September 22, 2020

Anu Vaidyanathan – on being a triathlete, writer, mum and an entrepreneur

Anu Vaidyanathan is a professional athlete and author of the book ‘Anywhere but home’. She is currently busy with book launches, promotions and talking about fitness across the country.

Most mums thankfully are now embracing fitness as a lifestyle or part of their daily routine. A few take it further to participate in marathons, races or competitions to find new meanings to phrases like ‘living life to the fullest’. Anu however is one of those rare individuals who dwells in the word of ‘fitness’ and takes it to the next level of endurance fitness.

Anu final final

Anu Vaidyanathan is the first Asian to have competed in Ultraman Canada triathlon having a 10km swim, 420km bike and an 84.4km run. She backed this up with Ironman Canada, three weeks later, becoming the only athlete to do so in the history of the race.

Triathlon is an arduous sport involving swimming, cycling and running. Anu specializes in the half- Ironman (1.9K swim, 90K bike, 21.2K run) and Ironman length (3.8K swim, 180K bike, 42.2K run) events, which are amongst the most difficult, single-day endurance events in the world.

Having competed all over the world, Anu Vaidyanathan is also the only Indian triathlete to have qualified for the 70.3 Half-Ironman World Championship.

Anu has also been a blogger, writer and an entrepreneur too. In case we forgot to mention she is a mum too. Right from comments to remarks on how women should be confined to only marriage and family, Anu has faced it all.

Besides being an award-winning athlete, Anu is an entrepreneur, a speaker on sports, entrepreneurship and leadership.

Sharing her journey with Mums and stories, she talks on managing various roles in life.

“I disliked sport as a kid. I thought it was a dumb waste of time, with so many more interesting things to do – like solving algebra homework or reading literature or learning history. That being said, our childhood was very active. We biked to school (me grudgingly), ran around in the evenings (less grudgingly) and climbed trees (which I loved).

My parents never interfered – they treated us like adults and gave us our space. Authority can only be respected when there is space, so when they chided us, we took them seriously.

I tend to think that Indian culture allows mothers a lot of liberty and domestic support from the grandparents. Anyone complaining in urban India should only do so if they have no childcare and a crazy husband. Added to this, being ‘confined is a state of the mind’.

That being said, a discouraging or unsupportive spouse can cause a mom to feel isolated, for sure. I see this lot and so, I don’t deny it. I enjoy motherhood. It has made me even more flexible in my thought process. I enjoy cooking, taking care of the little things and making a home. It’s a middle-class privilege and I don’t take it lightly. I cannot say I ever felt confined by motherhood. If anything, in my case, it has set me free.

I think most women are unkind to themselves and by a transfer of energy to other women. We need to cut that out! Individually, I only got so far. It was all the women in my family who came together to encourage me and push me further. It was all the men in my family who let their women be what they wanted to be without questioning every thing. Men and women, people, set boundaries for themselves. I think that is a little dangerous if one wants to truly grow.

I think active parents are the first clue any kid picks up when it comes to sport. If the parents are glued to the television or their phone, there is not a huge chance that a TED talk will inspire a kid to go running.

Start with small, achievable goals. Think about what sport or any other outlet means to you. Understand whether it brings you joy. It is not necessary that everyone runs a marathon to be fit. One has to be happy doing what they do – that is the key to success. Added to this, don’t sit around and ask for permission. Be fair as a partner and create time for yourself if you can.


I don’t think of myself as any of the labels of being a mum or a wife or daughter. I believe it is easiest to take your life lightly, to focus on the small victories and keep moving forward.

It is also true that no matter how many years pass, how fast or how slow I feel or am, how circumstances change or stay the same, sport and fitness is going to be part of my life, no matter what.”

We are glad to have featured one of the most interesting mums on our space. Wishing Anu the very best in life and hoping many more women get inspired.


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