basis of his consistent performance in various formats, he joined the prestigious league Ranji Trophy in 2003 and played the format till 2010 as an all-rounder. The skilful leftarm fast bowler during his cricketing journey also got an opportunity to play alongside the likes of Yuvraj Singh, M.S.Dhoni, Harbhajan Singh, Gautam Gambhir, Shikhar Dhawan and many other renowned cricketers.
All went well till the 2009 season, but in the year 2010 ligament injury to the left leg turned his life upside down. One bad thing led to another and within no time, six years were lost to depression. Through those turbulent years, he received unwavering support from his family; who stood like a rock behind him.
The transition from Cricketer to Runner
Before becoming an established and enthusiastic runner, Pranav began his athletic journey as an amateur runner. His passion for running led him to enter world-class running events including races and marathons held in the different parts of the country.
For Pranav Mahajan, “Failure was simply an opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”
In the year 2016, Pranav Mahajan trained his body and mind in order to become a professional athlete. During his training period in the year 2016, he resorted to Cycling, Aerobics, and Gymming in order to perform better on the running track. After completing his training, he participated in a few running events which very quickly became an integral part of his lifestyle, grossly proving the eternal fact that tough times do not last forever but tough people do. A lot of people think that running is only a physical sport, but Pranav used to emphasize that it is a mental game and if you are mentally strong, you can push the limits. It’s a rewarding feeling when your body wants to stop but your mind keeps you going and indeed Pranav Mahajan kept on going well.
In the year 2017, he participated in the first half marathon at Jammu. After that, he participated in around 100 events; 10km Runs, Half-Marathons, Marathons and Ultra Runs. Whichever event came his way, that was “Done and Dusted” in Style. Running gave him courage, strength, lifelong friends and most importantly, running gave him a second chance in life. But being “PRANAV”, he was not ready to look behind; he started motivating, encouraging and training youngsters. Besides working with BSNL, his daily schedule was spread out with running in the morning and drilling youngsters in the evening. He also started cricket coaching at Mayank Goswami Cricket Academy and trained hundreds of budding cricketers. This also helped youngsters not only to deal effectively with depression and anxiety but also helped them to stay away from drugs.
To stay motivated, he surrounded himself with people who were positive and who push him hard. Friends and fellow runners also shoved him to continue to run and sign-up for racing events. He used social media extensively as an outlet to keep himself accountable. He made a promise to himself not to give up and even in the last race he just kept impelling himself and finished with good stats. He ran, not to live longer, but to live life to the fullest.
A Well-Rounded Life
Pranav’s life was never boring. From running and mentoring runners and cricketers of all ages, he was also taking care of his old parents and used to dedicate all his running achievements to his parents. In addition like a good and caring father, he was training his little son “Ketav” and used to take him along in all his running events.
Fun-loving Pranav was also a marvellous photographer. With his presence on a racing day, runners knew that Pranav is there to click their beautiful pictures. He used to capture everyone with his camera not only before or after the race but also during the race. During the run, nobody wants to stop for a single second, but he used to stop his fellow runners with a Big Smile, Big Hug, and finally Clicking their pictures disappearing with a great pace; that was the virtuous quality of Pranav Mahajan.
Mr Pranav during the short span of his stint with life acted as a driving force. He not only groomed and upheld many talented young athletes but also immensely stimulated them to be the winner in the different events. With his support around 15 runners from R.S.Pura participated in a local event held on the 14th of April 2022.
Pranav became an ideal, a hero to many, especially for the people of his hometown consequent of his influence, not less than 50 persons from R.S.Pura have come forward to participate in the Katra Half Marathon, which is scheduled to be held on the 24th of April 2022 i.e. a week after we lost the spirit behind the show, Mr Pranav Mahajan, What an irony!!! What a tragedy!!! And fate. The man who had infused life to the upcoming event and had rendered the source of inspiration to many, would not be around to participate and lead himself. God has strange ways. This family of athletes would grossly miss this angel, vibrant sportsman who usually with his cheerful and energetic ways, used to bring life to the track. The RUN would happen, now in his memory, His friends & followers would participate, but with emotion to pay their tributes in the honour of a departed friend, a dear friend who’s hustling & bustling would be conspicuously missed. Pranav Mahajan had actually left his imprints on the running tracks, both inside and outside Jammu.
1) JHM-2018,2) JHM-2019 3) Kargil Half Marathon-2020 4) ADHM-2020 5) ADHM-2021 6) Tuffman-2020 7) Tuffman-2021 8) SLHM-2021 9) AU Bank-2021 10) TSM-2021 11) Herath Run-2021 12) Tufman Chd-2022 (60 km run) 13) Seema prahari -2022, 14) Katra Run 50 Km, 15) DASVAND DUS KA DUM, 16)
A True Nationalist
Pranav was a true and hardcore Patriot. Before and after every event one can hear the loud voice of Pranav chanting Slogans “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”, “Vande Matram”, Jai-Hind etc. He along with another passionate runner from Jammu twice went to Hussainiwala (Ferozpur, Punjab), National Martyrs Memorial to run in memory of the Indian freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Thapar and Shivaram Rajguru, that was the zeal, passion and love he embodied for his motherland.