PMNC 2017 : Keynotes :The Through Line
PMNC 2017

The nature of sport is such that you can’t do it for money or fame alone. “My relationship with sports is largely defined by my love for adventure and my relationship with nature,” said Anu Vaidyanathan, an entrepreneur and author of Anywhere but Home: Adventures in Endurance.

Ms. Vaidyanathan attributes her positive attitude towards sport to the women in her life who inspired her to chase her dreams, and the men who encouraged her to keep going. She said, “At home, intellectual curiosity and physical exploration went hand-in-hand.”

When she started running Ironman marathons (a one-day, 207- km multisport race) in Bangalore, she was confronted with potholed roads to run on, cold pools to swim in, and unsolicited advice from coaches who believed “a 20-year-old woman had no place in a swimming pool.”

Women athlete friends taught her valuable lessons on ‘faking her cool’ even if she wasn’t feeling it. “Words matter,” Ms. Vaidyanathan said. “Use them well, especially in relationships with others.”

Her decision to relocate to New Zealand for a PhD was a thorough line – a turning point – for her. Soon after, she ran her first Ultraman in Canada in 2009.

Remembering all the times she ran races in wornout track pants and a 10-year-old pair of running shoes, Ms. Vaidyanathan calls herself a minimalist athlete. “Triathlons are not about making a fashion statement.”

She stressed that she had no secret sauce to success: “Just a little dose of optimism and a heck of a lot of training.” Thinking back, she feels that her life was like a river, with ebbs and flows of good and bad.