Lace up!

Amrita Prasad
Wednesday, 6 September 2017

To do well in anything, you need an equal abundance of discipline and passion. If you have these two, you can achieve anything you want.
— Vaishali Kasture

One of the speakers for the series ‘Health: An Unbounded Convergence’ at TEDx AFMC on September 8, Vaishali Kasture gives us a peek into her talk and how running creates a perfect balance between the mind, body and soul  

One of India’s leading amateur marathoners, Bengaluru-based Vaishali Kasture wears many hats. Managing director and India country head at Experian, TEDx speaker, a mother, an animal lover and a passionate runner — she fits into every role quite seamlessly and carries out each duty with efficiency. Running has established the 47-year-old, who has won a number of half, full and ultra marathons and has also qualified for the prestigious Boston Marathon, as a role model for women runners across India.  

Although extremely active in promoting the sport and encouraging others to lace up, Kasture began running only in her early 30s. “I didn’t really do much physical activity as I was a very academic kid in school and college. But once I started working and living abroad I saw many of my friends going to the gym or running, and I joined them too. But I only took it seriously when one of my friends signed me up for a 10-km run and I started to really enjoy it. I got into it and have been continuing for the last 15 years,” informs Kasture.   

One of the ambassadors of Armed Forces Medical College Marathon to be held in Pune on September 10, Kasture will be in town also to deliver a talk at TEDx AFMC on September 8. The subject of this series is ‘Health: An Unbounded Convergence’. 

Besides Kasture, other noted speakers will include Bezwada Wilson — national convenor of Safai Karmachari Andolan  (SKA), human rights activist and Ramon Magsaysay awardee; Nachiket Deval — founder of startup COEO Labs; Dr Sunil Kaul — scholar, social worker and a founding member of Action Northeast Trust; Air Commodore V K Sashindran — physician, scientist and HoD of Internal Medicine, AFMC; Sumit Dagar — inventor, designer and winner of Rolex award for innovators; and Sarath Guttikunda — researcher, author and environmentalist. 

Kasture  says although her TEDx talk will include running, she’ll focus on the perfect balance between mind, body and soul. “I will be talking about the ‘unbounded convergence’ of the mind body and soul. I think we strive to make our minds sharper so that we can excel at work and also make our body look better. But the ultimate health is the coming together of the mind, body and soul and that’s what running does for me,” says Kasture adding that running also builds self-esteem. 

Kasture says that running or any other sport should be introduced early in life, at a much younger age. “You shouldn’t find it accidentally in your 30s and 40s because the earlier you start, the better it is for you,” says Kasture adding, “Some people are busy with work during weekdays, so I advise them to do it on weekends at least. Even if you can squeeze out some time — 30 or 45 minutes in a day for two to three days a week — it will give you tremendous mental and physical benefits.”  

Kasture’s mantra is to thrive and not just survive. She believes that one needs to do things that are beyond work and family, and make them happy. “Everybody completes education, takes up a job, earns a living, provides for the family and retires but there are a lot more nuances to life which we do not fully explore and a part of it is what you do outside of your commitments. You must truly do what makes you happy. Think what you liked doing as a kid? Was it painting, skating, reading or playing a sport? To ‘thrive’ you need to be selfish and take care of your mental and physical health, your food and, most importantly, your sleep. If you bring some balance to these aspects of your life, you’ll slowly move from surviving to thriving,” explains Kasture. 

Although the tribe of women runners is growing, there are challenges. Says Kasture, “I think women are inherently shy of wearing gym or running clothes. Many haven’t grown up culturally to be wearing these clothes and taking up a physical activity. So first be comfortable — you can run in track pants or salwars with a t-shirt.” 

She further insists that women don’t always have to run outdoors, they can use a treadmill at home or go to a women’s gym. “Take baby steps to build your self-confidence, so that slowly you have the courage to go out and run,” she advises. 

Kasture is of the belief that women must openly talk to men about running or taking up physical activities. “If men believe their mothers, wives, sisters and daughters must run for a better life, they will try to help them. May be initially they can accompany them to boost their self-confidence even if it means doing 200 m around the building. Typically, running and other physical activities are done in the morning and morning time is dedicated to the family. So if the husband/ son/ brother agrees to take care of the chores in the morning at least three days a week, she will get motivated. I am a big supporter of #HeForShe,” she says.  

While more people are training for marathons now, runners often tend to overdo things and end up having injures. “You need to start slow if you are new to running or marathons. When you see people around you running and taking part in running events, you try to keep pace without realising that you are new to running. Do not try to keep pace with others because what works for them may not work for you. When you run, you are supposed to enjoy it. Hence start slow, start small and do not get injured,” she cautions. 

Health: An Unbounded Convergence, TEDx AFMC on September 8, at Armed Forces Medical College, near Race Course, Solapur Road, Wanawadi, from 8.30 am. To register visit

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