Major D.P Singh: India’s First Blade Runner

Blog by: Raj Kishan

Declared dead! If you think you have problems and are giving up on them slowly and relatively easily, you most definitely want to hear Major Singh’s tale first. He was “declared dead” at a point, and literally defeated death to come out like blazing fire!

If you want to run, run a mile. If you want to experience a different life, run a marathon. That’s how Major Singh turned his life into a whole new frame.

Major Devender Pal Singh, born on 13 September 1973, in Jagadhari, India, is a retired officer of the Indian Army. He is a Kargil War veteran. On July 15, 1999, the young major was grievously injured in Kargil during Operation Vijay. Surgeons at that time declared him dead in the army hospital but fortunately later managed to save him after amputating his leg. He literally came back from dead and became inspiration. He gradually started running using a prosthetic limb, and now has run over 18 different marathons in his running career; he is famously known as India’s First Blade Runner.

“We were 80 meters away from the enemy post. A 48-hour lull at that time, without a single bullet being fired, was slightly unnerving. When the conflict scene is hot and nothing happens, you have a feeling that something bad is about to happen. There was a sense of foreboding which precedes a tragedy. The killing area of a bomb is in an eight-meter diameter. Today I can joke that the bomb had my name written on it but it couldn’t still kill me. Jaako raakhe saiyan, mar sake na koye,” Major Singh has bravely told about his tragedy on his website. In the long run, the sharpest weapon of all is a kind and gentle spirit. Spirit does not get stronger than this!

The training regime is tough! Very tough! It takes him over two hours just to get ready and wear the prosthesis, so he to start training at 5a.m he wakes up at 3a.m. Initially he used to just hop on his good leg and used to drag the prosthetic leg. After months of practice, he could hop-run for over 5 kilometers. “Sweating out like this after so long elated me. Although it was slow going, but I managed to run two half marathons like this,” he said. The remarkable part about the runs was that Singh continuously improved his timing by 15 minutes in each attempt.

Singh got to know about the fibre blade prosthetic from South African blade runner Oscar Pistorius. He has entered the Limca book of records for being the first Indian to run a half marathon with a blade. The Limca Book of Records added his name to their “People of the Year 2016” list.

Major Singh who graduated from the Indian Military Academy (101st course, Regular batch) on 6 December 1997 was commissioned into the 7th Battalion,The Dogra Regiment. Because of the injury, in 2002, he converted to Army Ordnance Corps and later retired from the Indian Army after serving for 10 years in 2007, after serving for 10 years.  He still thanks his Army days and Army comrades for all he is.

“Someone asked me, have you ever been hurt at heart. I said, don’t you see me laughing all the time?” So laugh my friends and carry on!