10 December 2018

Dr Sanjeev Bandi powerhouse fundraiser

Mackay Mo Bro’s epic New York Mo-rathon effort
Real Stories
Mackay urologist Dr Sanjeev Bandi has been a powerhouse fundraiser for the Movember Foundation for more than a decade. 

He is one of Australia’s most dedicated and passionate Mo Bro’s – and when it comes to raising funds for men’s health, he is second to none.

As the Captain of the MOV-ing Mackay Cricket Club, a powerhouse team who this year raised in excess of $90,000, he again led the team to the top of the leader board where they ranked third nationally. Sanjeev’s fundraising total for 2018 alone currently sits at an incredible $58,000.

While Sanjeev has decidedly proven his legendary fundraising prowess, after a tough start to 2018 he decided to take on a new challenge – the New York City Marathon.

“After a difficult start to the year and experiencing some mental health issues, I signed up in an effort to get my life back on track,” he said. “Although I have 43 seasons of cricket under my belt, I’ve never been a much of a runner, so I was going to need a rigorous training routine.”

While getting to New York would be a breeze for Sanjeev, improving his fitness level in order to tackle the 42km run was going to be tough.  

Determined, Sanjeev recruited Auckland Mo Sista and Community Ambassador Lydia O’Donnell, a fellow New York Marathon competitor who also happens to be a running coach, marathon athlete and personal trainer.

To get in shape, Sanjeev embarked on Lydia’s 20-week training program – which he credits with motivating and preparing him to take on the world’s largest marathon.

“I couldn’t have done it without Lydia’s help. She is a brilliant athlete and a fantastic motivator. She ended up completing the race in 2 hours and 46 minutes, and was the 20th woman to cross the finish line, which is a phenomenal effort,” Sanjeev said.

Come November, 57-year-old Sanjeev was facing a field where many competitors were at least 15 years his junior, but having lost over 22.7kg over a nine-month period, he was feeling fit and confident.

Although he started the race strong, disaster struck around the five-mile mark when Sanjeev was devastatingly struck down by an asthma attack.

“I took Ventolin but probably overdid it, and as I continued in to run I started to have heart palpitations,” he said. “My training held me in good stead and I had no issues with fatigue, but at that point I didn’t want to risk a trip to the medical tent and be deemed not fit to continue the marathon, so I pushed on.”

Despite the setback, Sanjeev pushed himself to complete the run – walking and jogging the last 22 miles across the finish line.

“I ended up completing the marathon in 6.5 hours, and in the end I was glad it took me that bloody long, as it meant that more people got to see the moustache – it was fantastic to have that kind of exposure for the Foundation in the US,” he said.

Having made enormous strides in his health and fitness goals, Sanjeev now has big plans to take part in the New York Marathon 2019, and aims to shave two hours off his finishing time to complete the race in 4.5 hours.

Long-term, he’s looking to complete all ‘Big Six’ marathons - Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin and Chicago.