With almost 40,000 people running the Mumbai Marathon this year, there is no dearth of inspiring stories to keep you going during this last leg of training. Meet 27 years old Anisha Kundu who will be running for the second year to raise funds for the mentally challenged. We spoke to her about what inspired her to run.
My intention is to raise funds for a building that they desperately need to be able to provide more services and bring smiles to children’s faces.
For how many years have you been running the Mumbai marathon?
I ran my first half marathon last year was the first year, which also happens to be the first time I participated in the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon. Like last year, I'm running the half marathon again this time around. I've also done a couple of 10 Km runs like the DNA Women's run and Run Powai Run.
What is your reason to run?A corporate charity event made me start running. However, I've always been athletic and involved in sports right from when I was a child, and this is a good way to keep fit when you're working and in a busy city like Mumbai. I actively run for MENTAID, A Kolkata-based NGO for mentally challenged children and young individuals. My brother Tarun who has Down's Syndrome is the inspiration behind MENTAID, which my parents started to be able to help more children and young adults. My intention is to raise funds for a building that they desperately need to be able to provide more services and bring smiles to children's faces. You can support my cause here.
Why do you think the Mumbai marathon is a good platform for raising awareness about your cause?
United Way of Mumbai, the charity partner for the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon does a great job in creating a platform for one to be able to raise awareness and funds for a particular cause. Last year, I registered MENTAID as a NGO benficiary and got 14 other people to run with me in support of the cause. We raised Rs. 3.94 lakhs collectively. This year we have 19 people running the half marathon and three people doing the Dream Run supporting MENTAID and raising funds. Wearing MENTAID T-shirts on the day of the race and online donation pages also helps create awareness and raise the visibility for the mentally challenged, whom most people tend to neglect.
Have you been able to inspire your friends and family to join in?
Yes, I have quite a few friends and family members running the half marathon and Dream Run after I've shared my thoughts. I believe passionately in this cause and I think that genuinely comes through when I talk to people. And if they can't run, they support us in their own way.
How have you trained for the marathon?
This year I did some long road runs and mixed it up with some speed and tempo runs along with core and leg exercises at the gym. Crossfit was an addition to this year's training which has definitely been interesting.
Any challenges you faced while training?
I have a weak ankle which gave way in December, so I had to rest it for a couple of weeks hampering my training schedule. But other than that, it’s been smooth.
Complete the sentence - Running the marathon has taught me....that it can bring a city together.If your words could inspire other Mumbaikars to run, what would you like to say to them?
BELIEVE. Cause when you do, nothing is impossible.
Share this story with everyone who you think needs a little inspiration, that slight nudge, that first push in the right direction. If you are running the Mumbai Marathon this year, tell us your Reason To Run here and inspire Mumbai. You can also email us at [email protected]Know friends who are running, share their stories too and they could get featured on MumbaiMag.com.