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Indian Women Lace Up Running Shoes, Participate in First Boilermaker

Aug. 7, 2009

August 7, 2009 (Utica, NY) —  Local Doctor Venkata Mannava has been running for 14 years and has completed 12 Boilermaker 15k's.  This year, he and three fellow physicians acted as a positive, encouraging example for ten other Indian-born friends.  The women, who are not usually expected to run in the Indian culture, donned running gear and ran 9.3 miles on Boilermaker Sunday.

"Most Indian women do not get involved in sports," explained Dr. Mannava.  "Many are not very athletic or may be bashful and do not like to come out and run. Distance running is a tough sport as it is, but this was a great opportunity for them."

The women were not sure they were going to run in the 15k race at first; some planned on walking in the 3-Mile event and others were going to participate in the short, 5k run.  But instead, they were encouraged by their family and friends and eventually found themselves involved in the Boilermaker training program.

Five of the women participated in the rigorous program, which began in January, to help ready themselves for the 15k event. "They did it themselves," explained Linda Turner, coordinator of the Boilermaker training program.  "We encouraged them that they could do it and their husbands were very supportive."  The group of Indians ran together on a few occasions to supply encouragement for each other.

"I spoke with some of the women after the race," Turner continued, "and they all said that they enjoyed it and had a great time.  They really believed in themselves."

Mannava also agreed that the women were thrilled with their accomplishment.  "The women felt great," Mannava said. "They loved the race and thoroughly enjoyed the weather.  They liked the Post-Race party and even celebrated again at one of the woman's homes afterwards."

 He feels that this year was an influential example for the rest of the ethnic group's community and claims that that he and his peers are already recruiting new, first-time runners for next season.