Published: 15th November 2017
Bhaag Hamid bhaag: How this Kashmiri tailor's son who's set on running 200 km in 24 hours may be the inspiration youth in the valley need
Hamid, who wants to concentrate on a future in ultra-marathons, has won over 12 golds at the college and district-level and aims to complete the famous Kashmir to Kanyakumari marathon soon
The hills may be alive with the sound of music, but for 22-year-old Hamid Aziz from Hawal, Srinagar, it is the track ahead contouring deep into the plains and coiling itself through forests and hillocks that is in focus. Recently, Hamid created history and became the first person in J&K to run 180 kilometres non-stop from Srinagar to Baltal.
A length of this sort is called an ultramarathon and runs longer than the 42.195 km tradition marathon. Hamid, the son of a tailor from Hawal achieved the feat in 10.45 hours, which is unbelievable. His family is full of support, he admits, though his voice breaks when he says he has no special diet. " My family is not financially well-off and there is no specific diet as such, revealing just how humble his origins are. Jo milta hai kha lete hai (I eat what I get)."
Ready and Set: While the valley has many runners, Hamid's time and determination are unmatched as prove the many medals | ANI
A BCom graduate with a diploma in Computer Application, Hamid's love for the tracks are a decade old and has him dedicated to it full time. Crossing streams, wild dogs and thickets of Gulmohar he is at home in the mountains, where he sets off to run for at least 22 km (half marathon ) every day except for Sundays when he runs up to 50 km, accompanied by a few friends. " I love running in the mountains," he breathes. His long distance runs are in preparation for his dream to run across Indian cities.
Running to Hamid is like an escape, and the only thing on his mind right now. It has all his attention while his life has been taken over by practise and dedication to be the best and beat the rest. Athletics is his elixir, and he very confidently says "Athletics is the mother of sports. No matter what you play, you have to be an athlete for it."
Hamid, unlike many of his competitors does not have a well-stocked gym or stadium, rather he shuffles between different open grounds in the vicinity. The space is of least consequence to his strength, with a trove of gold medals including three gold medals from college, three golds at the inter-collegiate level and 12 for the district level. He had maintained a winning streak at the college level for three consecutive years and also has bits of silver and bronze in his collection. He has also participated and won laurels at the State and club level.
His runs have taken him beyond the hills of Kashmir to the 59th Annual Senior Nationals in Andhra Pradesh in July, and to participating in the India Expansion Adventure Race (Sringar - Sonamarg - Leh) and covered 270 km adventure race including sky-running. The young boy has also run 85 km in Srinagar with Australian marathon runner Pat Farmer. Pat's trip from Kashmir to Kanyakumari in 2016 had bred the same seed in Hamid, who aims to do the same in the next few years.
Currently sponsored by the J&K Tourism Department, his aim for now, however, is to break the record for the ultra-marathon held by Arjun Bajwa for 180 km. Hamid is determined when he says "I will run a 200 km ultra-marathon and break his record. I'm practicing a lot and in 2018 I will." His other dream is to get a government job to assist his running expenses as well as sustain his family of parents and two brothers.