Race Against Time

Anirban 1

Meet Anirban Tarafdar, our Campaigner of the Week!

He’s challenged himself to complete a full marathon – the Hartford Full Marathon (in Hartford, Connecticut) in October 2014. That’s 26.2 miles of sheer determination and a whole lot of training going towards it. With his wife expecting to deliver their baby in July, this US-based marathoner has a tall order ahead of him. Currently juggling work and commuting with shared household duties, and making time for his family and fitness regime, Anirban Tarafdar is pushing his limits in a manner that has us awed.

Though he has been devoted to sports most of his life, etching out a regular timeslot for it has been a challenge. “Free time is hard to come by. Eleven years of working has made that apparent. Nowadays, whatever happens, I spend some time doing exercise unless my family needs me for something more important. I have programmed myself like that,” the 35-year-old shares. “I try to run 3-4 times a week and play tennis once a week. I use to play soccer on Friday late nights (11 p.m.) but had to stop because of my long runs over the weekend. I used to get hurt every now and then which hampered my running,” he explains.

Anirban’s association with marathons first began in 2005. “That’s when I first came to USA, to Tampa, Florida. I heard about a running group from a colleague and my interest was piqued. What inspired me was the human spirit to overcome the challenge of a long-distance run. During it, at some point the body gives up. Only those who continue to endure the pain and don’t quit reach the finish line. I think that is an amazing experience. I have run half marathons only but I am eager to experience the pain of 26 miles.” The marathoner has participated in 3 Half Marathons so far – two 10 kilometres and two 5 kilometres.

While following marathons, Anirban began to notice a trend – a lot of people would run to raise funds for a cause. “That gave me the idea. I had always wanted to do something for India. Since sport is my passion, I thought doing something for Indian sports would be perfect.”

“In the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, the Indian participants did not even have proper clothes for the opening ceremony march past. I heard the television commentator remark that there were only three participants from a country of billions. As an Indian, it felt quite insulting.”

During the 2012 Olympics, Anirban came across a Facebook post by Olympic Gold Quest and got to know about their work to support Indian sportspeople. “Apart from a handful of sports, most Indian athletes do not get the necessary recognition and facilities. This is why I donated to Shiva Keshavan’s campaign last year. And why I did my own campaign and did my best to raise more funds. I am thankful to my friends who felt the same and supported the cause of Indian sports.”

“India does have the talent. If proper facilities and opportunity are provided, India can bring more medals in a lot of disciplines. If China can win so many medals in the Olympic,s India should be able to do so too. India should concentrate on Olympic sports. For example, swimming: if we have one champion swimmer he/she may participate in 4-5 events which will bring 4-5 medals. India should concentrate on events of these kinds to increase the medal count.”

Here’s to a brighter future for Indian sports. Here’s wishing Anirban all the best for the 2014 Hartford Full Marathon. And here’s wishing the Tarafdars all the best for the stalk that will be visiting them soon with their little bundle of joy!

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