Michelle Kakade, a resident of Pune, set out for an epic journey on October 21, 2015 – one that included running for 5968.4 km and covering 57 major cities on the Golden Quadrilateral. Her plan was to cover this distance in 167 stages, and have her name recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records for covering the route on foot in the fastest time.
On Sunday morning, Michelle completed the run in 194 days, and reached the Gateway of India from where she had started.
The Golden Quadrilateral is the national highway network connecting Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore and Kolkata. A huge crowd of Mumbai’s running enthusiasts joined Michelle in her last leg from Siddhivinayak Temple and cheered her all the way.
“It was an incredible journey which I took to prove that women are capable of doing anything. This run is dedicated to the millions of women in our country who are battling every day for survival purely on the basis of their gender,” she told The Times of India.
To finish the run, 47-year-old Michelle used to cover about 35 km each day and she took only 27 rest days in between. This is equivalent to running 142 full marathons.
She used to begin at around 3:30 am every day and would end it by 8:30 am. This gave her enough time for recovery with the help of Dr. Mohsin Khan, the sports physiotherapist from Heal Institute who was in her support team. Her trainer Raj Vadgama guided and motivated her throughout.
Michelle started running in 2004 after participating in a walkathon in Pune. The way people motivate each other in marathons inspired her and she decided not to stop there. A mother of two, she wanted to break the monotonous routine of daily life and do something physically challenging.
“This is for all women over 40 years of age who think that their life is finished after their children cross 20. I want to send a message to them that they need to create their own identity, pursue their interests and ultimately, motivate themselves to do things that people tell you you can’t,” she told DNA.
Michelle is also only woman to have run 256 km in the Sahara desert and the only Indian to get a membership of the Four Desert Club, having run for 250 km across Atacama Crossing (Chile), Gobi March (China), Sahara (Egypt) and the last desert in Antarctica.