If you have been putting off running a marathon for a while and cannot find motivation for it, then look nowhere beyond the 35-year-old runner Ankita Gaur. From gaining subsequent weight to becoming a marathoner, Ankita is a huge advocate that anyone can run and race, no matter their age, insisting that people just need to try. “It is about living a disciplined life, it is about consistency over time. That tests your commitment as a runner. Because honestly, you don’t need more than 45 to 50 minutes to do it. It is not what somebody’s level is,” says Ankita.
Having set multiple examples for other women to live by, Ankita remains at the forefront among married women who have led us to reassess the possibilities of aging and performance. Almost nine years ago, Ankita made a choice that would impact the rest of her life. Despite having started late, she was barely a novice to the sport. She has always been an active runner, having participated in multiple races since childhood. Today, when she sees a finish line, she swiftly intends to cross it, and inspire hundreds and billions.
Ankita’s long list of personal achievements runs the entire action gamut of multiple podium finishes at prestigious marathons, cycling, coaching runners, blogging, and more. Having qualified thrice for the most coveted world major, Boston Marathon in 2017, 2018, and 2019, Ankita has run thrice in the Berlin Marathon, which is considered one of the fastest marathons in the world. Determination, grit, and willingness are the key to a few, but not everyone tastes success on the first try. She clocked a timing of one hour and 57 minutes in her maiden half-marathon after being trained for three months. A similar sense of dedication was present even before she started competing in races.
While running is deeply entrenched in her daily routine, it hasn’t always been very easy for Ankita. There were roadblocks, as she says, but she chose to shine through. So, isn’t this what makes her pursuit all the more worthwhile? Of course, yes. “Last year at the Boston Marathon, during the last seven kilometres, my right leg started hurting badly. It was extremely painful and I couldn’t run. I was looking at the clock, I was completely zoned out. There are times when you forget what’s happening around you, you focus on the one goal that you’ve to cross the finish line. I don’t remember the crowd, I don’t remember anything, but how I crossed the last few kilometres is absolutely amazing!” she recalls.
Well, if you are in need of dire inspiration to lace up those running shoes and get a jog in before the end of the day, Ankita’s journey might be something you should look up for. The captain of Adidas Runners Bangalore, Ankita registered for her maiden marathon, the New Delhi Marathon in 2016 where she ran for 3 hours and 57 minutes with four weeks of training. And it wasn’t difficult, she says.
But don’t we too often cling on to the inveterate conventional wisdom that marathon performance peaks among runners in their 20s, I ask her. She gushes over it as if that conventional wisdom had taken a beating. Then she replies calmly, “No, I’m the finest example. Running has changed my mindset completely. How I used to look back at problems ten years ago is different from how I tackle them now. Especially when you run marathons, you are there all alone. You fight it hard on the road, the biggest thing I’ve learnt from marathons is to never give up and stay consistent all the time.”
But even while touting the life-changing benefits of running, Ankita is quick to admit that it is not always easy. “Even if you want to give it your all and fight hard, the atmosphere around you sometimes puts you down. But I see a lot of women who manage households and go running at the same time. Thankfully for me, that has never been the case. My husband, parents, and in-laws have been very supportive,” she acknowledges.
Throughout the years, her goals have evolved and changed, but one thing has remained constant: her love for running. Her approach to running remains pragmatic. Well, next time when you’re trying to talk yourself into making it to the gym or not blowing off that extra mile or lap, let this feisty marathoner be your fitspo.