Being a mother is not easy, especially when she is a working woman. The same goes with a renowned gynecologist Dr. Erika Patel who participated in and successfully completed the world’s longest and oldest marathons ‘Comrades’ in South Africa stretching to a span of 89 kilometers from Durban to Pietermaritzburg.
About Dr Erika Patel
Dr. Erika Patel who hails from Chennai is an expert in the subject of fertility and a consultant in obstetrics and gynecology. She is one of the very few doctors in India with an MCh degree in the subject and has a focus on reproductive medicine and surgery.
Dr. Erika Patel received her training and experience in IVF from some of the most prestigious centers, including Harvard University, Boston IVF, and Michigan IVF.
With numerous years of expertise in the management of infertility and training in IVF, Dr Patel works to make IVF highly successful in India. She has training in both male and female infertility problems. She is a frequent guest speaker and lecturer in various national and international forums for women. She has also presented her research papers in prestigious magazines and media and in various seminars
About Comrades Marathon
The Comrades Marathon is an annual ultra-marathon that is conducted between the South African towns of Durban and Pietermaritzburg over a distance of around 89 kilometers. It is the biggest and oldest ultramarathon competition in the world.
Every year, the race direction switches between the “up” run (87 km), which starts in Durban, and the “down” run (currently 90.184 km), which starts in Pietermaritzburg.
The comrades marathon was started on May 24, 1921. Started by World War 1 veteran Vic Claphamwith to commemorate the South African soldiers who got killed during World War 1. Clapham, who had marched 2,700 kilometers through hot German East Africa, wanted the marathon to be a special examination of the participants’ physical stamina.
One of the race’s main goals, according to its constitution, is to “celebrate mankind’s spirit over adversity.”
The race was held on May 31, Republic Day, from 1962 to 1994. The race date was changed to Youth Day on June 16 when this statutory holiday was abolished in 1995 by the post-apartheid South African government.
Then the race was moved to Sunday, June 17 for 2007, and to June 15 for 2008. The date was altered in 2009 and 2010 (to May 24 and May 30, respectively) to coincide with the Confederations Cup (2009) and World Cup (2010) football, both of which were held in South Africa.
Her Journey From the Start line
Dr. Erika Patel was a fitness freak from the beginning. Before her marriage, she used to play badminton for Gujrat. Dr. Erika started running when she shifted to Chennai after her marriage. She was fully dedicated to fitness that she started training for the Comrades marathon in 2019 while pregnant with her son.
She trained for the marathon a week before her delivery and was back on track a week after her healthy and uncomplicated delivery. Her dedication to fitness even while pregnant was because she always wanted to clear out myths around working out while carrying a baby in the womb.
Just like Erika, there are other women who have achieved the impossible because of hard work and perseverance, you should also read about Bachendri Pal, Deeya Suzannah and Arunima Sinha to learn how they have achieved the impossible with a sharp focus and dedication.
Erika was at the top of her fitness level a week before her delivery and became an inspiration for women and showed them that it is possible to work out and avoid excessive weight gain and increase the chances of a normal delivery.
Dr. Erika Patel was under the supervision of South African coach, Lindsey Parry, who trains women who are pregnant or expecting a baby.
Like other participants in the marathon, Erika didn’t create any song playlist to cheer herself up as the energetic crowd kept her moving forward. She used to video call her son and eat at the same time so that she could save time and reach the finish line as soon as she could.
While Erika was running in the marathon, her groupmates from her club, Chennai Runners, supported her at all times by tracking her every motion all day and cheered her with messages. While she was near the finish line of the marathon she saw her coach standing there, she instantly went and hugged her while crying out tears of joy.
Dr. Erika Patel is an inspiration for all women around the world. She didn’t stop aiming for her goal even when she had a newborn to take care of. She also used to see her son while she was running which shows how good of a mother she is.
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There are more inspirational people like Dr. Erika Patel, you can also check this inspiring post – Top 10 Inspiring Women Who Formed The Essence Of Women-Empowerment