Club Mahindra - Living a blissful life has no age limit!


Presenting Harmony's silvers - sparkling lives, success stories, accounts of endurance, courage, grit and passion

Elsie Nanji

Author: admin

Advertising doyenne & design consultant, 61, Mumbai

On the run!

Over 10 years

The beginnings

My elder sister, who is five years older than me, decided to run the marathon. I started because of her.

First marathon

Half-marathon at the 2006 Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon

No. of half-marathons


Personal best


Running means….

A way of life to keep healthy and fit. I consider the marathon a yearly medical examination!

The challenge

Waking up every other day by 5.20 am, running injuries, dengue and other respiratory problems with the pollution in Mumbai, a very busy working day ahead… but the joy of running and a feeling of accomplishment overcome all negative thoughts and keep me calm and happy.


I run 10 km almost every day. Pre-season, two to three months before the marathon, I run longer distances about four times a week. I run with Savio D’Souza, a marathon trainer, and we have midweek boot camp. Then, I go to the gym for strength training after my run. Other than that, I do yoga twice a week and swim a continuous 20-30 minutes on weekends.

Health issues

I have no recurring health problems except for slight congestion and allergy to pollution and dust. Sometimes I wear a surgical mask if the roads are being repaired. I often go to Salt Escape, a wellness centre, for an hour or two during the week to clear my lungs.


I follow a regular diet. On race day, I eat a banana before I leave in the morning and carry a small bottle of Electral with me. Some guilty indulgences are an espresso shot at 3 pm and dessert almost every night… can’t do without them.


It becomes a routine, and I know I will feel better after the run. It is so much better than feeling guilty and then sluggish too.

Top gear

Runkeeper on my iPhone and Apple Watch, which measures distance, time and more. I change my shoes every year, and alternate the shoes on weekends; Adidas Boost, Brooks and New Balance have been my favourites. I particularly like my socks from Feetures; they have a good grip and are above the ankle. I always wear a peak cap to shade me from the sun and rain. And music is a must through every run—Apple Shuffle and now AirPods with the Apple Watch provide the greatest freedom.

The age effect

I am slower unfortunately, although if I tried harder I might be faster. I got spoilt by winning three golds in my age group; perhaps as there are fewer runners in my category. Running has empowered me to store massive amounts of energy. For example, at the Milan Salone de Mobile trade fair, which I attend every year, everyone is dead beat, and I end up walking almost 18-20 km a day through the fairground, the streets and more.


I have made some stupid mistakes. During one marathon, I tried an orange gel after 10 km for the first time; I felt so ill that I fell down and threw up volumes of orange liquid. I was taken to the medical camp in an ambulance although once I had got it all out, I was ready to run again. Another time, I got a terrible cold two days before the run. After lots of steaming and Vitamin C and a host of natural remedies, I thought I was fit to go. But I collapsed 100 m before the finish line and was helped to the finish line by my coach and running friends. The photographers went crazy and I found myself on the front page of Mid-Day the next day with the headline, “5 suffer cardiac arrest”. Of course, I was fine soon after, but had to deal with the million phone calls!

Advice for silver runners

Take it slow and easy. Run for fun, not to compare yourself with other runners or constantly keep an eye on your watch and your timing.

My goal

I run for fun and to keep fit.

Featured in Harmony — Celebrate Age Magazine
November 2017