An interior designer by profession, Jaipur’s Charu Thukral did not know that one day she would find her happiness in athletics. Charu, is the second fastest female finisher at Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, 2016. She bagged third All India Rank spotting herself under the age-category of 22-25 at an International event held in New Delhi. Charu completed her race in 1 hour 55 minutes covering 21.097 kilo meters. Every year, more than 25,000 participants run in the capital’s marathon that is being held since 2008.
Charu, is the second fastest female finisher at Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, 2016
The family encouraged Charu who was motivated by her elder brother Abhinav and sister-in-law, Bhawna to take part in Delhi Marathon. The dining table discussions of her family, who are into the bakery business, urged her to train the for the marathon six months ahead. She was trained by fitness trainer, Ajay Singh.
“The support of family which is full of fitness & sports enthusiasts gave me an exuberant spirit that I would do well. Besides, I have had the best coach by my side who trained me with a very soft and subtle approach, as generally the sports coaches are tough while training. Ajay sir, always had this belief in me that I will do very well.”
Sport was part of school life she recalls. “I was an active sports enthusiast in school. I played soccer for the last two years in school. I used to participate in almost every inter-school event. I was a student who was found more often in the sports uniform, instead of regular uniform at school.”
Charu never knew that one day her early fascination would land her on the running tracks of the famous Delhi marathon, and that she’s make women and her state, Rajasthan so proud. The regime wasn’t easy and Charu maintained a strict diet.
“I still remember the first time when I ran 4kms straight. I felt it was an achievement. But gradually when we increased the distance to 6,8,10 and then 16kms – then I realized what we are capable of doing! Ajay Sir went really easy on me, since I was the first time runner. His simple advice for me was- ‘Eat and Run.'”
Singh she says predicted her run time minutes before she began.” And surprisingly, I was exactly there! I completed my first Half Marathon in 1:55, and I was 7th in my category.”
So over these years, what has running meant to Charu? “Mental happiness.” She adds “The adrenaline rush of being on the running field during a marathon, with the sounds of dhol and people cheering is perhaps the best time of my life.”
What ended well had some scary hiccups. Just a week ahead of the marathon, Charu met with a knee-tissue injury while practicing and lost confidence. But with some motivation from her coach Singh and the family, she recovered herself in a week by taking physiotherapy sessions and help of other medical equipment.
Her mantra for others wanting to give this a shot?
“It’s a sport of the balance of both body and mind. I believe every body and every person has his own capability, and in sports one should never exert more pressure on body, and instead listen what is it indicating you.”
Rajasthan’s first female finisher, Charu also met Princess Diyakumari who lauded her for making whole of Rajasthan proud in the international event.
Charu gives the credit to her father, Anudeep Thukral, whom she considers her role-model, her supportive family and most importantly her coach, Ajay Singh who believed in her and trained her in the span of 5 months.
“I believe there is much awareness among people for fitness, health and yoga. But I observe that it is short-lived. People do pay for their heavy gym packages or slimming centres but they don’t really follow it enthusiastically now days. Fitness should be a part of daily routine and to be followed as a daily exercise in everything you do.”