“Running, for me, is an act of a rebellion. There’s subtext in which if there’s a BIPOC person on the starting line and you see a picture of them in a sea of people, I feel like you’re really giving a narrative that goes against the grain in terms of what society is expecting of you or how society views you. So running, for me, is my personal act of rebellion. It is something that goes against the grain as to what you do as a first generation Indian-American. From our background, there is a huge emphasis on education in the sense of becoming a doctor, becoming an engineer—and doing something that I feel like juxtaposes that in a sense of what people expect out of you is rebellion to me.”
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Rajpaul Pannu recently finished second at the Hoka One One Project Carbon X 2 100K in 6:28:31—it was his debut at the distance and the third fastest time ever run by an American. The 29-year-old is also a 2:17 marathoner and math teacher who is currently splitting his time between Denver, Colorado and the Bay Area.
I loved this conversation and I think you will too. Raj has an enthusiasm about him that’s contagious and an introspectiveness that I really admire. We talked about his most recent race, of course, and what he was feeling before, during, and after it. He told me about re-examining his relationship with running after last year’s Olympic Trials Marathon and how he’s used the pandemic to rethink his goals, priorities, and identity as a runner. Raj also recalled the first run he ever went on, he described how a family history of heart disease and his dad’s early passing factored into taking those first strides, and a lot more.
Rajpaul Pannu: Instagram | Strava
the morning shakeout: Instagram | Twitter
Mario Fraioli: Website | Strava
This episode is brought to you by:
— New Balance. I was recently able to get my hands on a pair of the new Fresh Foam 1080v11 and I was shocked to love them even more than I did last year’s v10 model. New Balance claims the 1080 offers the ultimate ride, and I’d have to agree. It’s the best fitting shoe I own and the Fresh Foam X cushioning feels super comfortable underneath my feet. It’s lightweight and flexible, but also responsive and durable—basically the perfect trainer to log most of your miles in, which is what I do. I wear it on most of my non-workout days and for long runs too. Check out the Fresh Foam 1080v11 on newbalance.com and consider adding a pair to your rotation.
Music and editing for this episode of the morning shakeout podcast by John Summerford.