Guinness Record Holder Sufiya Sufi 'Excited' For Her TATA Mumbai Marathon Debut

Guinness Record Holder Sufiya Sufi 'Excited' For Her TATA Mumbai Marathon Debut

Sufiya Sufi holds the Guinness World Record for becoming the fastest female runner to complete 4000 kms (87 days).

Haridev PushparajUpdated: Monday, January 15, 2024, 12:30 PM IST
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Sufiya Sufi | File Pic

As we build up to the Tata Mumbai Marathon 2024, the highly accomplished ultra runner Sufiya Sufi, who has five Guinness World Records and also completed the 4000km Trans India challenge in 2019 in just 87 days, had a tete-a-tete with Free Press Journal.

Here's the excerpts from the interview with Sufiya Sufi:

Q. What are your thoughts and expectations from the Tata Mumbai Marathon?

A. This will be my first time of running the Tata Mumbai Marathon. I supposed to participate last year but due to one of my Qatar Expedition during the same time, I could not. But this time, I am coming for Marathon and I am quite excited for this.

I have heard from my fellow runners that the atmosphere and energy during the marathon are unparalleled, with thousands of enthusiastic participants and spectators coming together to celebrate the spirit of running.

Q. Since you are an ultra-distance runner, how are you training for the Mumbai marathon?

 A. As an ultra-distance runner, my training remains a combination of endurance, speed work, and mental preparation. Given the unique challenges of ultra distances, my training plan involves progressively longer runs, speed work sessions, including intervals, building up to distances that go beyond the standard marathon length. Core strength and muscle conditioning and strength training is a crucial aspect of my regimen.

Sufiya Sufi

Sufiya Sufi | File Pic

Q. Tell me a little about the 4000km Trans India challenge you completed in 2019?

A. In 2019, I undertook the monumental 4000km Trans India challenge, a journey that remains etched in my memory as an incredible test of endurance and determination.

This 4000KM Trans India Challenge or K2K Challenge (Kashmir to Kanyakumari) was a world record attempt for Guinness World Records. I had done this challenge in 2019. I completed that 4000km run in 87 days and became the fastest female to done so. This was my first across country run.

Q. How did the Trans India challenge change you as a runner and a person?

A. Completing this challenge meant a lot more than just being physically strong. It was not just about going a long distance; it was like a big test of how tough people can be.

Every day, I had to deal with going through huge distances, dealing with crazy weather, and going through all sorts of different places. It was like a big challenge for both my body and my mind. The support I got from the people along the route was invaluable. 

Sufiya Sufi

Sufiya Sufi | File Pic

Q. What sort of challenges do you expect at the Mumbai Marathon?

A. As I told earlier, this is going to be my first participation in Mumbai Marathon still I anticipate a set of challenges at the Mumbai Marathon, as every marathon brings its own unique hurdles. One significant challenge could be the weather; Mumbai's climate can be unpredictable, and managing hydration and pacing becomes crucial.

Since the Mumbai Marathon is a big international event, there might be a lot of people running, and the crowded course could make it a bit tricky to move around.

Q. How did you get into ultra distance running, What inspired you?

A. Getting into ultra-distance running was a journey mix of personal curiosity and a desire to push my limits. It all started with a casual interest in running, gradually evolving into a fascination with the idea of covering longer and longer distances.

In 2017, when I was working in aviation and feeling tired of my daily routine. I decided to shake things up and chose running. 

Q. Is there a role model you have in world athletics?

A. I do not have a specific role model. But there are many incredible athletes whom I admire because of their dedication, perseverance, and sportsmanship. My running journey began as a response to the frustration of my corporate life so my motivation comes from within.

Q. How does it feel to have five Guinness World Records in your name? How did you get these records?

A. It is truly an incredible and humbling feeling to have these records associated with my name. Each record involved meticulous planning, rigorous training and most importantly, a mindset that embraces challenges.

Whether it was covering extreme distances (4000 km Trans India Challenge and 6000 km Golden Quadrilateral Challenge), setting speed records (Across Qatar 30 Hours Challenge and Manali-Leh 100 hours Challenge) or conquering unique terrains (Siachen-Kargil Challenge and Manali-Leh Challenge).

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