Congratulations to our fellow Oshwal Marathon runners in UK

12 Oshwals… One Mission

To Run the 2008 Flora London Marathon
by Shila Shah


‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’

13th April 2008 is an everlasting memory for the 12 Oshwals (6 men and 6 ladies) who ran the Flora London Marathon in the Superman costume – red t-shirt and blue cape. Celebrating the commemoration of 100 years of 26.2 miles distance running, this biggest ever group of Oshwals training together and running the London Marathon did the Oshwal community really proud!

Getting fit and doing good was a vision of Piyush Gudka and Laxmi Patel who wanted to raise as much money as possible for Life 4 Children‘ (L4C), a Shishukunj initiative. Shishukunj is a charity run on a voluntary basis and all the funds raised will be used to help under privileged children with food, education, health facilities and shelter, all the things we take for granted.

The Oshwal runners were part of a bigger L4C running group, twenty four runners in total. Piyush and Laxmi, our very own SuperMan and WonderWoman, tirelessly encouraged and trained the runners physically as well as mentally with advise on various aspects of long distance running, and organised support teams, costumes, marketing, fundraising and not least the unforgettable parties. These runners had no Sunday morning lie-ins as the endurance runs required the group to meet at 6:45am in Stanmore. Our trainer, Piyush, put us through the paces and perfectly timed schedule for us to start the marathon in peak condition. As part of this special group the runners were truly well supported by friends and well wishers with words of encouragement, food, drinks and a lot of love.

Each runner has their own story to tell, but here are just a few words from each runner.

Piyush GudkaPiyush Gudka

My satisfaction is not doing 24 marathons all over the world, but in encouraging and training 53 novices, in the last 6 years, in running at least one marathon and at the same time raising lots of money for charity.

Records and best times for me are just bonus. As I tell all my first time runners, the sheer enjoyment is in taking part, savouring the fantastic atmosphere and completing the race. I still haven’t got out of that stage.

Nishma ShahNishma Shah

I was introduced to this fantastic group of runners, 3 years ago. When I joined, I could not run for 10 minutes and now I have completed my third marathon! This was the toughest to finish as we had sunshine, drizzle, downpour and hailstorm.

However, the runner’s spirit on a Sunday morning and the supporters smiley faces throughout got me over the finish line.

Meera R ShahMeera R Shah

Sir Edmund Hillary, the first person to stand on the summit of Mount Everest, once said “It’s not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.”

I believe that Sir Hillary’s words have a ring of truth in them. It’s not really the marathon but it is the doubts, anxieties and worries in our mind as to whether we could do it, that we’ve conquered.

What made the biggest difference was the support and encouragement of Piyushbhai (our trainer) and all the other runners and supporters – in the same way as Sir Hillary and Tenzing’s joint achievement wouldn’t have
been possible without their support of each other.

Dilesh HariaDilesh Haria

Running in the rain, soaking my feet in every puddle, and the painful blisters was made worth while by having the crowd cheer me on and shout my name! Running the last mile as fast as possible, sprinting to the finish line was one of the best experiences in my life!

Niraj ShahNiraj Shah

Crossing that finishing line and knowing I’d completed such a mammoth task filled me with utter Euphoria!! The whole experience was beyond my wildest expectations, from beginning training only a short time prior to the run….all the way to walking like a penguin the following day! One of life’s greatest challenges!

Kaushik ShahKaushik Shah

There are a very few things in life that you can say that ‘I have earnt it’ and finishing the marathon is definitely one of them. The pain goes soon but the high is still there!

Harish ShahHarish Shah

I did my first marathon in 2004 and this is my second and even more special because I ran with my daughter Rajvi. Raising funds for the less fortunate children gave me the inner strength to finish it. On marathon day, the support group was marvellous which made the last 4 miles easier to complete. The 5 star treatment received at the end was extraordinary.

Rajvi ShahRajvi Shah

This has been one of the best experiences of my life and I hope to do another marathon in the next 3 years! Crossing the finishing line was just fantastic and made it even more worthwhile as it is for a good cause and I ran it with my dad Harishbhai! The knee pain, early morning runs in rain, sun, wind and snow, midweek runs and dietary changes were all worth it.

Shila ShahShila Shah

Running the Flora London Marathon is a dream come true….twice!!

I have so many memories to treasure and here is just a taster!

Where else in the world could you say that you ran along side the MASAI Warriors, dressed in their traditional clothes, dancing & singing and waving spears in the air?…..I did just that at the 2008 Flora London Marathon… was just awesome!

Another memory I will cherish is the longest training run while the snow was still falling and everything was untouched..……it was a picture postcard scene from a Christmas card….Wow!

Kirti ShahKirti Shah

London Marathon is a tough but a great challenge. I really enjoyed the 2008 Flora London Marathon taking in all the sights of London and the buzz of the spectators.

Running and training for a marathon is hard work. It needs total commitment, many tasks are kept on hold, one’s social life almost comes to a halt but you are at the peak of your fitness.

All I can say is if I can do it, you all out there can. Yes you can.

Nita ShahNita Shah

To be honest, words can’t adequately express what one goes through this enduring challenge. There were moments of self-doubt which made me feel am I doing the right thing (only time will tell) but pushing beyond your personal boundary was the ultimate challenge. Hats off to Piyushbhai for pushing the barriers; Rashikbhai and Rameshbhai for running beside me; and the support of my hubbie Mukesh and my son Kavi’s understanding that mum couldn’t “play” with him at best of times.

One thing helped me tremendously during the training and on the actual
day was reciting Navkar Mantra.

Meenesh ShahMeenesh Shah

My experience of the training and the marathon was positive. I have run only half marathon before. Therefore doing 26.2 miles was a challenge.

The support from Shishukunj and all the other Londoners was absolutely fantastic. This was crucial at the start and at 16 miles when I hit the dreaded ‘wall’……this was uplifting.

The training gave me space to decide what was important to me and I have resolved to run at least one marathon a year in different counties.

The true heroes of our marathon group are the support team who work selflessly behind the scenes to make the impossible possible for the runners! As Sanjay, one of our supporter said it is all about ‘giving’ which is a truly wonderful experience. Together, as a team we have given hope to the children who dare not hope.

“A marathon is a race without race, colour, religion, sex, prejudice, nationality, hate, where everyone starts as an equal, and everyone finishes as a winner.”