This working Mom of two started Running in 2013 in a bid to encourage her teenage daughter to join her in order to lose weight. Though Alisha did not join in then, Aparna discovered that she enjoyed Running. It gave her that much needed “Me time” to clear her head and plan the day. After all she had indulged in Athletics during school; so what if it was more to get out of studies 😉. Later in college, she would walk as much as possible in order to save up her pocket money 😁.
Aparna did her very first 10K at the Pinkathon in 2013 encouraged by her ex-colleague Sharmila Munj. Of course, getting to meet Milind Soman was an added incentive to participate 🤗. Thereafter, she also joined in for the monthly XPTC runs. For someone who did not like Gyms, Running was the easiest activity to take up. Aparna would run solo for about 5-6K daily depending on the time availability as she also had to commute to her office in Marol from Mahim. She enjoyed exploring different routes to keep things more interesting.
2015 onwards, Aparna became more focused and wanted to increase her pace in a bid to improve her timing. She was introduced to the Mumbai Road Runners by her Pinkathon buddies who told her to join in for their monthly Bandra-NCPA run as she wanted to do her first HM at the SCMM in January. Aparna connected with Samuel Chettiar and Bijay Nair amongst others and started volunteering and helping out during the monthly MRR runs 😊.
Since Volunteering gave her so much pleasure, it became a regular affair as Aparna helped out whenever feasible and took on the onus of managing the 21K which were introduced at Pinkathon over the last three years. With a cut off of 2:30 each female runner was paced by individual male pacers. This HM was started in a bid to help Women Runners improve their timings and achieve their PB’s 😎.
When Pinkathon started their Inter-city Runs, Aparna felt inspired watching so many runners running long distances from one city to another for days together. While volunteering during one such Run, she mentioned to Sonia that they should at least do Mumbai-Pune when Milind Soman happened to overhear her. He encouraged them to do so and that’s when Terrific Trio of Sharmila Munj, Sonia Kulkarni and Aparna D’souza accepted the Challenge 😯. They trained for a period of 3 months putting in the required mileage whilst also working on Strength training with one compulsory Rest Day following the schedule provided by Milind. The tough ladies managed to achieve their goal of running from Mumbai-Pune in 3 days with elan 😎.
In 2016, Pinkathon also introduced their Har Ghar mein Pinkathon initiative in order to further promote fitness in women. The idea was to encourage women to take out time for themselves and focus on their health. They started free training groups in different localities. Aparna heads one such group at Shivaji Park. They meet regularly from 5:45-6:30 on alternate days when she usually runs from her home in Mahim to join the Gang.
Having successfully completed the Mumbai-Pune Run in 2016, Aparna decided to join the fun yet again in 2017. This time, they upped the ante and a group of 20 women who trained for 6 months were shortlisted based on regular tests that confirmed their readiness and capability for the humongous task ahead. She says that she felt the first time was easier as she could enjoy running at her own pace whilst the second time she had to ensure she ran along with the others in her Pacing Bus.
Aparna intends to hop on the Bus yet again in 2018, when the plan is to get 50 women to run from Mumbai-Pune.
Recently, she got her very first podium finish in the 10K where she was the Second Runner Up in her Age Category at the Malad Run in February 🤗.
Since Aparna enjoys Ultras so much, she now wants to get proper Coaching in order to also work on her pace. Her goal is to participate and successfully complete the much touted Comrades Marathon at South Africa in the following year 😎.
On a parting note, Aparna states that she really admires other Women Runners who manage to juggle and work out despite their busy schedules. She advises Newbies to find time for themselves and take care of their health. After all; when you are healthy and happy, your family will definitely be happy isn’t it? Oh Yes- these days Aparna’s daughter Alisha has started Running too. As for her son Abhishek, he wants to beat his Mom in a 5K pretty soon 😄.