India's Sufiya Sufi to run around Qatar in 35-40 hrs

Story by  Nakul Shivani | Posted by  Aasha Khosa | Date 28-12-2022
Sufiya Sufi Khan
Sufiya Sufi Khan


Nakul Shivani/ New Delhi

Sufiya Sufi  - ultra-runner, role-model, the woman who gave up her cushy yet “boring” job at the Delhi airport to make it to the Guinness Book of records is embarking on her next ambitious project – run non-stop across Qatar.

The host of the FIFA world cup is the immediate goal. The ultimate target, however, is to “circumnavigate the globe”.

But before we get Sufiya to tell us a bit about her next targets as a runner, let us know the woman.

35-year-old Sufiya hails from Ajmer. She comes from a family where no one had anything much to do with sports. Neither was she passionate about sports as a child. It was her boring and tedious job at the Delhi airport with different airlines that pushed her to do something out of the box.

In 2017 she quit her job. “I was getting bored. The job was taking me nowhere. I wanted to do something different to live life on my terms,” she says.

To disrupt her life, she started running - First in the neighbourhood park. “I saw that running was giving me a kick. It made my adrenaline rush. I was falling in love with life,” she says with a hearty laugh.

From running in parks Sufiya set new limits for herself by taking to ultra-running

From the daily short runs at the park, she moved to running outside over longer distances. “I wanted to test myself. So, I started participating in marathons,” she says. “Running became an addiction. It gave me positivity.”

“An addiction can open new gateways,” she says. Sufiya wanted to explore the country and spread a message of hope running across different sections in different conditions. “For me running was an opportunity to experience life.”

Once she made up her mind to run, and run like no one before her has in the country, Sufiya ate, slept, dreamt running. Once she started participating in marathons, there was no looking back. During the course of her journey, Sufiya has run from Srinagar to Kanyakumari, Manali to Leh, and the golden quadrilateral touching all the four metros.

In 2017 she tested herself by doing the golden triangle – Delhi-Agra-Jaipur and back to Delhi in 16 days. Spurred by the success of this run, Sufiya decided to set new benchmarks for herself.  

In 2020, she ran over 6000 kilometers in 110 days covering Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. She covered Kashmir to Kanyakumari in 87 days, Manali to Leh in 6 days. All these runs got her into the Guinness Book of Records.

Sufiya Sufi with her world record certificates

“Ultra-running is more about mental conditioning than physical endurance,” she says. “You have to remain positive.”

It is this positivity that is now taking her to Qatar, where she will attempt to run 200 kms in 35-40 hours. For this she is currently practicing 6-days a week. “I run about 35-40 kms every day,” says Sufiya who survives on dry fruits, fruits and lots of liquids during training sessions.

Her training sessions include long distance running, yoga and special workouts for knee strengthening. “This will be the first time I will be attempting to run such a long distance non-stop. Its not just stamina I need, my knees need to be strong, I should be mentally in top gear.”

She will be going to Qatar and running continuously without a break. Qatar was chosen as a destination by her partner Vikas, who himself is a national-level cyclist. “I wanted a new challenge after completing Manali to Leh. Qatar looked a good choice,” she says. The Arab nation will be a testing ground for her before she embarks on her challenge to run across the seven emirates of the UAE.

“Qatar and UAE will give me the right direction before I embark on my big run across the globe in 2024,” she says

"I run for Humanity Oneness Peace Equality - HOPE" - Sufiya Sufi 

Sufiya, will run across different continents, over 30,000 kms connecting India, Australia, Canada, USA, Alaska and Russia starting end of 2024.

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If she does manage to finish this run, she would have set a new benchmark for runners in the country. “Running is a lifestyle, its not just about fitness, she says. “I want to explore the world and spread HOPE – Humanity Oneness Peace and Equality – with my running,” Sufiya adds before jogging off on the long road in Ajmer which will eventually take her to the run across the globe one day, and inspire even more girls and women to live “life 100 per cent”, as she puts it.