The Runtrepreneurs.The healer: Shayamal Vallabhjee



Image courtesy: Shayamal

The ultrarunning scientist who hobnobs with a dozen sporting stars, but has his feet on terra firma. Here’s Shayamal –

Tell our readers about your business.

Shayamal: The HEAL Institute is a Sports Medicine & High Performance Institute that specialises in using evidence based principles of sport in pain management & performance enhancement. We wish to become the highest benchmark of patient care and sports research in the world.


Why a business in running? What made you think of it?

Shayamal: I’m in the business of sport, not running in particular. Though running is very close to my heart. HEAL was established to close the gap on quality care offered to our athletes & aspiring athletes. India as a country has the highest number of cardiac deaths in the world & the 3rd highest diabetics population. We have the youngest population in the world with the most lifestyle diseases. Exercise & a healthy active lifestyle can help curb this growing number. HEAL’s responsibility is to create a safe ecosystem for those who want to become healthier.


What is exciting about it?

Shayamal: The exciting part is that everyday brings a new challenge. I can see myself move the needle and impact lives positively. This is probably the most rewarding part of my day. It’s safe to say, it actually fuels me.


What’s not?

Shayamal: When you trying to bring about transformational change, you always going to run into non-believers, skeptics and those who resist any change. They sap my energy, but luckily not enough to stop me.


Any advice for others who might be considering going solo? We need more of them for sure.

Shayamal: Advice.. Hmm.. The scary part of being someone who wants to cut against the grain, is that you may never be around long enough to see the fruits of your labour. If you comfortable transacting your life for the greater good of humanity, join in.. You’re not going to get rich, but you going to make some amazing friends. I’ll be your first :-)


Have there been mentors/ words of wisdom you’ve had from others (runners or otherwise) that’s been helpful?

Shayamal: I’ve been fortunate enough to have many mentors who are icons in the sporting world…people like Mahesh Bhupathi, Bob Brett, Shaun Pollock, Gary Kirsten, etc. One lesson I learnt from all these pro’s is that winning is all about being true to yourself. If you can cross the line knowing that you have given off everything to give yourself the best chance of success, then you have won. This is a champions mindset.


What has been a unique/ unusual experience for you, being a business working in the space of running?

Shayamal: After 15 years of professional sport, honestly nothing surprises me. But I do still chuckle at how unrealistic people’s expectations are when matched up with how much they work.


How do you manage a work-run balance?

Shayamal: I’m struggling :-) which is why I’m getting slower.. In South Africa, I used to run anytime. Never early because as a bachelor my night life generally took precedence. In India, I’m taking to midnight running. I’m still a bachelor, so I guess by midnight you know whether it’s worth lacing the shoes.. (joking) :-))


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