Parasports January 20, 2020
#AutismPower – Varun Sawant finishes full marathon in 4 hours, 27 minutes
And we have a record! Mumbai’s Varun Sawant completed the full marathon successfully on Sunday entering the records as the first person with autism to run a full marathon. His running coach says Varun is perhaps also the first person on the spectrum in Asia to complete a full marathon.
Months of intense training at the gym and practice sessions paid off for Varun Sawant and his running escort Kaushik Bhatia. The duo completed the full run of 42 kilometres in the 2020 Tata Mumbai Marathon in four hours and 27 minutes. Varun has made history as the first person with full autism to run a full marathon.
Confident run throughout for Varun
‘Well done uncle’. Those were Varun’s words when he completed the run, said Bhatia, who started training with Varun for the full marathon in 2019. Varun usually runs with his father who sustained a leg injury and had to drop out of regular practice sessions. Bhatia is also a part of the same training centre where Varun trains and stepped in to run along with him.
During the run Varun kept saying ‘well done uncle’ and ‘good going’, which is what he always says while we are running. Until 32 kilometres he was running strong. After that he got a bit tired. He was very excited during the run and his heart rate was a bit on the high side. After we finished 35 kilometres his behaviour changed a bit. – Kaushik Bhatia, Varun’s running escort
Bhatia is happy that the target they had set was achieved. “We practiced completing the full marathon in four hours and 30 minutes. And we did that”.
Varun is a natural at various sports
Twenty-one-year old Varun is a natural at sports. He started swimming at a young age, soon after he was diagnosed with autism at two-and-half-years.
The frequent rains in Mumbai would force a stop to his practise sessions and his parents decided to introduce him to running. His running coach Kaushik Panchal believes he has great potential. “Varun is the first person with autism that I trained. Since then I have trained other kids, but his concentration levels are quite special and amazing”.
For now, Varun is savouring his achievement. “He will show his medal and certificate to his college principal and fellw students”, says mom Darshana Sawant, who is happy and proud that her son’s hard work has paid off. She was not there at the finishing lines on Sunday, preferring to stay at home waiting for the news. “I am just so happy for him”.
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