An hour before 29-year-old Genieve S Bodiwala, head of department of training at Global e-Services Pvt Ltd started running the Stayfree DNA I CAN Women’s Half Marathon, she was hit by a shooting pain in her leg - it was a sprain.
But that did not deter Bodiwala from taking part in her tenth half marathon. She not only completed the race, but finished in two hours and 45 minutes, not bad for somebody down with an injury.
“I am happy to finish the race even if I could not win it,” said Bodiwala who has trained over 3,000 people in effective communication, personality development and presentation skills.
She is also a certified life coach and helps people develop their potential and achieve their personal and professional goals.
Powered by will and mental strength, Bodiwala decided to stay back in Mumbai alone when she was barely 19, while her parents and brother migrated to the United States. Along with her studies, she also took up a job.
Unlike a lot people who run in an effort to lose weight, Bodiwala took up running four years ago when her father passed away due to a brain tumour. It was then that she decided to hit the track in an effort to cope with loneliness and take active interest in her own health. “I still remember the first day I ran. It was in Borivli National Park. I couldn’t even run 500m at one go and took a couple of hours to complete the 12.5km stretch to Kanheri Caves and back.”
After consistent training, Bodiwala ran her first half marathon in two hours and 47 minutes.
“It was the best moment of my life and I have been running ever since,” she said. She now runs four times a week at Borivli National Park with her physiotherapist. She also works out four times a week in the gym to strengthen the body.
“We have a very strong support group for people who want to start running. There’s a website called www.runnersforlife.com, which is like a Facebook for runners. We have a couple of running groups in Mumbai like the Mumbai Marathon Runners, the Nike Run Club and Hari Om Group at the national park. These groups have helped me become a better runner and now I understand that there’s a lot of science involved in it,” said Bodiwala, who’d like to see a lot more women start running.
Describing the feeling, Bodiwala said, “It feels great! Experiencing the runner’s high, having butterflies in your stomach a night before a marathon, and of course, injuries. But the best part is completing a marathon. Running will help you stay positive, disciplined and also look great!
When you become a good runner, you also become a better person, learning to share your experiences and motivate others to take up this amazing sport.”
She signs off saying, “Be fit, not only physically, but mentally as well. Running is a mental sport... and we are all insane.”