India's premier luxury lifestyle women's magazine
February 15, 2018

Get Inspired By The Narratives Of These Marathon Runners

Text by Sadaf Shaikh

Two women who won big at the Tata Mumbai Marathon last month talk to us about their training sessions, standout moments and reasons for running

Who: Anjali Saraogi
Finish Time: 03:18:26
Secured: Third rank in the overall amateur women category

How did you prepare for the marathon?
At the outset, you have to realise that participating in a marathon is only possible if you follow a disciplined training routine supplemented by nutritious food and a healthy lifestyle. I trained six days a week in the months leading up to the event, which involved lightweight training twice a week and stretching exercises on the remaining days.

Why do you run?
I run because I enjoy the activity. It started off as a passion but soon became personal because I got curious about how much I could push my limits. I believe it all started three years ago when my daughter insisted I take part in the half marathon. I lacked the confidence but her persistence gave me the courage to try.

What are the thoughts that go through your mind while you’re running?
I am a very focused runner and I constantly concentrate on my form and breathing, which is why random thoughts seldom enter my mind. I try to think of all my positive experiences because it gives me the strength to not quit. I also inevitably feel blessed to have the physical ability and opportunity to run and always make it a point to thank God for it. There are so many people who would like to run but are unable to do so due to medical issues or simply lack of time.

What was your toughest moment during this year’s marathon?
It always comes right at the beginning since I know that once I start, there is no going back and I have to give it my best. The realisation that it’s going to be hard and will hurt a lot hits me like a ton of bricks. Mentally embracing that pain before the start is the toughest moment for me. Running the race is easy. The physicality of it has been taken care of in my gruelling training sessions — it’s the psychological aspect of it that really needs to be addressed.

Any standout moments you can recall for us?
This year, a sub 3 runner whom I look up to sped past me soon after the Nariman point turn, then waited a few moments for me to catch up and gave me a high five. It was very motivating for me. Another memorable moment was the policemen and women chanting “Indian lady leading” when I had the lead till 24 kms. It felt great when fellow runners along the route would call out my name and throw positive phrases at me. My favourite one, however, was the time a little child handed out water to me at the punishing 36 km mark at Peddar Road.

Any advice for people who are planning on running next year?
Believe in yourself and have faith in your training. Never let anyone define your limits. Train hard, set a goal and work towards it. Push your body but respect recovery and have a sensible nutrition and hydration plan. 

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