Adnan Gandhi at Berlin Marathon
© Adnan Gandhi, Mohammad Junaid & Sadiq Shah
Ultrarunning

Adnan Gandhi & Berlin Marathon: Igniting a Running Revolution in Pakistan

Adnan Gandhi's Berlin Marathon triumph isn't just personal—it sparks a running revolution. Discover impact, challenges and aspirations shaping a vibrant community, inspired by Adnan's dedication.
Written by Ahmed Affan
3 min readPublished on
The running community in Pakistan have taken their sport to new heights in recent years, with hundreds running international marathons to represent their nation with pride. Among the trailblazers is Adnan Gandhi, an athlete whose relentless pursuit of a Boston Qualification (BQ) at the Berlin Marathon 2023 not only marked a personal triumph but also became a source of inspiration for many aspiring runners back home.
Seventy Pakistani athletes, thirty of whom were members of the Seaview Runners Club (SVRC), took part in the 2023 Berlin Marathon, marking a watershed moment in the country's athletic history. Remarkably, nine males and three females demonstrated remarkable perseverance by achieving Boston Marathon qualifying times.
Adnan Gandhi, one of the standout performers, reflects on the journey and the impact of international marathons on the running culture in Pakistan.
Marathon runners from Pakistan participating in Berlin Marathon

Marathon runners from Pakistan participating in Berlin Marathon

© Miqdad Muhammad

Adnan's journey towards a Boston Qualification was not without its challenges. Battling plantar fasciitis and facing the hurdles of a crowded course in Berlin, Adnan's strategic approach, honed through experiences in London, Istanbul, and New York, proved successful. His dedication to maintaining specific paces and dividing the race into manageable segments showcased the importance of meticulous training and race strategy.
Adnan attributes his success to four key elements: weight management, consistent mileage, speed training, and a well-thought-out race strategy. In addition to sponsors Red Bull Pakistan, McDonald's Pakistan, Yolo Watches, and Khazany, he credits the SVRC and CORE with keeping him motivated.

Inspiring a Running Revolution: Adnan's Insights

Adnan Gandhi, reflecting on the transformative power of international marathons, especially the Berlin Marathon, on the local running scene, underscores how these events infuse purpose into the rigorous training routines. They offer a tangible endgame, a rewarding journey, and a defined target. Despite the noticeable gap between international and local marathons in scale, Adnan observes a burgeoning demand within Pakistani running clubs.
Half marathons, growing in popularity, serve as crucial stepping stones for aspiring marathoners. The international exposure has catalysed positive trends, fostering awareness of proper training, group running, strength workouts, and the inspirational impact of participation.
Adnan's personal achievements stand as a motivating force, encouraging many to embrace longer distances. Although the dream of a full marathon with 10,000 participants faces challenges, Adnan sees a gradual shift in mindset, signalling a promising future for Pakistani runners.
Adnan highlights the importance of media coverage in broadcasting the joys, challenges, and camaraderie of running. The media's role becomes crucial in conveying the simplicity and accessibility of running, making it appealing to a wider audience.
He also emphasizes on the need for collaboration between international and local marathon organizers, citing the example of the Karachi Marathon's efforts to align with international standards.

The Road Ahead: Fostering a Vibrant Running Culture

Adnan shares valuable advice for aspiring runners in Pakistan, encouraging them to commit to events, join running clubs, and gradually progress from shorter distances to a full marathon. He emphasizes the role of authorities, sports organizations, and local communities in facilitating road closures and providing support for organized events.
Finally, Adnan applauds Red Bull for its consistent support of the endurance community, appreciating the brand's commitment to showcasing both extreme sports and everyday athletes. He highlights the importance of genuine support without imposing brand obligations, contributing to the sport's organic growth.
The rising running community in Pakistan looks up to Adnan Gandhi as an inspiration, thanks to his victory at the Berlin Marathon. As long as local and international entities work together, the media increases the sport's appeal, and local authorities acknowledge the impact of marathons on individuals and the nation, his journey exemplifies the potential for a thriving running culture.