Preeti Maske started cycling at 40 after she faced a string of health problems like anaemia, PCOS, and hormonal imbalance. “Whether it was my office work or at home, I lacked the stamina. I would feel tired. I couldn’t sleep well at night,” she recalls.

At 45, she became the first woman to cycle solo from Leh to Manali in 55 hours and 13 minutes, showing that anyone can start fitness at any age and excel.

A national-level hockey and basketball player, Preeti’s sports and fitness had taken a backseat after marriage and kids.

In 2017, she ran for the first time in years, joining a parent race at her son’s school. After that, she kept cycling and running, noticing a change in her health. Eventually, she began doing long rides.

Her curiosity was piqued when her friend told her about the possibility of an ultra-cycling record from Leh to Manali. She started preparing for it.

Even though she had competed in several rides before this, the Leh to Manali one was a challenge due to the weather conditions and low oxygen levels.

But she did it, and according to the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and Maske herself, she has achieved a Guinness World Record for the 430 km distance.

Apart from that, she has run four Full Marathons, 30 Half Marathons, and two Ultras. She achieved a group world record for the fastest completion of cycling a distance of 3,773 km from Kashmir to Kanyakumari in December 2019.

“For many women like me, once we have children, our focus is on work and home. But it’s important to carve a path for myself,” she says adding that family will support you once you start doing what you want.

“I started at 40 when most people are in their mid-life crisis. There is no right or wrong age to start anything,” she emphasises.