While most Miami Students are running laps at the REC in preparation for spring break, one student has a much bigger goal: the Olympics.
Junior mechanical engineering major Karan Sachdeva has not taken a day off from training in over a year and does not plan on taking one anytime soon. While many Miami students had their eyes glued to their TVs for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Sachdeva was focused on the 5,000 meter race at the upcoming 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro.
Sachdeva, who joined his father in the United States from India in 2000 for a better education, began running track in seventh grade and cross country his junior year of high school.
In 2012, Miami alumnus and Olympic gold medalist in the 5,000 meter race Bob Schul visited Miami’s campus to talk about his autobiography, “In The Long Run.” Sachdeva took advantage of the opportunity to meet Schul and seek his help.
“I talked to him afterwards, he gave me his number and offered to train me on the spot,” Sachdeva said. “God has given me this opportunity. Not everyone gets to train with an Olympic gold medalist.”
Schul’s experience has been vital to Sachdeva’s growth as a runner.
“My training is not easy and as the body progresses, the training becomes harder,” Schul said. “He has progressed through several plateaus and will continue doing so for months to come. These plateaus can last for three and up to 10 months before I will place more pressure on the athletes body.”
Sachdeva eats a strictly vegetarian diet, and often trains twice a day. This makes it nearly impossible for him to gain weight, which is ideal for a runner.
Along with aspirations of making the Olympics, Sachdeva also runs for his family.
“I want to make my parents happy, this is to honor them,” he said.
The tragic death of his grandfather also motivated him to keep running.
“When my grandpa passed away, it made me run more to get the pain away,” Sachdeva said.
Although Sachdeva is not on Miami’s track team, he does not think it will affect his training for the Olympics. Training by himself gives him the opportunity to train when it best fits his schedule and he gets one-on-one attention from Schul.
Schul said he believes Sachdeva has a similar work ethic his own when he trained for the Olympics. In fact, Sachdeva uses the same schedule Schul had while training in 1964.
“He seems to have the same drive as I, in that he wants to become the best he can be and is willing to pay the price in time expended,” Schul said.
Even with his busy schedule, Sachdeva has found time to co-found Barefoot Gems, a charity that donates shoes and clothes to those in need. He plans on going to the children’s hospital in April to donate even more shoes.
Sachdeva hopes to grow the charity even more in the future and holds this topic close to his heart because there are so many kids in India without shoes.