‘Educated older ladies tell me that women give up on fitness once they’re married’
This 20-year-old model and fitness enthusiast is here to reclaim the streets
Let’s all agree that it can be awkward to run outdoors if you’re a beginner – you’re trying to avoid weird stares while constantly fighting the urge to give up and go home. But trust us, once you’ve done it you’ll never want to step on a treadmill, and Shraddha Shashidhar couldn’t agree more. The 20-year-old model and army kid has been in a steady relationship with running since forever. First as a sprinter in school, then as a national-level basketball and netball player, which called for torturous 5am runs with her team. Even though it’s been one of the few constants the army kid had each time she moved to a different city (11 in the past 20 years!), it’s not been very easy to keep up. “People always stare, taunt and eve tease when I run in the streets, but I don’t let it trouble me. What bothers me is when educated older women tell me that this is a just a passing obsession, and women give up [on fitness] once they’re married. I really want to change this mindset,” says Shraddha, who will often invite these ladies to her daily runs.
She learned to ignore detractors and conquer her fears early on in life. “I was in the second standard and I remember being determined to beat this tall boy, who was also the best runner in my class. For one week I practiced at 5.30am everyday and on the final day I beat him and surprised everyone.” There was no looking back after that, Shraddha has slowly improved her endurance levels over the years. “I would initially hesitate to go for a 5k run, but my father kept encouraging me to complete the entire stretch even if I took 10 hours. Daring to smash this fear helped me reach a new level.” She prefers running outdoors to a treadmill and rates an early winter morning run in Srinagar’s challenging terrain as one of her most memorable.
Classic sports bra, Pro Hypercool training tights, VaporMax shoes, cotton wristband; all Nike
Photographs: Manasi Sawant, Styling: Karuna Laungani, Hair and make-up: Kritika Gill, Art direction: Reshma Rajiwdekar