Marathon Success Story with Dipti Pandya

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In this podcast episode we bring you a marathon success story as we speak with Academy member Dipti Pandya, a radiologist and mother of two, who just completed the Disney Dopey Challenge.

You will hear about the setbacks she faced during her training, including a cancer diagnosis, how she finds time to train, and what it was like to cross the finish line of her first marathon.


Interview with Dipti Pandya

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Dipti Pandya M.D. is a radiologist who lives with her husband and two kids in New Jersey. She loves running (of course!), reading, travel, and Disney! She started running in 2018 and found the MTA Podcast. She’s been an Academy member for three years and has worked with MTA Coach Lynn and Coach Athena.

In 2021 she was diagnosed with breast cancer (at the age of 41) and underwent a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction surgery. Her fitness base enabled her to recover well from surgery and seven months later she ran her first marathon as part of the Disney Dopey Challenge.

The Dopey Challenge:
During the Run Disney Marathon Weekend in Orlando, Florida, you must run a 5k, 10k, half marathon, and marathon on 4 consecutive days. That’s 48.6 miles total! Congratulations to Dipti on running so strong!

Training Tips for Dopey Challenge

When I’ve designed training plans for runners taking on the Dopey Challenge there are a few things that I encourage.

  1. Build up to being able to run back to back days. Like Dipti mentioned she was in the habit of running 5 days per week.
  2. Include back to back long runs every other week. For example, on the peak training week before going into a 3 week taper I have runners do the following: Thurs- 3 miles easy, Fri- 3-4 miles easy, Sat- 10 miles easy, Sun- 20 miles easy. This will help your body adapt to running with less recovery and can be a practice run-through before race week.
  3. Practice your gear choices (including any costumes) and fueling/nutrition in advance. This will help you feel more confident going in and reduce the amount of discomfort at having some kind of malfunction.
  4. Have fun! Of course you can run these races for a PR but the runners happiest with their experience stay relaxed and soak in the fun.

More thoughts about the Dopey Challenge . . .

2 Responses to Marathon Success Story with Dipti Pandya

  1. Ami Kulkarni February 2, 2022 at 8:40 am #

    This was probably my favorite podcast episode! Dipti is such an inspiration — I loved her honesty in describing her setbacks with cancer and marathon training. She is realistic, encouraging, and hopeful — something we as runners relate to completely. By the end of the episode, I found myself rooting for her and lately use her as inspiration when I have “blah” moments in getting out the door. Keep going, Dipti!! You are so strong 💪🏽

    • Angie Spencer February 3, 2022 at 11:12 am #

      Thank you for the kind feedback Ami 🙂 We’re so glad that you were inspired and encouraged by hearing Dipti’s story!

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