In accordance with popular folklore, the etymology of the name Angul traces back to a local chieftain named “Anu” who initiated a failed uprising against the King. The residents of the area dubbed this period as Anugol (Anu’s war), and over time, the name evolved into “Angul,” the title by which the town is recognized today.

Angul is home to NALCO, which owns Asia’s largest aluminum plant.

The city stands out not only as an industrial center but also as the location of the Satkosia Tiger Reserve. This reserve boasts diverse flora and fauna, drawing nature enthusiasts from around the globe.

Soumendra was born in this city in the year 1983. He is the middle child among three siblings. His father, a lawyer and a staunch disciplinarian, instilled values of discipline in all three children.

He pursued his education at Delhi Public School, Nalco Nagar in Angul. As an introvert, he dedicated himself primarily to academic pursuits.

In 8th grade, his school teacher observed his potential and assisted him in improving his interpersonal skills. The teacher motivated him to engage in drama activities. Excelling academically, he was selected as a class representative.

During 11th and 12th grade, he undertook various responsibilities at school, including social work, organizing cultural festivals, and managing the Christmas carnival.

He aspired to pursue a degree in MBBS. Following his completion of 12th grade, he traveled to Bhubaneswar to enroll in a medical coaching program. Over the course of his few weeks stay in Bhubaneswar, he forged new friendships, as the majority of his friends had chosen to pursue engineering studies.

But fate had some different plans. He opted to study engineering from KIIT University, Bhubaneswar. He felt life is short and there is more to explore than committing another 10 years to study medicine.

He cherished spending time with his friends. Whether it was house parties or going on road trips with friends, Soumendra always had companions by his side for his adventures. As a food lover he meticulously prepared chili chicken, which his friends thoroughly enjoyed.

He visited a park regularly at the heart of the city for 1-2 KM jog.

He excelled in his studies, consistently ranking within the top three students in the computer science department and among the top ten students in the entire KIIT University.

That left his friends often perplexed thinking how he could top in studies while he could be seen attending all the parties and roaming all over the city.

In 2004, he appeared for first job interview with Infosys as part of campus placement. But he felt disappointed to see his name missing from the final list of students who cracked the interviews.

Two weeks later he got a job offer from Wipro and he was ecstatic. The company instructed all the selected candidates to travel to Kolkata for medical examinations. For the first time in life, he stepped outside Odisha.

He commenced his role at Wipro, Hyderabad in June 2005. Unfortunately, he fell ill the following day and had to return to Bhubaneswar as the recovery process would be lengthy.

Three months later, he returned to Wipro, where he crossed paths with Ellora, who had also joined as a trainee. Coincidentally, they both studied at DPS, Nalco Nagar. Their friendship blossomed quickly.

He enjoyed visiting KBR Park in Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad for 1-2 KM jog.

In 2008 he went to Finland on an official visit. The trip changed his outlook towards health, wellbeing and life. In spite of extreme weather conditions, the locals were accustomed to walking extensively. A colleague cycled 22 miles to the office daily.

During his stay in Finland, he explored new things. He joined a local football team. He also tried his hands at photography.

In Dec 2010, he got married to Ellora and settled at Hyderabad. But soon he found his weight heading north owing to lack of exercise and unhealthy eating habits.

In 2011, the couple started running together at a nearby park. They also organized a 5K run inside their township. Within the next few months, he completed his first 10K run.

He joined Bank of America in 2014 and represented his company in various running events. In 2016, he ran 25 KM in Hyderabad. He was ecstatic.

Together, the couple embarked on South India road trips with their young daughter and friends, relishing the adventure of discovering new destinations.

In 2019 his boss gave him an offer to move to Dublin, the capital of Ireland. But he was given a very short time to make a decision. A month later, he found himself at this completely new place.

After spending a few months at this place his weight hovered over 83 KG mark. Upon the invitation of his neighbor, he thought of signing up for an upcoming half marathon.

Within the next 6 months, he reduced his weight by a whopping 12 KG by eating a healthy diet and keeping an active lifestyle. He went to the mountains for his early morning runs.

Every time he visited a new place, he ran in the morning to explore the place.

His wife also loves running and every morning she does a 5K run. If traveling outside isn’t possible due to bad weather, she runs 5K inside home. It’s super inspiring!

A local guy from his neighbourhood introduced him to trail running. In 2021, he did a 45 KM trail run that included crossing a river.

He completed the Dublin Marathon in 2022 and 2023 with a Personal Best timing of 3:48 HR.

In 2023, he participated in his longest trail run till date. He witnessed heavy rain and storm during the course, but his unwavering mindset saw him finishing the crossing line by covering 80 KM distance and an elevation more than 10,000 ft in 11.5 HR.

When you run, you feel better and happier. When your team runs together, then the bonding is even stronger. So he has set up a running club in his office in Dublin and motivates his team members to stay physically active.

Gold Dust
1. In 2024 he did a 50 KM run which was again marred by storm and snow. Out of 300 participants, 50 people quit the race from the beginning owing to extreme weather. However, Soumendra believes that such races train the mind to face any challenges in life. He savored the challenge and came out victorious.

2. For someone who once weighed close to 85 KG and never did serious running until the age of 30, he has come a long long way since then. Next year he has set his eyes on a 120 KM Wicklow way trail run.

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