Running is a suitable form of exercise for everyone from adults to children and even the older population. However, while most people are aware that running regularly can keep them happy and healthy, not many follow it. Now, communities have come together to motivate people to explore the city by running through its streets.
A great start to this was Dhaka Half Marathon 2018, held on March 2, 2018. This event was organised by two initiatives dedicated to running; Dhaka Run Lords and Thousand Miles Expeditions, Bangladesh. It consisted of a 21.1 kilometre half-marathon and a seven-kilometre mini-marathon from Hatirjheel with over 600 amateur and professional runners from Bangladesh and beyond. The BD Runners community was affiliated with this event. The marathon was an uplifting experience for the participants and spectators alike.
The team behind this event shares with Star Youth, The Daily Star, how running can bring positive changes to people's lives.
Speaking about the health benefits of running, event organiser Mohammed Asaduzzaman says, “Working out makes a massive difference in our day's routine and productivity. Although it is challenging, running can boost our energy levels, build our confidence, and let us step out of our comfort zones.”
With any marathon or long-distance task, not only is physical training crucial, but, it is also important to mentally prepare for the gruelling number of kilometres. Asaduzzaman says, “Some runners bring a meditative practice to their movements, watching their strides, applying breathing strategies and calculating in their heads to stay focused.” On the other hand, Imtiaz Ilahi, another organiser of Dhaka Half Marathon who is a passionate runner himself, explains that having a sociable atmosphere where runners can come from different places and backgrounds and still be part of a community also helps in elevating people's motivation to run.
Many runners commonly stress about injuries, but thankfully, there are numerous ways to prevent them. “Don't go overboard with your workouts, make sure your running shoes feel comfortable, and amend your schedule if you need more sleep or to take care of yourself,” says Asaduzzaman.
Furthermore, many people in Bangladesh in particular still hold negative views about women who are interested in running. “We aim to bring in a social change and motivate more women to take part in intense running, because they are absolutely capable,” says Imtiaz, who was overwhelmed by the number of female runners in this marathon.
Moving forward, the organisers intend to make Dhaka Half Marathon a bigger and an annual event that everyone can look forward to. As words of motivation for anyone who wants to take up running, Imtiaz says, “Running is a natural ability, so people just need to get out on the streets, explore their strengths and weaknesses, and take steps for better fitness.”