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An IPS Officer Who Also Promotes Sports and Fitness in the Line of Duty

Police Commissioner Krishna Prakash is world’s first IG rank Ultraman andIronman and the first Indian to finish RAW. An avid lover of athletics, he organised India’s first road marathon in Pune while the country was still opening up in phases after lockdown. He followed it up with a cyclothon and now plans to organise an ultra running event in Lavasa city.
Indian Masterminds Stories

IPS Krishna Prakash is just as much known for his athletic abilities as much as he is known for his policing capabilities. A 1998-batch upright police officer who does not like to bend the rules for anyone, he had once even refused to budge in a case against the then chief minister of Maharashtra, late Vilasrao Deshmukh. But the same officer’s extreme flexibility in sports has made him the first Indian to finish RAW (Race Across West America) and world’s first IG rank Ultraman and Ironman.

In Pune, where he is posted currently, he is known as a runner and cyclist par excellence. As the country was cautiously opening up after lockdown, he took advantage of the little relaxation in covid protocols to organise the first road marathon in the country in pandemic time.

Indian Masterminds caught up with the Ultra enthusiastic officer with Raw strength, policing with an Iron grip, in his own backyard – the Pimpri Chinchwad district of Pune – where he is the Commissioner of Police at present. We tried to find out from him why he organised a sporting event during a pandemic and how did he manage to successfully pull it off.

IPS Krishna Prakash (Ironman France)

AAPLA PUNE MARATHON

When Aapla Pune Marathon was announced by no less than a Police Commissioner himself, there were criticisms about throwing caution to the wind as the pandemic was still raging and people were sceptical that the event would ultimately take place. Even as registrations were going on, there were rumours floating around that the event would be called off. But IPS Krishna Prakash squashed all doubts to pull off the event, and quite successfully at that, with all necessary permissions and precautions.

The marathon was held on August 29, just as India was beginning to open up, state by state. Maharashtra was one of the worst affected states and Pune one of the worst affected districts. Yet, a police commissioner organised a road running event.

IPS Krishna Prakash (centre) with other Aapla Pune Marathon participants

Mr. Prakash explains why: “I noticed that confining oneself inside the house without exposure to the outdoors was beginning to take a toll on people. They were becoming unfit, both physically and mentally. Running strengthens the heart as well as the lungs, which is very important now because the virus attacks the lungs. I noticed that people still feared to go jogging. So, to break that fear and encourage them to go running outdoor, I organised the marathon.”

RISK PAID OFF

Was there any fear in some corner of his mind that things could spiral out of control? After all, the risk of the event turning out to be a spreader could not be ruled out.

“I am an extremely positive person. When I make up my mind to do something, I do not entertain any negative thought. I plan everything meticulously and concentrate on executing them perfectly. Instead of focusing on what could possibly go wrong, I focus on how everything could go right. But, yes, we adhered to all covid protocols. Full vaccination certificate and RTPCR report were mandatory. We even had free RTPCR test facility at the venue. We detected six positive cases and they, along with those who were with them, were all sent back.”

For the first time in any marathon event, social distancing was strictly maintained. There were no group flagging off. Since there was timing chip in the bib, whoever turned up at the starting line had to start running immediately. And, after crossing the finishing line, there was no breakfast buffet. Each one had to collect packed breakfast and leave the venue. Only bottled and tetra pak hydration were offered to participants on the route to avoid any contamination.

IPS Krishna Prakash helping a young participant who got injured during the Aapla Pune Cyclothon

AAPLA PUNE CYCLOTHON

Buoyed by the success of the marathon event, Mr. Prakash organised a cycling event on 14 November. This event, too, was a success. All covid protocols were followed, although people were more relaxed now with so much relaxation in rules.

“I made arrangements with DY Patil Hospital for their staff to be present on the event route with eight ambulances. There were three incidents where riders fell off and got injured, but we could provide immediate medical help and rush them to the hospital.”

Actor Suniel Shetty, who is the officer’s close friend, came down to Pune from Mumbai especially for the event.

Police Commissioner IPS Krishna Kumar with Bollywood actor Suniel Shetty at the Aapla Pune Cyclothon

ENSURING HIS STAFF STAY FIT

Just like he is a stickler for rules, the officer is also a stickler for fitness. He makes sure all his staff stay fit and encourages them to run and cycle. In fact, he has formed a cycle beat team of police personnel who cycle around on early morning duty.

“I have provided them imported cycles and helmets from Israel. I have also gifted all my staff one GOQii fitness watch each, where they can monitor BP, heartbeat and SpO2. I also encourage them to run by gifting them Brooks running shoes, one of the best in the world.”

The officer firmly believes that only a fit police force can rush to be the first responder in a crisis. To be able to help others, one must help oneself first by staying fit. He advocates running for all since it releases the ‘happy hormones’ and “a point comes when you reach samadhi stage, where you feel no pain, no pleasure. You go into meditative mode.”

IPS Krishna Prakash, Commissioner of Police, Pimpri Chinchwad, Pune

A PLAN FOR ULTRA RUN

Flushed with the marathon and cyclothon successes, Mr. Prakash now plans to organise an ultra running event in Lavasa City soon. “Discussions are in progress and plans are afoot,” he said.

That’s all he is willing to say on this topic for now. “I don’t like to reveal my plans before I strike,” the policeman in him says. While the runner in him is all agog with excitement for another running event ahead, with endorphins releasing at the mere thought of it!


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