Anik Raheja

I believe that good stuff should travel more far and often.


I’m thankful to the talented team of “Passion Connect” for covering my story, I’m sharing below detailed questions and answers we had then below :-


1) How and when you discovered your passion?

Ans. I was more into gymming 2 years ago and would run for a change at times until one day a friend of mine called up to inform about a running event which was scheduled for December in 2016. I only participated for fun but secured the 3rd position in my category then.


I didn’t quite involve that much in the same sport immediately, until the next year when 2nd edition of the same event got announced and I went for it just to meet friends I made in the first edition.


Since I was completely out of practice in running and was only weight training then, I stood 4th that time which left me hungry and taught me a lesson that it’s important to keep the momentum up, for I would have done a lot better if I’d kept training at regular intervals.


That is when I got myself more into it, formed a running group (which proudly has more than 80 members now cheering each other for every bit) and started participating in running events all around.


Also my father used to accompany me to a local park everyday for running when I was very young and overweight, not that it was technically correct and ideal (plus I literally hated to go out of compulsion), but I believe that it laid the foundation somehow and prepared me to rise above all the odds and train even when I wouldn’t want to.


I ran with a swelling on my feet during that time.


2) What do you think is your biggest achievement?

Ans. My biggest achievements so far are being selected as an official pacer in India’s biggest and most prestigious events – Tata Mumbai Marathon (2019), Airtel Hyderabad Marathon (2018 and 2019) in quite a short span of time.


I’ve been associated with 41 events as an ‘Ambassador’, 43 events as an ‘Official Pacer’, as ‘Face of the Event’ for 2, 6 events as ‘Pacers Co-ordinator’, 2 events as ‘Motivator Runner’ and 2 events as an ‘Event Instigator’.


Infact I’ve done the highest number of pacing assignments in India with a fine accuracy rate, and now do selection and mentoring to the other pacers too.


3) What was the most challenging moment for you?

When I reached Mumbai last year for pacing assignment, I lost my luggage just in a few hours after arrival, I forgot it in the auto.


It had all the stuff I was going to use during and around the run, I along with my friends stayed awake all night reporting at 3 different police stations, getting the security cameras checked (also completing all the formalities to be able to do the same), but couldn’t trace the Auto-rickshaw despite all efforts. But then I decided to move on with whatever I was left with, accomplished the task to my heart’s content and came back home all smiles.


Blessings are always there, sometimes we’re too occupied to notice and acknowledge. And for me it was my running shoes which I didn’t keep in any of my travel bags just because there wasn’t enough space left in those, otherwise I always wear sleepers in flight.


It would have been more challenging to run wearing new shoes straight without practice, and I couldn’t afford things to go wrong at such a grand event.


4) What are your future plans?

Ans. I look forward to keep progressing in context of my training, profile and touch more lives positively.
I’m also on the verge to launch a sports brand of my own to fill the missing points in this industry.


And there’s another initiative which I’m working on to execute for a healthier nation – both mentally and physically.
I believe that it’s important to spend time doing constructive things, and exercising is quite an effective remedy which transforms you positively and leaves a strong impact.


I would like to create awareness especially among those who are affected with drugs or are into depression.


5) What is your message for the young generation and how they can follow their passion?

Ans. My message is to keep following your dreams and persist, if we won’t try things, we won’t be able to explore and learn through the experience.


One thing leads to the another and fortune usually favours the brave and those who persevere. The so called obstacles are as big as you make.


6) What does passion mean to you?

Ans. My passion makes me feel more alive and has helped me discover and find the better version of myself at regular intervals.

The contentment and positivity I get with what I love doing is blissful indeed.


7) Who is your inspiration or role model?

Ans. I got very inspired by the movie – “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag”, and Milkha Singh is the biggest inspiration.
I would do a lot of skipping following his role model as shown in the movie and try time and again to run as fast as him.


Plus there are other role models too in the running fraternity whom I’ve fondly looked up to. Amarjeet Singh Chawla, Amar Chauhan are a few to name.


8) Can you share the struggling phase experience while following your passion, How tough it was?

Ans. People might say now that I’m leading an easy and glamourous life, but I’ve worked hard for it and have rightly earned so.


A year ago, not many running events were held in Punjab unlike these days, so I used to leave from Jalandhar in the evening prior to the event day, I would arrive straight at the venue, do the assignment (without sleep most of the times) and return right away to be able to reach home before night.


Since we’re 2 members at home (my Mom and I), so I couldn’t afford to stay for a lot of time out of place and ofcourse if I would spend every weekend outside, it wouldn’t have been a wise thing to do financially.


Now my logistics are taken care of by the organizers well in advance and on priority, that’s another thing.


I’ve also slept at benches of bus stand to get some amount of rest at times as there wouldn’t be enough time to visit any hotel and manage any sleep in between.


Once in November 2018, I got viral fever just a night prior to the day I was supposed to leave for Jammu to do a pacing assignment, and seeing the temperature rising to 103°, I thought I would inform the organizer about it and would drop the idea of going for it.


But then I didn’t feel right about getting my name dropped just before the event, given the fact it would be tricky to replace the slot so late.


Despite of my Mom trying to stop me, I somehow managed to convince her and left for Jammu.
I did the assignment with flying colors, but it lead to more exertion and I fell at home a day after I reached home – leaving half of my left eye red for the whole month.


Infact I was booked for another event in Gurugram next Sunday as well, for which the organizer had asked me to take rest but I decided to go for that too and executed things finely with God’s blessings.


I feel that this all has paid off, it’s the quality of integrity and good faith I’ve earned with consistency, which has lead to prosperity.


I’ve also become a good cook through this process, as I find time to train mostly late in the evening and come back home around mid-night many times, so instead of waking my Mom up, I cook myself.


Though it’s not always fun, especially when you’re feeling sore and want complete rest after running over 40-50 kms. in one go.


9) How hard it was to leave the other important work out of your life and follow your passion for fulltime?

Ans. I think it depends upon how important you find things and give priority likewise, as they say – either you think you can do or you can’t, you’re right.


I found reasons to accomplish things more than the excuses for not doing.


I remember, many years ago, once I was being lectured by some of the senior relatives (during one of my weak times then), wanting me to spend more of the time in finding something more apt than training, one of them remarked – “what would we tell the girl’s parents when we would talk about your wedding? That you could do 40 rounds of stadium non-stop?”


And today they all are proud of what all can I do with God’s blessings, but it wasn’t a big point of concern for me then, it isn’t now and it won’t be forever.
I shall keep doing what I find right, being in the sync of nature, and this is what makes me stand apart.


10) How was your family support during this journey?

Ans. I dedicate a lot of my progress to my Mom, who has been quite understanding and supportive.
It’s definitely not easy for her managing things all alone when I’ve to travel long distance.


Not that she never gets shaky, infact earlier she would try to work things out in way that I did not travel that far, but I knew what I was doing, so seeing my determination and how focused I would be towards things, she would have no other choice but let me go.


Now she doesn’t mind it that much after all the accolades and respect earned, but at the same time it’s not a cakewalk. It’s necessary to rise above such things to follow your dreams and passion and I’m happy that I went for everything against all the odds.


I would also like to give credit to my spiritual gurus and best friends who supported me when I needed it the most.


11) Your life quote for passion.

Ans. The discomfort lasts for a while, but the glory remains forever.
You have to go through the distance to grow through the distance, and if you don’t give up, the distance eventually does!