Almora : Reeti Sahai, a 44-year-old resident of Ranikhet, has become the first from Uttarakhand and among a handful in India to complete all six of the World Marathon Majors (WMM) -- Boston, Berlin, New York, Chicago, London and Tokyo. WMM is a championship-style competition for marathon runners that began in 2006. Sahai has been awarded the 'Six Star Medal', resembling all the six marathons, for achieving the feat.
There were only six women from India to have completed the achievement, but after the recently held Tokyo marathon on March 5, the number of achievers has now gone up to 23, including Sahai. An entrepreneur and the daughter of a retired army officer, Sahai started running in marathons at the age of 40 in 2018.
Sahai's journey to completing the six World Marathon Majors began with the Berlin Marathon in September 2018. She went on to participate in the Boston Marathon and the New York Marathon in April and November 2019, respectively. Sahai was on track to complete the six marathons until the Covid-19 pandemic struck in 2020. Due to the pandemic, no marathons were held for two years. Finally, when the pandemic situation normalized, she participated in her fourth marathon in London in October 2022, in which she hit her personal best timing of 3 hours and 37 minutes. She participated in her fifth marathon of the series in Chicago in the same week after the London Marathon.
Sahai concluded her six marathons with the one in Tokyo this year, which she described as "the most difficult of all." "Tokyo marathon had strict Covid protocols in place as we were not allowed to carry even our water bottles but to take halts to drink water on the route, which affected the tempo. But I was happy to complete it successfully and get my name in the exclusive list of achievers," she said.
Sahai owes her achievement to her family, including her parents and husband, who have always encouraged her since she started running as a workout in 2010. Her father, Lt Gen Mohan Bhandari (retd), while terming her feat as "a moment of pride for the family and the state", said, "We hope her achievement will encourage more girls from the state and the country to achieve their dreams without any apprehensions. If she can do it at the age of 44, others can too."
Sahai's achievement is particularly noteworthy as it was completed at the age of 44, proving that age is just a number when it comes to achieving one's dreams. Her next goal is to participate in the Comrades Marathon in South Africa, which is the longest in the world with a distance of 90 km.
Her journey is an inspiration to all those who want to achieve their dreams, regardless of their age or background. Her feat proves that with hard work, dedication, and the support of family and loved ones, anything is possible. Sahai's achievement will undoubtedly encourage more people, especially women, to take up running and pursue their dreams with confidence and courage.