Running From Kashmir To Kanyakumari In 85 Days, Rajasthan’s Sufiya Wants To Spread Humanity And Hope
- IWB Post
- April 20, 2019
With the aim to spread humanity and peace, Rajasthan’s Sufiya will be running a marathon from Kashmir To Kanyakumari in 85 Days, covering 4,000 kilometers. In April last year, Sufiya covered almost 720 Kms in 16 days becoming the first and fastest female athlete to travel on the Great Indian Golden Triangle on foot. Working in the aviation industry, she recently quit her job after her company denied to grant her leave for the marathon.
In a recent chat with SheThePeople.tv, she shared why she is passionate about running, how one can make running a part of their lifestyle and how it allows women to lead a stress-free life.
On what inspires her
“I believe that running is the best way to share our beliefs and emotions with people. Getting to explore new places, reaching out to new faces, seeing the world from close quarters also inspires me. Running for a cause makes it more impactful. If we can spread and share the meaningful changes we want to see in society, with a loving heart, I believe it will definitely leave a mark. There is no better way to do that.
For me running is finding the best in everything. Spreading the message of humanity.
The expedition will start from Srinagar on April 21. I will run through most of the major cities on the route.”
On her journey so far
“After the completion of my graduation my mother wanted me to take up a government job. But I choose the aviation sector and joined a private airline. Hectic working hours had kept me away from me-time. Life was running like a machine and I was getting weak – physically and mentally. Since there was no time for a regular fitness regime, I started running every day for a good 15 minutes. Soon the motivation to take part in running events grew inside me and I got some platforms to participate and even won some.
So, the confidence for long distance running kept growing steadily. When I run I am myself and get the freedom to be myself. But running marathons or winning was not only my aim. So I decided to run for what I want to share with the people I met.
Last year, I ran on the famous Indian Golden Triangle Road for a cause which was called ‘Run for Humanity’. It secured a place in India Book of Records as well. During that journey, I faced many challenges related to health, weather, traffic, and bad road conditions and sledging as well. However, it was one of the greatest experiences for me. That journey strengthened me not only physically but mentally as well. After that I am confident enough to face any situation in life.
My soon to be husband, an ultra-endurance cyclist and a trainer, helps me build strength and stamina through core workout. Also, yoga and meditation keep me strong and it releases stress as a recovery exercise.”
On women making running a part of their lifestyle
“Maintaining a gym culture is not easy for everyone. Some can’t go because they are expensive, and sometimes it’s an office, work or family with small kids to take care that keeps women occupied. I think women who are working or have a big family find it more difficult to join a gym or any other fitness class. We need almost 2 to 3 hours for such kind of activities. As women, we have lots of responsibilities at home. But if we run, jog or walk every day and maintain a good diet the need to join any gym is not compulsory.
Running makes you positive about life. It not only helps you be healthier but keeps you strong. Gives you confident. Makes you a good decision maker, makes you more accountable in everyday situations.”
On moments when she realized that people are inspired because of her
“Every time someone greets me and says “Sufiya, you are my inspiration. You motivated me to run for a healthy life.” What could be more amazing if someone takes a step towards a healthy and happy life just because of you?”
On how safe India is for a woman who runs solo
“The running community is increasing day-by-day and on almost every weekend there are some running or fitness challenges happening in metro cities. We see huge participation of women in these events. So the world is changing and is ready for a healthy start.
Many people say India is not safe for female runners but as an experienced marathoner, I’d say we claim the roads, making it safe on our own. We can avoid any problems if we follow proper safety measures. Even, I have faced many challenges when I was running the Golden Triangle but it seemed easier with safety choices in mind.”
On safety measures women should keep in mind
“Never run late night or in the dark. Be an early bird, hit the road early for a comfortable run. Wear proper and comfortable shoes especially when running solo. Always carry a phone and ID card with you so that in worst case scenarios you can call for help or some passer-by can contact your loved ones in the hour of need.”
On how running strengthens women
“For a woman, running on a regular basis is very important. Running makes you live a stress-free life. Why should we be always encouraging women for a run? Because, apart from fitness and fight depression, she can avoid addictions to harmful substances and it will also keep them safe from many lifestyle diseases like blood pressure, diabetes etc.
I think there is no age barrier to start anything. We have so many living examples of women who are professional and highly active in their 60’s or 70’s. State government and local sports events organizers should come forward to encourage women to take part in fitness activities especially those who are homemakers.”
On her advice to girls who aspire to take up running as a profession or a cause
“I will advise them to aim for something bigger than only running. Run for what you believe in. Being a woman if running is my passion and I want to make it my profession or career, nothing is better than that. Choose your passion as your profession, and create a wind of change in society.”