Mothers & grandmothers turn inspiration for Pune runners

Updated on Jan 19, 2023 11:40 PM IST

Six Pune-based women did the city proud by securing top positions in the Mumbai Marathon on January 15

Six Pune-based women, including 48-year-old Kavitha Reddy (in pic), did the city proud by securing top positions in the Mumbai Marathon on January 15. (HT)
Six Pune-based women, including 48-year-old Kavitha Reddy (in pic), did the city proud by securing top positions in the Mumbai Marathon on January 15. (HT)

PUNE: Six Pune-based women did the city proud by securing top positions in the Mumbai Marathon held on January 15. Smita Patil, 64; Durga Shil, 64; Anjali Bhalinge, 55; Shilpa Phadke, 52; Kavitha Reddy, 48; and Swara Ahluwalia, 37 secured first place in their respective (age-wise) categories.

Patil, a mother of two and a grandmother who participated in the half marathon, finished first in the 60 to 64 years’ category with a timing of two hours, eight minutes and eight seconds. She is a fitness instructor and takes Pilates classes. “At 64, when most others have reduced their physical activities, I opt for pushing my boundaries. I want men and women not to believe in the myths surrounding running. Running releases endorphins aka happy hormones which are also natural painkillers,” Patil said.

Shil participated in the full marathon and finished first in the 60 to 64 years’ category with a timing of four hours, 25 minutes and 17 seconds. “I feel running keeps me energetic throughout the day. I train thrice a week and also do strength training and swimming. I wish that more women will take up running as it improves health and prevents age-related medical issues,” Shil said.

Bhalinge started running to lose weight and eventually completed the ‘Ironman’ at the age of 50 years. She finished first in the full marathon in the 55 to 59 years’ category with a timing of three hours, 54 minutes and 37 seconds.

Phadke, an entrepreneur and mother of two, won top spot in the half marathon in the 50 to 54 years’ category with a timing of one hour, 48 minutes and four seconds. “I have participated in sports since school and college. I was always into running but took it up seriously at 35,” Phadke said.

Reddy, a homemaker, participated in the half marathon in the 45 to 49 years’ category, finishing it first in one hour, 31 minutes and 49 seconds. “I train six days a week and my advice for women is to get selfish, get active, and be your priority. Self-love and self-care are the biggest gifts you can give yourself and they lead to a happy and healthy family,” Reddy said.

Ahluwalia, who competed in the half marathon in the 35 to 39 years’ category, secured top spot with a timing of one hour, 38 minutes and 21 seconds. Ahluwalia trains 6 times a week. “I complete my run between 5 am and 6 am so I am back home before the kids wake up. I also do strength training twice a week,” she said.

Ten years ago at the Mumbai Marathon, 486 women participated in the half marathon and 156 women participated in the full marathon. This year, 668 and 2,071 women participated in the full and half marathons (Mumbai Marathon), respectively.

Shilpa Godbole, running enthusiast, said, “These numbers go to show that more women are picking up running as a form of exercise since there is very little equipment apart from a good pair of shoes required. In the few races I have participated, I have seen some women run in salwar suits and even sarees. It’s encouraging to see that there is a growing movement amongst women to prioritise exercise and not do it only when they find time.”

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