Runner Profile

Ravina Handa

By: Scott King

Name: Ravina Handa

Town: Lebanon, NH

Where are you from originally and what brought you to this area? 

I was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya.  I left for the UK when I was 16 to study and work. I spent 15 years in the UK and a year in Singapore before I made the big move to the USA in 2016 to join my husband who works at Dartmouth College. I fell under the Upper Valley’s spell when I came to visit him. It took a few years but I finally made it here. 

 What do you do professionally?

I am a Solicitor of England and Wales and an US licensed attorney. Currently, I am in-house counsel for a software company. I negotiate data privacy contracts and keep us compliant with international law.  I started my career in a shipping law firm in London and later took on offshore oil rig litigation. I absolutely loved it. 

 My first job in the US involved drafting contracts to purchase, sell and transport oil and gas around and out of US. It was so interesting but it was in Connecticut and the commute wore me down. There aren't many ships or much oil in New Hampshire so I gradually shifted my career to find a job locally. 

 How long have you been running? 

All my life. In Kenya, I ran for the joy of it. I ran before school with my dog and plenty at school. In the UK, I ran for the bus and the trains constantly to get to work on time. In New Hampshire, I run to keep my heart young and my body invigorated. 

 How long have you been running competitively?

 Running is not competitive for me. 

 Why do you run?

I run to feel invigorated. I love feeling myself propelled by my own power and momentum. Nowadays, I run at a slow and steady pace to keep injury at bay. I still sprint occasionally and when I do, I am always amazed at the energy and power my body can (still) generate. After a few sprints, I feel like all the rust on my joints has been shaken off and I am renewed. 

I run to keep my heart and mind healthy and with C25K, I run to see my friends. It’s a nice way to catch up on the week’s events. I am a chatty runner. 

Recent memorable moment while running?

I really enjoy crossing the finish line on any race with my running buddy, Erin. At the last race we ran, we had unicorn and rainbow tattoos on our faces which brightened our run. We crossed the finish line holding hands (pre-covid stuff). 

Best athletic accomplishment and why?

Every student had to run the annual cross country race at my school. The course went around the cricket field, through the forest, along a cemetery and back to the cricket field. In those days, running in warm sunshine at noon was normal. One year, I felt like sprinting the course.  I took great big strides as I do when I am sprinting and enjoyed the feeling of leaping rapidly along. I didn't intend to beat anyone but I was amazed to find out I came in third in the whole school.  I felt proud to have beaten all the boys in my class.

If you like to race, favorite race distance? Why? 

5ks are a comfortable distance for me, it allows me to chat and run at a leisurely pace. 

If you like to race, notable race moment? OR most memorable race?

I ran the Chad in 2018 with Janet and Sally. It felt good to run with friends and they encouraged me to run my C25k personal best. Janet and I crossed the finish line together hand in hand before I almost collapsed and she stuck an orange slice in my mouth. It’s a good memory!

Training partners?

 The C25K runners. 

Cross training activities? 

I hike often. I climbed Mt Kenya in December 2019. I can't say that hiking helped me run better but I think running made me persevere up that mountain.

Favorite local running route?

The rail trail.

 Favorite post run treat? 

I run so I can feel virtuous and deserving of my breakfast meal at Lucky’s coffee garage with friends. 

Strangest place ever run?

Part way through my first C25K, I travelled to Norway on vacation. One Saturday morning, I had Mary, our coach, in my mind and slipped out of our cabin for a run. I ran along a road heading to the horizon with high mountain peaks capped with snow on either side and fields of dandelions and grass between me and the mountains. The sky was blue, the air was clean. It felt heavenly. 

What made you start running?

I never stopped running, I was just hindered by shin splints.  Kristin and Paul Coats taught me a few exercises at C25K to help my ankles and calves loosen up. Their knowledge and willingness to share it has made all the difference between me struggling to run and me running consistently for 2.5 years. 

 Why did you join UVRC? 

Running had become a painful experience marred by shin splints and I wanted to overcome that problem so I could run free of injury. 

 Ever run in a costume? 

No but I have run with a unicorn face tattoo. 

The only running shoe for me is Oasics. 

Ever been injured? How did it happen?

No. I run slowly so I can avoid injury. 

 Hot or cold weather runner? 

Oh I love both. My favourite memories are of running in the dead of winter in 2018-2019, when the pavement was icy and the rail trail was filled with snow. The C25K group got out and ran every wintery Saturday morning. I always felt like such a stud muffin for running at 20-30F and extra deserving of those Lucky’s breakfast sandwiches. I hope we keep running through winter again this year. 

Morning or evening runner?

Morning, please. I have lots of energy and motivation for a hearty breakfast. 

What is your motivation?

I run therefore I am healthy. 

Favorite running book/film?

My favorite film is Forrest Gump. I adore how he got up and started running. He just kept on going because he felt like it. He saw the country, propelled on his own two feet. What a gorgeous idea. 

What does your daily workout consist of?

General strength training and regular walking.

How about favorite work out?

Swimming is my most enjoyable work out. 

What is your diet like?

A little bit of everything in moderation. 

 If you could run with anyone, who would be the person? 

Barack Obama, provided he could share all his top secret information with me on our run. I would have 101 questions for him on his experience of running this country and being a leader of the world. 

Aside from running, what are your hobbies?

I love to cook. I sit and plan meals constantly. I often analyze meals after and make notes on what I could do differently the next time. In these troubled times, I think we’re so fortunate to eat delicious and often elaborate meals at home. My husband remains well fed and content so I must be doing something right. 

We purchased our apartment this year. I am thoroughly enjoying refurbishing it through DIY projects. Currently I am deliberately between flamboyant wall paper choices for our cozy apartment. Neither of us grew up with any handy skills so youtube and all our friends with tools have been invaluable. 

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