This barefoot runner is making waves in the Singapore running scene… despite having picked up running only one and a half years ago.
He likes to do barefoot running because it reminds him of his childhood days – running around without any shoes on.
Today, 21-year-old Nabin Parajuli is a record-breaker and has even blitzed several records at the Polytechnic – Institute of Technical Education (POL-ITE) Track and Field Championships last year.
More recently, he came second in the 8 km MediaCorp Hong Bao Run in February, finishing only a mere three seconds behind winner Mok Ying Ren – the fastest marathoner in South East Asia. This had been Nabin’s first competitive outdoor run.
What makes his achievements even more astounding is that Nabin did not have any competitive running experience prior to entering polytechnic. In fact, he was a school librarian during his secondary school years.
I interviewed this Hospitality and Tourism Mangement (Events Management) student from Nanyang Polytechnic and got some insight into what makes him tick.
Here is what Nabin said.
Did you expect your second placing and timing at the Hong Bao Run in February?
No. I was not expecting any podium finish. I have raced with some of the runners at the Inter-Varsity Polytechnic (IVP) and the POL-ITE Games but I have not raced with most of the runners taking part in the Hong Bao run before. So I didn’t know how well I would fare against them. My coach told me about the race and I participated to see how I would do against the top runners in Singapore.
What makes you do barefoot running?
It’s solely because I can feel my run better without shoes.
What do you feel are the benefits of running barefoot?
For me, I feel no restrictions when running barefoot. It feels at home probably because I used to run around barefooted when I was young.
What is your preferred running distance? Why?
For racing, I will stick to the 3km steeplechase, the 5km or 10km ones for the moment until I feel I cannot lower the times for these distances any more.
How do you feel about breaking records considering that you only picked up running recently?
I didn’t train with the aim to break records. I just wanted to do better than what I was doing previously. The times I attain during training gives me the confidence to do what I am capable of. I just wanted to help NYP do well in competitions. Breaking records was a special bonus.
Do you have a natural talent in running?
I am quite sure there are many Singaporeans who are just as talented or much more talented than I am – such as Soh Rui Yong and Mok Ying Ren. I was just fortunate to be at the right place at the right time. Without my coach and NYP management guiding me since the beginning of my running journey, I would never have achieved what I have done. I firmly believe that guidance from a proper coach and self-discipline are important ingredients to my success as a runner.
Before you took up running and started winning these events, did you ever see yourself becoming a runner?
Before I took up running, I used to run once in a while around my neighbourhood whenever I felt bored. I would never ever in my wildest dream think that I could ever be a competitive runner.
How often and for how long do you typically train?
I will train four to five times a week depending on my other commitments such as work and studies. Total weekly mileage covered is 35 km or less.
What is your next running project?
I do not have any specific running project for now but I am working to improve my times.
Do you ever see yourself eventually overtaking some of Singapore’s running stars?
At the moment, I am not very concerned about overtaking anyone. It’s only one and a half years since I have joined running. My coach and I are not in a rush to progress. My focus is to improve on my times at a steady rate and hopefully get a chance to represent Singapore one day.
Any running tips to share?
I am a beginner in running and have still a lot to learn about running. I do my runs based on my personal feeling. I have learnt a lot and I am still continuing to learn from my coach. So knowledge is important. My teammates have been my inspiration and motivation to compete. These are the thing that has worked very well for me.