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Neetu Pal National Level Runner, Sport Leader for Running at Decathlon
How did You Start Running?
It's a very interesting story about how I started back in 2006 when I was 17 years old. I was working as a home assistant in a gentleman's house due to financial pressures in my family. I had to drop my education and take up work. While I was working, in one of the homes, the landlady was an international runner who would run marathons. One day, I generally asked her what she did and she told me that she was a runner. My mom then told her to take me along whenever she practiced her running in the morning. She thought this could be a good extracurricular activity for me since I wasn't doing much apart from working.
So yes, as decided, I started accompanying her for her practice sessions from the next day. Initially, it was really tough for me and there were times I wouldn't be able to do it. My coach's husband saw something in me and believed that if I worked on it, I could be a good runner one day. As the days, passed, I got better and since then I've never looked back.
How Often do You Run Now?
It's been 13 years that I've been running and now I practice 4 times a week as I prepare myself for marathons and major running events that happen in the city.
What Motivates You to Keep Going?
I started running because I wanted to become something in my life and do good for my family since my parents have worked really hard all their lives. I run each and every day to be able to earn enough for them to lead a better life.
What do You Consider as Your Biggest Achievement So Far?
Initially, in my running journey, I started participating in Delhi State Championships in 2008, 2009 and 2010. I won 6 gold medals and 3 silver medals in the same.
Then there was the Delhi State Cross Country Championship 2008, 2009 and 2010 where I won 2 gold medals and 2 silver medals.
In the Airtel Marathon 2008 and 2009, I held the position of 8th in all India.
Till date, I own 25 gold medals, 21 silver and 9 bronze medals in total.
From 2010 to 2018, I have participated in over 50 marathons and recently won a Gold Medal in Airtel India 2018 marathon in my age category.
Message to Onlookers
My message to the onlookers is to just start running and not stop. Do it every day till you build your stamina and persistence which will be your key to success.
My favorite line has always been; "Keep doing it until it's done!"
Once, it was my dream to earn medals and show who I was. Now, I have a small community of runners with whom I believe that my dream becomes theirs too. That they believe that they can run! And they are doing it!”