Runversation: Sole sisters

The Asian Age.  | Samuel Sudhakar

Sports, In Other sports

Your favourite running partner could be closer than you think.

Anuradha Raju and Sunita Tummalapalli

Lakhs of people run regularly. And a significant percentage of these runners are women, who are changing the face of the sport.

There are some amazing stories that have surfaced — from the young and  the old, from elite athletes to newcomers. The running community then continues to show that they’re not just healthy but are responsible for spreading some much-needed information.

Inspired by a few runners during a mountain trek, Anuradha Raju and Sunita Tummalapalli decided to take up running while they were in their 40s.

"When we began running, all I wanted to do was complete a half marathon. I was genuinely of the belief that I was going to do something outside of my capabilities,” says Sunita.

“What I now realise is that everyone is a runner. It’s just that some of us have actually tapped into this potential by running regularly and some of us haven’t, yet. But it just means we haven’t shifted our thoughts to realise it yet.”

The two sisters share a runners’ bond. “A regular friend may not always understand the ‘addiction’ runners are so often accused of having, but a running buddy gets it. They understand the need, the desire, and the passion,” adds Sunita. Training together has over time formed an indestructible bond between them. In fact, they call themselves the ‘sole sisters’. Together, they have run several ultra-marathons across cities in India and abroad. They have decimated not just a 42-kilometre distance but have gone ahead and finished even a 100-kilometre run with podium honours. “I think many women have hit a stage in their lives where they are comfortable in who they are and are aware of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Maybe the kids are a little older and they can start to think about themselves for once. Running is something that you can use to push yourself. At the amateur level, the high influx of women has made running more inclusive and welcoming. I am not a remarkable athlete. What I am is determined, resilient, and tireless,” says Anuradha.

Talking about their training and bonding, they both consider themselves lucky.

“We also have a group of running friends who challenge and support us. We are always talking strategy, the best workouts, which race we should pick next, what to eat, how we’re cross-training, etc.”

So go out and do something different this week — challenge yourselves. Allow yourself to realise that you are capable. The difference between who you now are and who you could be is that you haven’t started down that road yet.