Anil Ambani, 46, Managing Chairman, Reliance Industries, Mumbai, India
Ambani runs a serious chunk of his family's empire (Reliance Energy, Reliance Infocomm, and Reliance Capital) -- part of India's largest petrochemical outfit and the country's second-largest company (behind Indian Oil). But Ambani also goes the distance, running 62.1 miles (100 km) a week. Five days a week, the Indian tycoon runs on an indoor treadmill, and on the sixth day he runs outdoors on a course he plotted from Colaba to Marine Drive and up to Worli -- sometimes with his personal car following behind him.
He started running about four years ago when, he says, he was at an investor meeting in New York and somebody asked about his weight. "That incident prompted me to do some soul-searching, which led me to undertake a change in lifestyle," he says.
He took up running at the suggestion of his father. The elder Ambani told him: "You can buy any luxury in life, but you can't buy health." Since then, Ambani has run several marathons, including coming in second at the Mumbai Marathon, in 2004. "I could never have imagined that I would be able to complete a half-marathon in 1 hour, 29 minutes, and 1 second, and then do the 7-kilometer dream run in 29 minutes and 10 seconds," he says.
Ambani, who has helped Reliance reach $11.7 billion in sales, says besides the physical benefits (he has lost 81 pounds), running has given him a sense of accomplishment and achievement. "At a deeper level, running is about pushing the limits, of realizing one's possibilities," he says. "Over time, of course, running has come to acquire other meanings. It is the time when I often find myself in a meditative trance. In such moments, I connect with my innermost self, and experience a tremendous sense of being at peace with the world."