Track Blazers

Inspiring stories of four marathon runners, for whom running is not only a passion but a way of life.

The running community has been growing by leaps and bounds. Every second day there is someone from the city who brings another laurel to the community. This time, however, it isn’t just one, rather four marathoners who have been part of some of the most prestigious and difficult runs across the globe. Here are their stories.

The Middle-aged Marathoner Mom - Anuradha Kalidindi
A runner for the past eight years, Anuradha Kalidindi, a mother of two grown up sons, is giving everyone running goals for sure. She has participated in 38 marathons, and even finished the recent London Marathon within five hours.

Describing the run, Anuradha says, “The London Marathon had been on my list for some time. Running in London was an amazing experience. Being one of the 40,000 runners at the start line gave me butterflies in my stomach but once the race started, the cheering and enthusiasm of the crowd put me on cloud nine. Cruising through the streets of suburban London in the first half with the residents, including little ones giving high-fives makes you forget that you are actually running a race! And then you make your way to the historic Tower Bridge of London, Cutty Sark, Financial District, River Thames, Big Ben and then the finish at Buckingham Palace.”

But the run to the finish line was not so easy for Anuradha as she suffered from severe leg cramps. “That’s part of the sport and when I saw wheelchair runners overtaking me, I couldn’t feel sorry for myself. Also, I had not taken any special training for the London Marathon as I was busy with my family responsibilities,” she adds.

Apart from taking part in runs, Anuradha is fond of travelling and often combines both her passions. She started running at the age 40 and says she wants to finish running in three more continents. “I have run in Antarctica, Asia, Africa and North America — have lots to run before I stop,” she says.

A Passionate Athlete - Romil Barthwal
Triathlete and avid cyclist Romil Barthwal, a 40-year-old Central Government employee created a mark at the Boston Marathon held this year.

Romil BarthwalRomil Barthwal

“The Boston Marathon has a rich history and is the only marathon which requires a timing qualification as an entry criterion. The crowd support is just amazing. Every inch of the road on the 42.2 km stretch has locals who constantly cheer you on,” says Romil. However, qualifying for the run was not an easy task. He followed a strict schedule, focused on aerobic running and followed a periodisation philosophy of training for the marathon. Sharing more details about the Boston Marathon, he says, “During the marathon, I was acknowledging the crowd support and accepting fruits and ice from them en route. A guy offered me a can and when I popped it open and gulped it — it was beer! Even though I am a non-drinker, it was a good experience overall.” Romil, who started running in 2012, has come a long way. “Generally, I pace one marathon a year and race another one. Also, I keep a mix of shorter 10 kilometres or half marathons every year,” he says, about his annual schedule.

Pushing the Limits - Sunita Tummalapalli
Homemaker Sunita Tummalapalli has long been eyeing the six major marathons held worldwide and has already run in three, with the most recent one being the Boston Marathon.

Sunita TummalapalliSunita Tummalapalli

“This year, the Boston Marathon made history, when Kathrine Switzer, who in the year 1967 became the first woman to run the Boston Marathon with an official race bib and number, rejoined the race at 70 years of age! Running with Kathrine and being part of her ‘261 Fearless team’ was a great experience and honour, which I will never forget,” says Sunita. Participating in marathons from 2010, Sunita is very particular about her training.

“My training regime contains workout drills, yoga, meditation and running,” says Sunita. In the last seven years, she has run 42 marathons, including six ultra marathons and two multi-day races.

Sunita also enjoys trekking, photography and embroidery. “I enjoy travelling and running gives me the opportunity to do that. I have also climbed the Everest Base Camp and summited Mount Kilimanjaro. I am also one of the founding members of Women in Network (WIN), a non-profit organisation that works with underprivileged women and children,” she adds.

Making running history - Vijay Boddupalli
Marathon runner and cycling enthusiast Vijay Boddupalli recently created history by running 21 half marathons for 21 consecutive days in Chennai. He has been featured in the 2017 edition of the Limca Book of Records and Indian Book of Records. An avid sportsperson, Vijay ran the marathons to spread awareness about first aid. “Last year, I was selected for the World Duathalon (running and cycling) championship in Spain. My friends helped me with funding, but I still couldn’t make it because of lack of sponsorship. I wanted to return their favour. One of them runs an NGO called Alert, and he asked me to create awareness about the importance of first aid during accidents,” says the 28-year-old.

Vijay BoddupalliVijay Boddupalli

Vijay, who holds an MBA in Sports Management and MA in Economics, has participated in half marathons in three continents — Africa, Europe and Asia. He has also toured 665 kilometres, cycling in Punjab for spreading awareness about cancer. “Time management is the key. If you can do that and if you’re consistent and passionate, you can achieve anything,” he says.

Vijay also became the first Indian to run a reverse marathon of 10 kilometres, and will be featured in the 2018 edition of the Limca Book of Records.

Next Story