The eldest of three siblings born in a middle class Maharashtrian family in Mumbai. Preeti was not really involved in any kind of sports during her school days, though Trekking was a part of their curriculum. At a very young age, this girl stepped up to her responsibilities becoming strong and confident in the process.
She started working at L&T Finance while pursuing her B.Com from the Mumbai University via Distance Education. Married at the tender age of 21 to Rohinton Lala in 1996, the young couple were soon blessed with a bonny baby girl the following year 🤗. Preeti’s In-Laws, were her pillars of strength who encouraged and moulded her making her independent.
After Baby Vhahbiz was born, Preeti quit her job and switched to taking home tuitions. Over the years she piled on the kilos, weighing about 68Kg. In 2006, while taking 9-year-old Vhahbiz for her drawing class, Preeti noticed a pricking pain in her heel while getting up. On consulting a Doctor, she was informed it was due to ligament wear and tear and that she needed to lose weight. Thereafter she was on Homeopathic medication for around 6-7 months and started walking for 45 minutes from Lokpuram to Yeour and back daily. She also started eating healthy, restricting rice and sweets in her diet and took up Yoga and Stationary Cycling for a year as she slowly lost weight.
In 2012, Preeti joined a nearby Gym in Vasant Vihar. Noticing a pamphlet in the gym, she registered for her first Run at Rs.100, a 6K at the Viviana Mall organized by Pinkathon and there was no looking back for her thereafter. She had a brilliant time catching sight of several runners in HTHM (Hiranandani Thane Half Marathon) T-shirts. She met Runner-Photographer Michael Dsouza, Joints & Motions Coach Sudarshan Singh and Runtastics Coach K Haridasan Nair amongst others.
Preeti did her first ever 10K at the Hiranandani Estate Half Marathon in December 2013, clocking 01:01:42 while following her usual Gym and Yoga routine. She took part in her first 21K at HTHM in February 2014 and completed in 2:10:06. Finishing in the top 25 girls, she was awarded a Hockey Stick as the run was dedicated for “I Run for Indian Hockey.” 😊
In June 2014 Preeti got her very first podium at JNM’s Run for Heart marathon, standing third, finishing her 10K in 00:59:43. In December 2014 she got the elite treatment with the lead vehicle biker cheering her at the HE Marathon finishing second in 02:05:01 after speedy Kranti Salvi.
The following week, Preeti ran with her pacer Babu Swaminathan who gave her loads of tips and inputs at the Pinkathon where they finished in 2:02:29.
Having participated in the Dream Run at the SCMM in 2014 through a corporate entry by her husband, Preeti did her HM at SCMM finishing in 2:01:17 after she ran her HM at Powai Run in 2:02:15 in January 2015. She followed it up with the HTHM in 2:01:50 in February and BNP Endurathon 25K in 2:52:50 in July besides some other 10K events.
Inspired by Coach Giles Drego’s words, Preeti went on to participate in the Mumbai Ultra in August where she clocked 76K despite any real training. She followed it up with the SHHM finishing in 02:06:47 in September.
Boosted by her recent success, Preeti geared up for her first FM at VVMM finishing in 4:43:32 standing 3rd on her anniversary gifting herself another podium 🙂. She went on to do her FM at SCMM in 04:17:33 and also broke the Sub 2 HM Barrier in 2016.
Besides few other events, she participated in the Silvassa Endurathon 54K, essentially organized for the Comrades qualifiers where she stood 2nd. That’s where she met Haridasan Nair, Vandana Parekh, Satish Gujaran, Bijay Nair, Rahul Agarwal etc. and got insights about the Comrades Marathon.
In May 2016, Preeti participated in JNM’s Nashik-Thane Ultra running with Ganesh Aryan. Despite a twisted ankle she clocked 139K in 30 hours 😮. Preeti got to learn a lot from Ultra Runner Breeze Sharma on how to run a marathon on the highway in the night.
Thereafter several other events and podiums followed. In June 2017, Preeti participated in the 12-hour Stadium Run in Mumbai training under the guidance of Ultra Runner Sunil Shetty. She stood first clocking 89.2K. This was followed by 91.2K at the 12-hour Stadium Run in Hyderabad in July where she was first again. Preeti also participated in the Mumbai Ultra clocking 90K in August 😲.
In 2017 after the Navy Marathon, Preeti was diagnosed with an injury and had to skip the VVMM as per the Doctors advice 😐. Determined to run in TMM she took care and worked hard to recover in time and went on to finish her FM in 04:10:21.
In 2018 Preeti got podiums at NVHM finishing in 1:45:53 her PB, BNP Ultra 50K in 5:04:10, JNM Half Marathon, 24-hour stadium Run in Mumbai clocking 147.2K, AFMC Pune FM in 04:00:04, IDBI HM in 01:48:32, Navy Marathon in 01:52:45, Decathlon Thane HM in 01:50:33 and VVHM FM in 03:59:38. She also participated in the Khardungla Challenge finishing in 13:15 despite the variable weather and frostbite 😷.
Preeti was also nominated for the Ultra Runner Category at the Mumbai Road Runners Awards in 2018.
In June 2019 Preeti completed the Uphill Comrades Marathon running with Rahul Sharma and finishing in 10:16:13. She was second in Indian Women. A week later, she went on to do 78K at the 12-hour Stadium Run in Mumbai. She followed it up with 144.9K at the 24-hour Stadium Run in Bangalore in July 2019 😵.
Along with teaching Social Studies at a Coaching Class to 9th and 10th Standard students, Preeti is also a Personal Yoga Trainer. Despite her busy schedule she follows her routine of 3 days Gym, 2 days Yoga (Monday and Saturday), 2 days Run (one short, one long) and 30 minutes Pranayam daily.
Preeti attributes her success to her passion for running and her discipline in her workout regimes.
She signs off advising Newbies, particularly Women:
“Don’t make excuses girls. Women are far stronger than Men. You will feel fresh and energized post exercise. Enjoy and go with the flow. Timing is not important, so don’t constantly focus on it.”