Hexaware DRHM 2020, Newsletter: Runner Profile

Dr. Vijayashree Raghavan

To treat the ill to the best of ones ability, to preserve a patient’s privacy, to teach the secrets of medicine to the next generation and so on goes the Hippocratic Oath of Doctors.  “I will lead being an example” added a doctor I know…. read on..

“Every woman after 40 years irrespective of the menopausal status should spend a solid  1 to 2 hrs for themselves indulging in intense physical exercises, including cardio workout like running/ brisk walking/swimming or cycling and mandatory twice weekly weight training…this with mindful eating of proper simple easily digestible nutritious food…definitely will prevent post menopausal complications, cardiac complications, osteoporosis, weight gain and also maintains emotional & mental integrity for a successful personal, professional and family life” says Doctor Viji, a workaholic doctor, an inspiring mother, a blessing of a wife and friend to treasure. She is the flashing smile of the Bessie dreamers.

If you want to know more about Doctor Viji just remember Rudyard Kiplings words “fill that unforgiving minute with sixty seconds of distance run”, that is how she is, no half measures, no slack and no moment in life unattended or unfulfilled. 

A student of the KV in Indian Air Force Tambaram, she had her sights clearly set on a being a medical professional. She graduated and later completed her post graduation from Institutes of eminence in the field of medicine. As is the wont of the intellectually endowed, she had to learn more and most importantly teach many. So she dived into research and teaching, has many research publications, many students who are now doctors and numerous projects to her credit.  As Head of the Department of Pathology in Chettinad Hospital and Research Institute she looks like she is all set for more achievements.

She describes her siblings with pride, sportspersons all of them. A brother who is an avid marathoner, a sister who got sporting accolades in school and another brother a diving champion and now a marathoner. She fondly describes her husband, who is an inspiration to many a budding runner himself as a junior volleyball player who is now an avid runner himself. The pride of Doctor Viji is unmistakable when she announces that her children too have completed mini marathons.

Her own pursuit of fitness started with moving from Gym to Gym around 12 years back, bored with the routines there even when she worked out with intensity. Knowing her, her brother and husband were egging her to try running and she did once, surprising her self with the ease with which she completed a 5 KM run. Soon it was her first event, a 10 KM run between VGP and Sholinganallur, which she completed in 1 hour and 4 minutes. The running high set in and then there was no stopping her or so it seemed. 


The outdoors became her preferred places for workouts and soon it was the year 2015 and the structured training for DRHM with Bessie dreamers. But the call of duty beckoned and she had to miss the race. But the running did not stop, there were many 10 k runs she completed there on. Her first 21 k run in the Chennai Marathon while commendable at 2:46 put her out of action for 6 months with stress fractures. But the tenacity prevailed and she sprung back to action and now has many runs including a full marathon which she did hand in hand with her husband in 2018. 

Her routine of the day will make a normal person dizzy. With an unfailing smile, she is up at 3:40 AM, has cooked by 4:40, will have 90 minute sessions with QAD or would finish her run target for the day, leave at 7:30 AM for work and back home at 7PM after a gruelling day at work. As the day draws to a close, she has taught,  has updated herself on molecular pathology, has attended to cancer patients a particularly traumatic experience and also has dome something for her own venture. Never has a minute filled itself up with so much life. She manages the life in all its toughness, but when she had to disembark after boarding a plane she was disappointed. She was leaving to Ooty with her friends to run the ultra marathon and she received a call from work to return immediately.

If that is not full enough, January 2020 brought the The COVID 19 and our hero had to find new reserves of strength. She has been attending to at least 25 or 30 COVID patients every day for many months now. Now here is an awakening for all of us, during all this, she continues to be the example. She was running, even if it is in the small terrace and even if it means numerous dizzying circles. 100, 160, 100, 140 these are the number of kilometres she ran on her terrace of 26 meters in April, May, June and July respectively. Soon she will complete a 21 k on her terrace. 

She loves the times she spends with her friends of Bessie Dreamers, and has some favourites too. She actively participates in the social initiatives of Bessie dreamers and feels very fulfilled when she does so.

Listen to her advice about taking care of yourself during these trying times. Utmost care in terms of social distancing, wearing a mask and also washing your hands. As she is in everything else, she leads as an example here too…

Best of wishes for her….

-Rajagopal Sastry
Dream Runners