Sunita Subba is a name to reckon with. The 32-year-old lady has already accomplished a miraculous achievement. Being the mother of a 15-year-old son, Swayam, this unconquerable lady won the marathon at World’s highest altitude in September this year in her maiden attempt. The marathon is a 122km Silk Route Ultra Ladakh marathon that starts from a village named Kyagar at 10 thousand feet and ends in Leh which is situated at 11,400 feet via Khardung-La pass at 18 thousand feet. This marathon is called one of the toughest marathons in the World as 122km distance is generally needed for 10-hour running while the race starts at 7 pm and ends at 5 am the next day.
Sunita Subba Journey
Sunita Subba is born and brought up in Darjeeling in West Bengal. Her husband Suren Tamang owns a taxi and operates between Darjeeling and Singamari. Sunita is contractually posted as a data operator in the information and cultural affair department of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA). She never thought of choosing to run a marathon in her early days. But following encouragement from her niece Smita, Sunita first participated in a marathon in Darjeeling in 2016 and finished in the 34th position. Talking over the phone from Darjeeling, the iron lady mentioned,
“Out of 1500 participants I finished at 34th position in that 21km Police Marathon in 2016. This prompted me to get inspired gradually. So I started running”.
Then Sunita acquired prominence by winning Sandakphu Marathon twice in 2021 and this year (65 kilometers) as well as the Delhi Marathon where she ran 104 kilometers.
The Hard Work of Sunita Subba
Sunita Subba still does not have a trainer. She watches YouTube and tries to adopt the techniques of running as well as required physical exercises. Significantly, she runs a lot around the hilly regions of Darjeeling and that is her mail training. She said,
“I have to maintain the balance between my running, family, and office. So, I manage my free time and always go out to running. Sometimes, I run 21km. Sometimes I run 5km or sometimes I run long.”
Even Sunita has practiced by running 80 km from Darjeeling to Siliguri quite a few times before she received the green signal to take part in Ladakh Marathon and this has been Sunita’s foremost training over the years.
Sunita was initially rejected by the Ladakh Marathon organizer, RIMO Expedition. She uttered,
“You need to produce two marathon certificates where you have run more than 100 kilometers. I had only one certificate for winning the 104 km in the Delhi Marathon. But I did not give up, rather sending them application emails repeatedly with the attachment of my other previous certificates. Then finally I got the signal and took part.”-- Advertisement --
Commenting on her experience of running in the Silk Route Ultra Ladakh Marathon Sunita revealed, apparently the toughest part of the 122 km-run is 92km straight-up before reaching Khardung-La. But according to Sunita,
“I felt the most challenging part of the run is 30km perpendicular downward from Khardung-La to Leh. I was feeling terrible pain in both of my legs. My calf muscles had almost collapsed. Besides, due to such a high altitude and barren all of us were having little breathing strain. Still, I did not give up and made the podium finish.”
Lack of Funds
Sunita has the desire to take part in the popular marathons that take place in England and the USA. She pointed out saying,
“I always want to be different from others. That is why I have decided to take part only in those marathons covering more than 104 kilometers. But lack of funds is the key obstruction. The expense of my trip to Ladakh was more than Rs 80 thousand. I got help from my sister. But how can I go again spending a huge amount of money from my pocket?”
Sunita Subba’s Dream
Sunita Subba had to face criticism from her close associates when she started running in 2016. Following support from her husband and son Sunita did not care much and continued running. Today after her success Sunita smiles and watches those who criticized them, have embraced her with flowers and congratulations. More importantly, Sunita is extremely happy to see that several girls and boys are coming to join the marathon after watching Sunita’s success. She said,
“I have dreams to start coaching in the future. I will be happy to see when more female participants from Darjeeling will be winning marathons.”