“It is all about the mindset by which you approach sports. Indians have the potential to achieve a lot and can reap the rewards of their physical capabilities.”
Sufiya Sufi ‘Runner’ has gone and done it again. The ace long-distance runner has broken a Guinness Record by completing the quickest run by a female of the famous Golden Quadrilateral of India. The Golden Quadrilateral encompasses a 6002km distance between Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Chennai. She did this in 110 days, 23 hours and about 24 minutes and this has been officially recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records. Her run began on 16th December 2020 and concluded on April 6 2021.
In an exclusive interview with The Bridge, Sufiya opens up on the issues plaguing Indian long-distance runners and especially marathon events. Her focal point is that overcoming mental obstacles is 50% of the battle won. She herself was hospitalised for conditions such as dehydration along with having other injuries caused by running regularly. But as per her experience, “it boils down to the comeback you make in your mind and how badly you want to achieve something.” Running is a continuous process of failure and success, something which only the strongest minds can overcome.
When asked about spreading the love of running among girls, Sufiya states that “I aim to target the very mental stigmas that hold girls back.” Her constant emphasise is on changing the lives of people by ensuring that they do not have any room for excuses. This includes constant training, focus on strength building regular awareness programs and other modes of practical communication. Her approach to this is something she wishes to apply in the future for a greater cause.
On improving her PB times, she began running in her local park for around 2-3km and found she actually enjoyed it. This led to a chain reaction where she began competing in marathons and ultimately took part in ultimate marathons. Her entire training and work towards becoming an Ultimate marathon Runner has been undertaken by her personally. She credits her coach Rajender Ji for guiding her as well and being a mentor. But her experience is unique due to its spontaneous nature and the continual effort that she managed to put in. “Every race has its own challenges and this is exactly what I used to build upon and learn for myself”.
It is heartening to see such achievements in India with records being broken on a regular basis. There is much to anticipate from individuals such as Sufiya Sufi who is ‘Running’ her way to glory and societal change, step by step.