How this former marathon champion is inspiring people who are ‘Born2Run’

Delhi is gearing up for this year’s first half marathon, hosted by Dr Sunita Godara, former Indian marathon runner and national marathon champion. With a mission to inspire people to focus on fitness and live a healthy lifestyle, the marathon on January 27 (Sunday) will start at Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium.

Talking about their aim Dr Godara, Race Director at Born2Run reminisces, “When I was going for international marathon, I did not get any help form my country. Now, 30 years down the line, after winning maximum races and creating records, I thought of giving some services to runners and become a helpline for them. That’s how I took up the initiative of Born2Run to promote health, fitness and the running culture. My motto is to promote running and make people fit. I believe if you are fit, you can take up any challenge in life. Fitter people create a fitter society.”

Speaking of the growth in participants in marathon, and more awareness among people via social causes, Dr Godara says, “When I started running marathons in 1980, there were only three women running marathons at the national level, but now I have found 55 national level top women marathon runners. With professionalism and lots of organisers coming in this has changed, social causes have also popularised marathon.”

“In Born2Run, we have both competitive and fun marathons. All registered participants are eligible to get flight tickets to London, New York, or Dubai via a lucky draw, and will also get family passes. People interested in taking part on the spot can also get registered with a minimal amount for the 1km run,” explained Dr Gdara who was the Olympic Torch Bearer/Escort Runner at the Atlanta Olympics 1996.

The marathon starts at 6 am and will go on till 9 am. The race categories are 5 km, 10 km, and 21.1 km, with a BIB Expo on January 25 – 26. The registration for the marathon is open till January 20, Sunday. The organisers of the event expect around 4000 runners approximately.

Having won medals in the Penang and Kedah marathons, a gold at the 1992 Asian Marathon Championship, Sunita Godara holds the record of running the maximum marathons run by an Indian.

25 running clubs have associated with us from Delhi NCR, informed Dr Godara, “Now, marathon is the most popular event where the whole family can take part. If one person in the family is running for 21km, someone is running for 10km and maybe the children are running for 5km or 1km. The scenario has changed from 30 years ago while I was a champion. Now everyone wants to run a marathon — people start with 1km or 5km then gradually switch over to 21km ie half marathon, and then every runner has a dream to finish the official distance of a full marathon which is 42 km. I’ve seen many people who start running for social causes, switch over to competitive ones.”

Half and full marathon runners must be 18+, but there’s no age limit. Whereas for mini marathon it 10km, one must be of 15 years of age at least.

The vision of Born2Run is to establish a sustainable, community focused pan-India running event, encouraging athletes and amateur runners to lead healthy lifestyles and further improve their personal fitness through running. Born2Run strives to live by the three Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations:

1) Clean water and sanitation
2) Gender equality
3) Good health and well-being