As I sit back and sip my favourite coffee and think about the results of yet another Kalimpong half marathon that we just got done with, I cannot help but think how far I have come. I never thought that my passion for something could bring me to a point where I would be declared as an ambassador of Tenzing-Hillary Everest Marathon (THEM) 2016 and that too to create awareness about my own foundation!
Hi, I am Roshni Rai, lawyer by qualification but a runner by heart!
Ever wondered that perhaps a heartbreak can be amongst the best things that can ever happen to you? I did not know back then if running would help. One fine morning in 2003, I just got up from bed and went out for a run. I was crying and running, crying and running and at some point I just stopped crying and I was running. And I haven’t stopped since then. I left my village Pedong in Darjeeling and came to Mumbai in 2004 to complete my LLM (Masters in Law). It was in Mumbai in 2007 that I ran my first half marathon. Over the last 9 years, despite my career as a lawyer, I’ve run more than 40 races including half marathons, marathons, ultra marathons of 50km, 75km, Comrades Marathon of 89km in South Africa and the longest one being the 100 km Bangalore ultra marathon.
Some instances can leave a mark on us. One fine evening as I sat near Nariman Point enjoying the cool breeze yet yearning for the unadulterated mountain air of Pedong, a few local boys taunted on my appearance and referenced it to that of a Chinese. I remember vaguely defending myself, but it got me to realize that I always felt uncomfortable introducing myself in public. Most people would think I was from China or Japan or Nepal. That moment, I knew I wanted to do something to change the identity crisis we gorkhas faced. I wanted people to know that we were as much Indian as anybody else and that Gorkha wasn’t a synonym to watchman.
Thus was born “Run with Roshni” foundation (RWRF) in August 2011. The vision of the foundation is to find and nurture talented runners from the Gorkha community to represent the country in international marathons and Olympic Games. We organize Kalimpong half marathon every year to identify six local runners who get sponsored to run the Mumbai marathon. I hope in the near future one of them will win us an Olympic medal.
I released my first book “From Mountain to the Ocean” earlier this year.
I am leaving for Kathmandu tomorrow to run the THEM. I am sure this new journey will help me and RWRF grow. And you never know, may be the Everest Marathon is the beginning of my second book 😉
– As told by Roshni Rai
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