Excitement in the air as first women-only race held in Karachi's DHA

Published December 7, 2020
The women runners group with their coach Sohail Sardar. — Photo by writer
The women runners group with their coach Sohail Sardar. — Photo by writer
Women runners competing in the first all-women race in Karachi. — Photo by writer
Women runners competing in the first all-women race in Karachi. — Photo by writer

KARACHI: ‘Women Power Run’, the first-ever all women five-km race organised by the Born2Run Pakistan turned out to be an exciting start to a chilly Sunday morning for all the participants and those cheering them on.

It was still quite dark at 6am as participants started arriving in DHA Phase-8 where the race was to take place, from Ramada Creek to Savor and back, and started briskly pacing up and down the roads or warming up on the vacant plots ahead of the race. There were over 50 of them ranging from ages 13 up to 50 plus.

Dozens of women including teenage girls take part in five-km race

All have been lucky to be trained for free by Sohail Sardar, a lone runner until three years ago when he started free training for men, women and children just to join him and be a part of the race.

“Early morning is the best time to run. It helps begin your day well and it remains that way for the entire duration of the day,” the coach told Dawn.

“I have been training runners for so long now so I decided to motivate them further in their fitness journey by holding a competitive event with medals and prizes for them. I am doing everything without any sponsors,” he said before showing the gold plated medals and other consolation prizes and gifts he had set up on a table for the runners near the finish line.

The runners were also up for the challenge.

One of them, Shahrezad Samiuddin, who was there with her 13-year-old daughter, Dina, said she has been running for two years now.

“I used to walk before but then I ran into Sardar at a park where I used to go for walks. He was there motivating people to start running and I started running with his group regularly after that,” she said.

Another one, Ayesha, said that she started running because she wanted to lose weight and get fit. “And now I am into various sports including mixed martial arts and cycling,” she shared.

Isma Khan, about whom everyone was saying that she is like a bullet, said that she started running about two months ago. “I started running because I was tired of sitting at home during the Covid-19 lockdown. Now doing my personal best is more important for me than winning the competition,” she said.

Then as the race started, one got to see some really fast runners and several slow ones, too. Some of them were also slowing down a bit when they got tired in order to save energy and then pick up their pace again. Some had headphones on as they listened to music while they ran.

Faiza said she was listening to heavy metal and Mahnoor said that she was listening to some really fast music.

What was important was finishing the race actually, as Sardar pointed out. He even gave away the first consolation prize to the girl who finished last, Areeba. “Because my job is to motivate you to run and get better and better at it,” he said. “It’s my reward to see your enthusiasm and coming here and run,” he added.

The fastest runner, the one who won the race, was Haani Mazari, who said that she didn’t realise that she was ahead of everyone while running. “I was a little distracted and even made a wrong turn by mistake but then I was guided back to the correct course with no one before me so I assumed that maybe I was way at the end,” she laughed.

Meanwhile, the runner-up, Sidra Khalid Khan, said that she knew very well that she was second because she could see Haani up ahead. And the second runner-up, Shiza Saquib, said that she also knew that she was third because she had two others ahead of her in view.

Published in Dawn, December 7th, 2020

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