Harish Nambiar

Birthdate: 17 August 1969

What is your occupation? Engineer

What/when was your first climb? ALA Fight For Air Climb - Oakbroom Terrace, 2/13/2011

How many climbs have you completed? More than 40.

Why/how did you start? To motivate a family friend who was fighting lung cancer at that time. 

Do you have a favorite climb? Why? Any power hour climbs, especially in a building with about 30 floors.  I am not fast.  But I like the endurance aspect. And Oakbrook is where it all started for me and is kind of like my hometown event for me and will always have a special place for me.

Least favorite climb? Why? Milwaukee Power Hour. Because it is 47 floors, so the break does not come soon enough between climbs unlike a 30 floor building. Also, the stairs are steep and the air is very dry and stale.

Why do you climb? For fitness, charitable causes and camaraderie.

Are there other sports you’re passionate about? Running

Did you have injuries or issues you needed to overcome to climb? No, though I am struggling with onset of arthritis in my left ankle, which has cut down my running significantly.

How do you train? Mostly on a stair master for climb. I also like cross training.

Do you have a special relationship with any of your step-siblings? I have got to know several hundred of them in my association with this sport.  I especially get to meet and spend more time with the ones in the midwest. I am amazed at how great an individual each one of them is and how much they genuinely care for each other.

Who inspires you? My family first and foremost. Then the amazing people I meet in every walk of my life (one example is to be Mark Block). I am impressed and honored that my sons (9 & 6) try to follow in my foot steps and l get to be their role model. My older son did two climbs in 2014 and is doing the same two climbs this year [2015] as well. I am getting him involved in running as well. (They both play soccer and basketball and swim). In 2015 at the Oakbrook ALA-FFAC, my whole family climbed for the frist time.  It was the first time for my wife and younger son.  It was an ubelievable experience for us.  This is hopefully just a start.  I would love to see my children be active and strive to be the best they can be in anything they do.

Do you have a good luck charm or any superstitions or pre-race rituals?  I do not eat or drink anything before my races (especially since almost all of the run and climb happens almost at 7 AM).

What's on your iPod during workouts/competitions? I do not pay attention to what specifically.  It is more of a zoning out process for me to focus.  Most of the time I couldn't  tell you what is playing in my ears.

Do you have a website or blog for those interested in learning more about you? No. Though I post about most of my events on my facebook updates.

If we had numbers on our jerseys, what would your number be? 5

What would you like to tell others about yourself and your experience with stair climbing that might inspire them in their lives? This is one of the toughest sport. I am glad I stumbled onto this sport. This gives me something to do in the cold winter months in the midwest. It has exposed me to several incredible people.  I consider my life to be richer with the introduction of this sport and the people involved in this sport.

Growing up as a child I was not gifted with any natural athletic talent.  So I was mostly confined to books, drawing and painting, etc. I envied the kids who were so good at athletics and sports. I did play with friends for fun/recreation.  But that was the limit of my athletic talent.

As an adult I did exercise fairly regularly and was in decent shape physically.  When our first child was born Dec 2005, since we did not have help, I had to spend time taking care of the baby.  I did not have time to go to the gym. Also soon after for about 2 years I was travelling a lot for work (4 to 6 weeks at a time). All the restaurant food and no exercise added up quickly.  In 2007 when I went to see my doctor for a physical, I had gained about 40lbs (I weighed 205, the most I ever weighed) and my cholesterol was high (good cholesterol low - 25 and bad cholestrol high) and triglycerides were at 360.  My doctor was ready to put me on a cholesterol medication.  I told him, give me some time and I will come back in 6 months.

I took up running and registered for my first race (5K) ever. It was such a great experience and I was addicted.  The same year I started running longer distances and competed in a half marathon.  The next year I ran the Chicago Marathon (my first Marathon - 2009). I loved the race experiences. I have run 4 Chicago Marathons so far. Besides several half, 5ks and relay races.

I went back to my doctor after a year of running.  He was shocked to see the results.  He could not believe it was really my report.  I had lost 40 lbs. My blood work were all perfect. My good cholesterol had gone up to 45, total cholesterol down to 128, triglycerides down to 80. I was ecstatic and promised myself that I would never let myself get back into that situation ever again.

In 2010 October a dear family friend of ours (who was 67 years old) was diagnosed with 4th stage lung cancer. Within a month of that, I got a post card in the mail for the ALA Fight For Air Climb in Oakbrook. To this day I have no idea how they got my address and I got that post card.  But when I got the postcard in the mail, I thought "what a coincidence. That our friend is fighting lung cancer and I get this opportunity to help with lung diseases and lung health," so I signed up. And that was the beginning of my climbing. Our friend passed away in May 2011.  In 2012, I did the ALA circuit in his honor.  

During this period I got to know the ALA staff all over the upper midwest including the then CEO of upper midwest Harold Wimmer (current national CEO of ALA). I came across several incredible world class athletes and several incredible people who were brave and courageous in the face of adversities.  People from all walks of life. But with one common cause. Lead a healthy and full life and make this place (earth) a better place for ourselves and the generations to come. People who are so humble and caring of each other. It has been such an eye opener. My life is richer with this sport.