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Dr Erica Patel from Chennai is the first woman from the state to complete the Comrade Marathon of South Africa

Dr Erica Patel from Chennai is the first female runner from Tamil Nadu to participate and finish in the Comrade Marathon in South Africa.

Dr Erica Patel from Chennai is the first female runner from Tamil Nadu to participate and finish in the Comrade Marathon in South Africa.

“The energy was amazing. It was like a concert, with the audience cheering on you as you keep pushing yourself to make it to the finish line,” recalls Dr. Erica Patel, recently concluded in South Africa Talking about Comrade Marathon.Chennai based gynecologist completed Ultra Marathon, 89.885 km run between the cities of Pietermaritzburg and Durban in 11h 38mins.

“For runners, Comrade is the ultimate achievement as it is one of the oldest marathons in the world. It was an emotional moment to get to the finish line as my coach Lindsay Parry, who is a South African, was waiting for me there. The cut-off time is 12 hours and that is what makes the race so unique,” ​​she explains, adding that the cherry-on-top factor for her is that she is the first woman in the state to participate and finish it.

Dr Erica, who works at ART Fertility Clinic in Nungambakkam, has been an athlete before running in 2016. “I used to play badminton too. For running, I started with 5k, 10k and half marathons and ran the Berlin Marathon in 2018. When I got pregnant in 2019, I trained under Lindsey Parry, an expert in training pregnant athletes. I also ran a 10k during my third trimester. Six months after giving birth to my son, I started running like never before, ”she recalls.

  Dr. Erica Patel with her coach Lindsay Parry

Dr. Erica Patel with her coach Lindsay Parry

As she focuses on rebuilding her strength after the race, she continues to inspire women as part of the Chennai Runners Mentoring Program, encouraging their participation in marathons. “Veteran runners advise newcomers with a day-to-day training schedule. Success comes from consistency. I judiciously follow a routine that includes four days of running and two days of strength training each week. We have to stick to it, and the results will be visible eventually,” she says.

Dr. Erica stresses that cross-training is equally important for strengthening one’s body. “I trained with The Quad for my strength training. He tweaked it according to my running schedule. I advise my patients to deal with infertility by adopting a healthy lifestyle. About 50% of the women I see every day in my clinic suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome, which can be cured by staying fit, ”says the doctor, describing running as therapeutic. “Run time is my ‘me time.’ It calms me down and I am refreshed to take on the day.”

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