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53-year-old adivasi woman steals show

Parvale, who hails from nearby Saiwan village near Vajreshwari temple in Vasai, was under the spotlight yesterday when she notched up a third- place finish on her debut.


Vimal Parvale (centre) with Sushil Kumar, Shiny Wilson and Milind Soman (right). Pic/Sundari Iyer

The 53-year-old Parvale works as an agricultural labour for rest of the year and doesn’t have a pair of shoes. She ran barefoot to finish in 21:56:04 seconds. Ulka Vaidya clocked 16:14:01 to clinch the top spot, while Sushma Patil timed 17:58:02 for the second place.

Asked why she chose to run the marathon, she said: “One of the secrets of my longevity is my sense of discipline. I work in rice fields and walk in the jungles to collect wood for cooking. So I didn’t have to actually practise much for the marathon. If I can start at this age anybody can,” she said. 

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