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Bengal's daughter runs Marathon Des Sables, hopes to see women take up running as a career, urges for govt support

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By Payal Mehta

New Delhi | June 9, 2023 2:40:19 AM IST
From starting her journey as an amateur runner a decade ago, to becoming the first Indian to successfully finish the Marathon Des Sables (MDS), Mahasweta Ghosh's life has come a long way.

As a 44-year-old woman, she holds the distinction of being the sole Indian female participant who completed this arduous marathon just last month. She will be competing for Berlin next.

The 37th edition of the iconic Marathon des Sables is considered one of the hardest and most challenging editions that concluded at Merzouga Dune in Morocco.

Participants in this marathon must be prepared to face harsh conditions, including terrains like sand dunes and rocky landscapes.

In MDS, there is no network, and no connectivity and every individual has to be self-sufficient and be ready to be self-sustained and carry their own food and baggage for the 7-day race.

"You carry your own food and race supplies, including sleeping surfaces, stoves, clothes, and everything they may need for those seven days, and carry them on backs during the race each day," Mahasweta said while speaking to ANI.

Blistered and battered but with an undeterred spirit, Ghosh said that she was inspired to run this marathon after she watched a series on Netflix called "Losers" but the actual race was a true test of body and mind.

"Training for such conditions is not restricted to the body; the mind needs to be unbroken along with the body, which battles heat, blisters, and more," she said.

But this was not an easy run for the technocrat who faced resistance from her family and was overweight in her younger days. She also had suffered a serious spinal injury that led to surgery.

Inspired by a friend to take up running in 2012 in a sheer bid to shed weight, it soon became a passion for Mahasweta.

Mahasweta has run over 50 races, including marathons both within India and overseas.

"I have completed over 50+ races, including 3 world majors, international marathons, ultra, and trail runs (a 75km desert run in Pokhran and a 100km solo run during the pandemic," Mahasweta said.

Apart from these Marathon, the financial aspect of participating in marathon was also a challenge with registration costs and preparation expenses amounting to lakhs of rupees.

Mahasweta appeals to the government for support and assistance, stating, "The cost of registration for such events runs into 3000+ euros and we need special kits and training. I am lucky to be working and having a job to look after these expenses as of now, but I will urge the government to come forth and encourage participation in such event,."

After completing a gruelling, 256 km long Marathon in seven days, this superwoman from India wants to dispel the myth that women can't achieve anything, especially after the age of 40.

What next for the ace runner, Mahasweta Ghosh with a smile said, "Preparing to run for Berlin next" she says with a smile. (ANI)

 
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