PREETI LALA WINS 24 HOUR MUMBAI STADIUM RUN

Preeti Lala (Photo: courtesy Preeti)

Deepak Bandbe wins in 100 km category

Preeti’s mileage is the second best by an Indian woman in the 24-hour category so far

Preeti Lala emerged the overall winner of the Ageas Federal Life Insurance 24-hour Stadium Run held in Mumbai over February 6-7, 2021.

Thane-based Preeti, the sole woman running the 24-hour race category at the Mumbai event, finished way ahead of the rest of the field, covering a distance of 193.60 kilometers during the allotted time of 24 hours. It is the second best by an Indian woman in the race category so far. It was also the maximum distance covered across both genders in the given race category, at the Mumbai stadium run. 

Apoorva Chaudhary holds the national best of 202.212 km, set during the 2019 IAU 24-hour World Championships held in Albi, France. During the same event, Priyanka Bhatt had finished with a distance of 192.845 km. It is this mark that Preeti has bettered.

In the 24-hour category at the Mumbai event, Parwinder Singh was the winner among men with 154 km covered. Buddhi Saini finished second (151.60 km) and Munir Kulavoor third (150 km).

Deepak Bandbe, running in the 100 km category at the Mumbai event, finished the race in seven hours, 57 minutes and 47 seconds. It is the third best finish so far for Indian men in the 100 km category.

Sandeep Kumar had set the national best in 100 km – 7:56:22 – at the Bengaluru Stadium Run held on January 23 and 24, 2021. At the same meet, Abhinav Jha had secured the second best male performance in the same category with a timing of 7:57:35.

In the 100 km category for men in Mumbai, Nilesh Yadav finished second with timing of 8:27:28. Aaditya Dattaram Badavate placed third with 9:24:20. In the 12 hour-category, Sandel Kisan Nipane (120.80 km) was the winner among men. He was followed by Raman Baisla (119.60 km) and Ankur Lakhera (112.80 km). From among women, the winner was Reena Maru (98.40 km). She was followed by Mahek Makhija (95.60 km) and Corina Van Dam and Pooja Varma (both 82.80 km). The Mumbai event was organized by NEB Sports.

Preeti started her run at 6PM on February 6, 2021. “ I did not have any target except that I wanted to be on my feet for the entire 24 hours,” she said.

Deepak Bandbe (Photo: courtesy NEB Sports)

Participants were few as there was uncertainty about the event taking place, she said. Training could have been better but the uncertainty affected it. Still, she had moderately good training sessions for three months with average mileage of 100-120 kilometers per week.

Over 2020, training for most runners was impeded by the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Preeti’s last run before the lockdown was in the 50 km category at Tata Ultra of February 2020.

Getting back to training after the lockdown induced-break, Preeti chose to run the Run to the Moon challenge organised by NEB Sports. “ The challenge required us to run a distance of 2 km to 10 km daily. This helped me get back into rhythm,” she said. She also participated in TCS 10k virtual run.

“ I am happy that the event (Mumbai Stadium Run) took place finally. The weather was mostly humid especially during the night but early mornings were quite cool. We had several hours of scorching sun,” Preeti said.

“ The excellent arrangements at the venue with volunteers and runners supporting me during the race, helped immensely,” she said.

Apeksha Shah and her husband, both runners, provided substantial support to Preeti. “ Also, Pranaya Mohanty, ultra-runner from Bengaluru, ran with me for the last 20 km,” she said.

(The author, Latha Venkatraman, is an independent journalist based in Mumbai.)

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