MARATHON, a running distance equivalent to 42.2km or 26.2 miles, is considered one of the toughest feats of human endurance. This is the reason that only one per cent of the running community around the world ever completes this challenging distance.

Historically, 42.2km was a distance run by a person carrying the king’s message across two cities of Greece, one named Marathon. It remains a dream come true for athletes to cross that finish line because it is a journey of painful training, sweat, blood, tears, compromises and injuries, and carries many lessons for the individuals who experience it.

Practically speaking, marathon is as much a race with one’s own self as it is with the competitors. It is about believing that even the seemingly impossible journeys can be made possible.

In Pakistan, especially in Karachi, running as a sport is gaining popularity. Groups and clubs are slowly gaining strength and educating the masses regarding the science behind this sport. Also, round the year, several events are sponsored that allow the community to get the feel of international events in our own backyard. Still running is in its initial days here and we are still scratching the surface of something that can go massive. Along with opportunities for this sport, challenges are also real. The availability of proper gear, accessories and nutritional supplements still remains a complex and costly process as individuals have to import such things on their own.

It is true that running a marathon is a lifetime’s experience for any runner. It is a very daunting challenge considering the hot and humid weather Karachi has for most of the year. The training under these conditions does have a major impact on the body, but in 2021 a lot of people in the running community embraced this challenge.

Like much else, it helps to surround oneself with positive and like-minded people who may support and encourage others to keep moving forward. The journey continues and it will be great to put Pakistan on the global marathon map.

Muhammad Jawwad Paracha
Karachi

Published in Dawn, February 20th, 2022

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