Run, Roshni, run!



October 2016

Read Roshni Rai’s inspiring and invigorating tale of how she became one of the country’s handful of ultra marathon runners despite not having been an athlete in school

Roshni Rai is an advocate, ultra marathon runner, author and the founder of ‘Run with Roshni Foundation’. She is the Goodwill Ambassador of Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon from India.  Roshni Rai is an advocate, ultra marathon runner, author and the founder of ‘Run with Roshni Foundation’. She is the Goodwill Ambassador of Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon from India.

My name is Roshni Rai. I come from a small village known as Pedong in the district of Darjeeling. My village is hemmed in by the awe-inspiring mountains of the Himalayas. I grew up among the tall deodars, revelled in the enchanting sight of rhododendrons, and paid daily homage to the majestic Mount Kanchanjunga. I was fortunate to belong to a close-knit family with loving parents. I have one older and younger brother and an adopted sister. Life was blissful.

And then I fell in love. He was from an another community. My mother had warned me right from the start that his family would not accept me, and that I was not to come crying to her when he broke it up. When my boyfriend’s family announced his marriage to someone else, life as I knew it came to an end. I was broken-hearted. Externally, I pretended that it had not affected me, and put on a brave face, but every day I found myself sinking deeper and deeper into depression.

One cold winter morning, I woke up at 4 am, grief stricken. On an impulse, I went out into the freezing cold and began to run. I was crying and running, crying and running, until after a while, the crying stopped. I went back home and noticed that for the first time in days, I felt hungry. That night I went to bed tired and had a good night’s sleep. The next morning, I woke up early, put on my running shoes and sped through the silent sleeping streets. I literally ran my way to healing.

In the meanwhile, I was also working in the Kalimpong court as a lawyer. Like most people, I had no clue as to what my calling was. But in school, I had been a keen debater and was good at elocution too. People told me I would be a good lawyer, and I took them at their word. But my work was going nowhere, and it was still hard to face people after the heartbreak.

What better place to lose myself than in the populous city of
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