I would like to share that article from 'The Week' with you all. It talks about Rahul's journey from the corporate world to his business model-runningandliving.com-premised on getting Indians to run. I had great fun working with him during the Gurgaon Marathon & a half and hope that he inspires Indians to RUN for a living!
The below article is courtesy 'The Week'. Enjoy reading it, who knows it might make you RUN for a better life!
For some people, life begins at 40. Rahul S. Verghese ran into a "new meaning of life" after he turned 40. And the "high" that he got made him leave his 25-year-long cushy corporate career without any hitch. "I had no plans of leaving my corporate career until I got bitten by the running bug. My first achievement was when I ran 5km continuously," says Verghese. A graduate from IIM-Ahmedabad, he worked with multinationals like Unilever, Nestle and Motorola before he started a business model-runningandliving.com-premised on getting Indians to run.
Verghese's last job was with Motorola, and he was based in Chicago. He ran his first marathon there in October 2001 and instantly fell in love with running. He set himself the goal of running 50 marathons. Soon he got transferred to India and was taken aback to see that there was nothing for runners like him in the country. "It was quite alarming as India is considered to be one of the unhealthiest countries in the world. I thought a business model like this has a lot of potential here and decided to take the plunge," says Verghese. Also, the concept of marathon was gradually picking up in India with Bombay marathon and Delhi half marathon drawing a lot of attention.
"Running is the most participative sport in the world. It gives a great opportunity for brands to connect with their consumers. I wanted to base my model on this and therefore arranged several workshops for corporates. And, it seems to be working," he says. He has tied up with Aquafina, Reebok and some other companies. On an individual level, he has gone all out to inspire people to run. He also provides quality running gear-shorts, t-shirts, water bottles, belts-at "reasonable" prices to ensure that people enjoy the experience.
Verghese thinks big as he has set himself a goal of getting 200 million people running. However, he has not set any deadline for it. But does a business model like this offer any financial security? "I am sure that we are going in the right direction. Maybe the gestation period is a bit longer than expected," he says.
He has invested Rs 25 lakh in the start-up. But the bigger investment, according to Verghese, has been the loss of his corporate earnings. But all that stands compensated each time someone tells him "You have changed my life." True to his efforts, Verghese has already run 25 marathons on various continents, and the quickest has been in New Orleans where he registered 3 hours and 41 minutes. Good show, man.