“I love running and I would not shy away from saying that I am my own inspiration,” says the managing director and India head of Experian, Vaishali Kasture. She has been a passionate marathoner for a long time now. No, it was not something she had planned, but an interest she picked up from her colleagues while she was working in Hong Kong.
Kasture is the first Indian woman to run six full marathons, but what got her started in the first place? “Before I started working, I never thought I would participate in marathons,” Kasture says. When she shifted to Hong Kong for work and saw how important it was for people to race and how widely marathons were run, she decided to give it a shot.
She began by just being a regular at her gym, where she loved running and doing cardio workout. Kasture says that, back then, she never ran more than 5 km to 6 km. And, after all that strenuous workout, the first race she participated in was the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon in 2003. “I can still recall how, 13 years back, I started by covering short distances. I did only half marathons. And the Standard Chartered Marathon, though it was my first one, was one I enjoyed to the core,” she says. Kasture adds that it was after this marathon, that she decided she wanted to continue doing it. She did not quickly move on to full marathons though.
Today, despite her tight schedule, Kasture makes time for her races. Three to four days a week she devotes to running at least 10 km. Since full marathons demand more time and practice, she prefers running short races, but at no point has Kasture felt that she should quit this.
The routine before full marathons is exacting. Three months before her race she does strength-training exercises and runs every day to stay as fit as possible. And, for half marathons, the schedule is mildly easier and the time needed to prepare for it is shorter. Kasture says, “I discovered running accidentally and after that my life has seemed more fulfilling. It keeps my mind sharp and feels like meditation to me.” With this sheer devotion and love, she has till now completed 20 full marathons and more than 100 marathons in total. Of them all, the Boston Marathon remains her favourite. She says this is so because of its history as it is the oldest marathon and holds great value in this field. “I have run the Boston Marathon four times till now and it is a lot of fun. Not everyone can participate, you have to register for it. It is a tough selection process and that is also a reason why it is my favourite,” she adds.
Well, for now, Kasture just finished her Delhi Half Marathon. She is looking forward to lacing her shoes to start prepping for the coming Mumbai Marathon in January.