8 years of rigorous training brings a triumph for Srinagar’s Street Fighters Club
SRINAGAR: On one calm Sunday morning of September, members of Srinagar club met at Tourist Reception Centre in Dalgate, from where they started on a 120-km high-altitude marathon run. In the next 12.5 hours, three athletes from the group reached Baltal, breaking the previous record of a 110-km distance covered in 12.5 hours by a local athlete.
About half a dozen others also participated in the run, but they could not sustain the stamina needed to complete the journey.
While the trio setting the record is quite an event, the participation of others, including a man in the mid 40s, shows the hard work of eight years put in by the group that organised the run. The youngest of them is 7-year-old Amaar, who covered at least 15 km, while a youth in his early 30s covered 80 km.
Adil Shah, Suhail Farooq, Muneer Dar – the three under-30 athletes who made it to Baltal, without any stop – have mostly trained under the Street Fighters Club since it was formed eight years ago.
For the developed world, this marathon may not be a milestone, but in Kashmir this means something extraordinary. The runners have been self-trained athletes, and the event was organised by a local, self-funded club, without any financial support from anyone. This marathon was the result of eight years of hard work of the club, which has over 150 members, from all age groups, who live in various parts of Srinagar city.
Every morning, the group huddles at Badam Wari, under the foothills of Koh-i-Maran, the hill that overlooks Srinagar. Here they begin to run, and follow a regular regime of exercise to strengthen their bodies, and do calisthenics to bring coordination of movement between their bones and muscles.
“The event, which is a rare one to be organised in Kashmir, is a result of the workout schedule followed for years,” Sajad Mir, the head of Street Fighters Club, told Kashmir Reader. “You hear of youngsters running the marathon, but some of those who ran in this event are in their late 30s and mid 40s,” Mir said.
The routine of the athletes remains the same throughout the year. During winter, when Kashmir is going through the intense chill of Chillai Kallan, the routine workout continues, suitably modified as per the cold conditions.
During lockdowns, they meet at various locations, sometimes at the peak of Koh-i-Maran, or at the banks of Nigeen Lake.
“But the routine remains alive,” Mir said.
This year, they have climbed many mountains, including the high Batkoot. In April they climbed many mountain ranges at Pahalgam through rugged, snow-capped mountains to reach the Shesh Nag.
All this has yielded benefits. None in the group has any problem of cholesterol, blood pressure, or some other metabolic imbalance. At least 10 of them have given up smoking, too.
“The workout has its cascading effects. Once you do it, it becomes part of your habit to an extent that you get addicted to it,” Mir said.
Post the marathon event, the club did a cycle racing event of children.
All this is done under the supervision of a trainer, Abid Bhat, who has a degree in physical training as well as years of experience.