Delhi-based Sufiya Khan’s Guinness World Record is well-deserved as the runner managed to do what nobody had ever done before.
In this edition of inspiring stories, we talk about Sufiya Khan. She holds the world record for taking the shortest time to travel the golden quadrilateral — a network of the national highways connecting Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai — and she did it all on foot. She began her run from the national capital on December 16, 2020, and completed the circuit on April 6, 2021. And this is not even her first Guinness title!
Everything you need to know about Sufiya Khan
Khan is not the first person to quit a 9-5 job to follow her passion. Several others have done it, but how many have earned a Guinness World Record?
Sufiya Khan, 35, was born and brought up in Ajmer, Rajasthan. She worked as a Ground Staff Assistant at Delhi International Airport for 10 years before she quit her job in 2019 to pursue her passion for ultra running.
Ultrarunning is any foot race that is longer than the traditional marathon length of 42.195 kilometres. Various distances are covered in this sport competitively, from the shortest being an ultramarathon of 50 kilometres to over 100 kilometres.
Khan ran her first half marathon in Delhi in 2017, and that is when she discovered her passion for this sport. She took up running as a way to relax and de-stress herself. In 2018, she had her first major win when she broke a national record by covering the Golden Triangle of Delhi-Agra-Jaipur-Delhi, a distance of 700 km, in just 16 days, 1 hour and 27 minutes.
Since then, there’s been no looking back for her. Khan is a self-taught athlete, who is being supported by sportswear giants Under Armour. Even after having such massive titles to her name, Khan still doesn’t have a trainer.
But this is not her first Guinness title. In 2019, she won the title of being the fastest woman to run from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, taking a total time of 87 days, 2 hours, and 17 minutes.
How did Sufiya Khan prepare for the Golden Quadrilateral ultra run?
Covering the golden quadrilateral on foot is no child’s play.
Khan started to acclimatise and adjust herself 15 days before the run. As a part of her training, she focused on strength exercises to deal with the high mountains, the rugged terrain and the never-ending incline roads. She resorted to Yoga and Pranayama to make her lungs stronger and to be able to breathe better. Not just that, she worked hard on her mental fitness, to work on her determination and belief in herself.
In an interview with Health Shots, Khan said, “My biggest success is my ability to change myself, due to which I have gained a positive mindset.”
Guinness World Records quoted her saying, “No, I did not think of giving up in the entire attempt. Though there were very many injuries that happened during the run my full focus was on completing this attempt in minimum time.” Spoken like a true athlete.
Sufiya Khan’s dream ultra run is to circumnavigate the entire world on foot someday.