KARACHI: Running a marathon is no easy feat by any stretch of the imagination but an ever-increasing group of Pakistanis have taken it upon themselves to make their country proud in this prestigious field.
While the world waits with bated breath to see whether Eliud Kipchoge can become the only runner to win the Berlin Marathon five times, Pakistan’s largest-ever contingent in a World Marathon Major event will also look to etch their names in the annals of history.
More than 60 Pakistanis are preparing to participate in the Berlin Marathon on September 24, which includes 14 female marathon runners, where they will cover a distance of 42.195 kilometers.
While these marathoners might not get the same attention as cricketers in Pakistan but that doesn’t deter them from achieving their goals.
The Berlin Marathon is renowned as one of the fastest marathons globally, with Kenyan runner Kipchoge setting a world record in 2022 by completing the marathon in 2 hours, 1 minute, and 9 seconds.
Among the participants, 38 are traveling from Pakistan, while several are joining from UAE, USA, Germany, Austria, UK, and Australia.
Notable participants include Muhammad Sajjad, a national athlete, who has previously represented Pakistan in Nepal and Bangladesh and completed the Dhaka Marathon in 2 hours and 42 minutes 41 seconds. Sajjad is now aiming for a new record in his first World Major.
Another standout is Sadiq Shah, the fastest Pakistani runner in the history of the London Marathon, who is competing in Berlin with the goal of surpassing his own marathon time of 2 hours, 55 minutes, and 20 seconds.
Meanwhile, Faisal Shafi is returning for his second Berlin Marathon and is on a path to becoming an Abbott 6 Star finisher next year. Faisal and Sadiq Shah also qualified for the Boston Marathon in 2024.
Along with Faisal Shafi, Muhammad Sajjad, Sadiq Shah, Amin Mukaty and Abdul Rehman are also aiming for new records for Pakistan in the Berlin Marathon.
Women defying the limits
A significant highlight of Pakistan’s participation in this event is the presence of 14 Pakistani female runners from diverse backgrounds. These women are breaking barriers and pushing their limits.
Hira Diwan, a Pakistani British corporate banker and marathon runner, has already completed marathons in Chicago, New York, Paris and Chester, in addition to four London Marathons. The Berlin Marathon will mark her 10th full marathon.
Uzma Abid, a dedicated crossfitter and experienced fitness trainer, brings a remarkable level of physical fitness and discipline to the Berlin Marathon. Notably, she is also a mother of two children, highlighting the incredible balance she has struck between her roles as a parent and a passionate athlete. Uzma Abid’s commitment to running marathons was evident in her participation in the Istanbul Marathon in 2021, where she showcased her endurance and determination on a global stage.
On the other hand, Kaukab Sarwar is a driven full-time corporate executive who juggles her professional responsibilities with her passion for long-distance running. As the mother of a 13-year-old, Kaukab’s journey in marathon running is particularly inspiring. Berlin marks her third World Marathon Major, a testament to her dedication and perseverance. Notably, she has set her sights on the Chicago Marathon, demonstrating her ambition to conquer new challenges and achieve remarkable milestones in the world of long-distance running.
Additionally, Dr. Zahra Hoodbhoy, Shumaila Bukhari, Nadia Rehman, Nada Anwar, Sana Malik, Anum Jehangir and Pakistani British lawyer Shanze Shah are part of this year’s Pakistani Women’s group at the Berlin Marathon.
Sara Lodhi, a UAE based Pakistani athlete who ran the Tokyo marathon earlier this year, is running her first Berlin Marathon. She is brand ambassador of Spartan Arabia, the only Pakistani on the Spartan podium, and also qualified for the Boston Marathon in Munich Marathon 2022.
Dr. Rabia Naeem, an experienced Pakistani pediatrician based in the USA, and Rohela Khan from the UK are also taking part in the event.
Pakistani-American Abbott Six Star finishers take part in Berlin 2023
Three Pakistani-origin Abbott Six Star finishers are attending this event, including Dr. Salman Khan, a nephrologist based in Dallas, Texas, who became the first Pakistani-origin 6 Star finisher in Tokyo earlier this year.
The list also includes Prem Kumar, a US-based Pakistani-American runner, who achieved 6 Star status earlier this year at the London Marathon and Aisha Qamar, a US-based marathon runner.
Rehan Admajee from Karachi who is studying at Harvard Kennedy School of Govt & Harvard Business school is coming to Berlin Marathon aiming for a Boston qualifying time.
Muhammad Junaid, an anchorperson for Geo News, who completed the Boston and London Marathons in April this year, will be running his third World Major in Berlin and his fourth in Chicago next month. He has partnered with the British Heart Foundation UK and St. Jude Children’s Cancer Hospital USA for these marathons.
Increase in number of participants from Pakistan
The credit for this significant participation of runners from Pakistan goes to local running clubs and the supportive environment created by sports organizations in Pakistan. These entities have fostered an environment and support system for individuals to pursue health, fitness, and marathon training.
Notable contributors include the Seaview Runners Club, co-founded by Adnan Gandhi, a fitness professional who has previously completed marathons in Chicago and London.
The Wednesday Night Pacers, another Karachi-based running club, has enabled a substantial number of runners to represent Pakistan in global sporting events. Danish Raza, the founder of this club, will also be running the Berlin Marathon, along with many of his club runners, including Amin Mukaty and Abdul Rehman, who are among the fastest runners from Pakistan.
Bilal Ehsaan, co-founder of the Islamabad Running Club, will also participate in the Berlin Marathon alongside Yawar Siddiqui, Ammar Mumtaz, and Rehman Azhar.
Additionally, a group of enthusiastic participants is set to join the Berlin Marathon, further adding to the Pakistani representation.
Triathlete Miqdad Mohammed is running his first marathon, he has done IRONMAN previously in UAE and Oman.
Ali Khurshid, Shah Faisal Khan, Abdul Samee, Ayaz Abdulla, Zain Anwar, Zohair Agha, Imran Aleem, Irfan Aleem, Ibaad Lari, Jahanzeb Sherwani, Fauzi Gharib, Ahmed Ilyas, Hassan Madni, Anis Kasmani, Adeel Paperwala, Hassan Currimbhoy, Anees Khawja, Dr. Rizwan Khawaja, Dr. Saad Usmani, Ahmer Khan, Muhammad Babar Ali, Azmat Ali, Jamal Khan, Dr. Ahmed Zubair Babar Ghias, Haseeb Usmani and Sheharyar Salam will also be joining the Berlin Marathon.
Journalist Sarah Munir is participating in the Amsterdam marathon, which will be taking place on 15th October.
Journalist and anchorperson Rehman Azhar will be running both the Berlin and Chicago Marathons, while Dr. Salman Khan and Prem Kumar are also returning for the Chicago Marathon.
Dr. Jehannzeb Mughal, who ran the London Marathon earlier this year to raise funds for oral cancer patients in Pakistan, will also be running the Chicago Marathon along with Danish Elahi and Noshwerwan Ali as part of a team.
Meanwhile, Fahd Mukhar has run five of World Marathon Majors, New York Marathon twice and is now set to become Abbot 6 Star finisher in Chicago Marathon.
Bacha Hussain, Rehman Azhar Dr Rabia Naeem, Unaiza Raza, Taha Ghafoor, Imtiaz Ahmed, Babar Ghias and Muhammad Fasih will also take part in the Chicago Marathon.
Their participation reflects the growing passion and dedication of Pakistani athletes on the international stage, further enriching the diverse representation from the country in this prestigious event.
Start and finish area of Berlin Marathon
Event schedule (local time)
Sunday, September 24, 2023
08:50am: Handbiker (Elite)
08:57am: Wheelchair competitors
from 09:15am: Runners (in four waves)
Time limit: 6:15 hours (after passing the time measure mat)
Cut-off point at KM 33 at 3:50pm
Cut-off point at KM 38 at 4:35pm
Participants who are unable to reach one of these points by the indicated time will leave the official course and continue on the sidewalk or ride in the “broom waggon” to the finish.
PCB unveils list of players retained by PSL franchises for season 9
As the Pakistan Super League’s (PSL) season 9 is getting closer, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Thursday released a list of players retained by all six franchises of the league.
The PSL’s ninth edition is slated to begin in February 2024.
As per the list, defending champions Lahore Qalandards retained their skipper Shaheen Afridi in the Platinum category. Islamabad United successfully retained their captain Shadab Khan alongside their top-trade Naseem Shah.
“Following the finalisation of all trades and retentions, Multan Sultans will now have the first pick in the first round of the Platinum category, after Multan and Quetta traded Iftikhar Ahmed and Rilee Rossouw between them,” the PCB said in a press release.
“Naseem Shah’s move to Islamabad United also saw their first-round Platinum pick exchanged with Quetta Gladiator’s third-round Platinum pick.
“Following Shan Masood’s move to Karachi Kings, their first-round Silver pick was exchanged for Multan Sultan’s fourth-round Silver pick. Owing to Imad Wasim’s move to Islamabad United, Islamabad’s first-round Silver pick has been exchanged with Karachi’s second-round Silver pick.
“Furthermore, Karachi Kings and Quetta Gladiators will be required to pick a local player in the Platinum category.
“As per the precedent, each of the six sides will have the Right to Match Card that will allow them to pick any player released from their roster during the draft.”
Lahore Qalandars (8): Shaheen Shah Afridi (Platinum), Haris Rauf (Brand Ambassador) and David Wiese (both Diamond), Sikandar Raza, Abdullah Shafique and Zaman Khan (all Gold), Mirza Tahir Baig (Successful relegation request) and Rashid Khan (both Silver).
Islamabad United (8): Shadab Khan and Naseem Shah (both Platinum), Imad Wasim (Mentor) and Azam Khan (both Diamond), Faheem Ashraf (Brand Ambassador), Alex Hales and Colin Munro (all Gold), Rumman Raees (Successful relegation request in Silver).
Multan Sultans (7): Mohammad Rizwan and Iftikhar Ahmed (both Platinum), Khushdil Shah and Usama Mir (both Diamond), Abbas Afridi (Gold), Ihsanullah (Brand Ambassador, Silver), Faisal Akram (Emerging).
Karachi Kings (8): James Vince and Hasan Ali (Diamond), Shan Masood (Brand Ambassador), Shoaib Malik (Mentor) and Tabraiz Shamsi (all Gold), Mir Hamza (Successful relegation request) and Muhammad Akhlaq (both Silver), Muhammad Irfan Khan (Emerging).
Quetta Gladiators (8): Rilee Rossouw (Platinum), Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Jason Roy and Wanindu Hasaranga (all Diamond), Sarfaraz Ahmed (Brand Ambassador) Abrar Ahmed and Mohammad Hasnain (all Gold), Will Smeed (Silver).
Peshawar Zalmi (8): Babar Azam and Rovman Powell (both Platinum), Saim Ayub and Tom Kohler-Cadmore (all Diamond), Mohammad Haris (Brand Ambassador) and Aamir Jamal (both Gold), Khurram Shahzad (Silver), Haseebullah (Emerging).
Some of the star foreign players registered in the top two categories:
Platinum: Daniel Sams, Ashton Agar (both Australia), Fazalhaq Farooqi, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Noor Ahmad, Rahmanullah Gurbaz (all Afghanistan), Ben Duckett, Chris Jordan, David Willey, Dawid Malan, Luke Wood, Reece Topley, Tom Curran, Tymal Mills (all England), Sandeep Lamichhane (Nepal), James Neesham (New Zealand), Rassie van der Dussen, Imran Tahir (both South Africa), Maheesh Theekshana, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dasun Shanaka (all Sri Lanka), Kieron Pollard, Romario Shepherd, Brandon King Sherfane Rutherford and Kyle Mayers (all West Indies)
Diamond: Azmatullah Omarzai, Mohammad Nabi (both Afghanistan), Ben McDermott (Australia), Litton Das, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Mahmudullah (all Bangladesh), Dan Lawrence, Gus Atkinson, Jordan Cox, Liam Dawson, Matthew Potts, Ollie Pope, Richard Gleeson, Sam Hain (all England), Tim Seifert, Martin Guptill, Chad Bowes (all New Zealand), George Linde, Lungi Ngidi, Reeza Hendricks, Wayne Parnell, Sisanda Magala (all South Africa), Dilshan Madushanka, Charith Asalanka, Dushmantha Chameera, Sadeera Samarawickrama (all Sri Lanka), Fabian Allen, Johnson Charles, Rahkeem Cornwall, Roston Chase, Shai Hope, Hayden Walsh (all West Indies).
Shan Masood hits double ton against Aussie Prime Minister’s XI
Pakistan Test captain Shan Masood Thursday knocked a double ton on the second day of the four-day game against Australia’s Prime Minister’s XI at Manuka Oval in Canberra.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister’s XI posted 149-2 in 60 overs after Pakistan declared their innings at 391-9.
Masood, on the other hand, resumed his overnight tally of 156 to add 45 more runs to his score, reaching his third first-class double hundred. He ended with an unbeaten 201 from 298 deliveries, including 14 boundaries and a maximum.
Right-arm fast bowler Jordan Buckingham, who had taken three wickets the previous day, struck twice today to complete a five-wicket haul. He removed Aamir Jamal and Mir Hamza, who both went out cheaply.
Shan declared the innings after Khurram Shahzad was run out courtesy of a direct hit by Nathan McSweeney, with the scorecard reading 391-9 in 116.2 overs.
In return, Prime Minister’s XI opening duo of Cameron Bancroft (53, 128b, 3x4s) and Marcus Harris (49, 102b, 6x4s) put up a 96-run stand to give their team a solid start.
Abrar Ahmed provided the breakthrough for Pakistan, dismissing Harris in the 36th over. Right-arm pacer Khurram Shahzad trapped Bancroft LBW to provide Pakistan the second wicket.
Cameron Green (18 not out, 71b, 2x4s) and Matt Renshaw (19 not out, 60b, 1×4) batted together to add 37 more runs to take the total to 149-2 at stumps, with the side trailing by 242.
The third day’s play at Manuka Oval will resume on 0430 PKT.
Pakistan 391-9d, 116.2 overs (Shan Masood 201 not out, Sarfaraz Ahmed 41, Babar Azam 40, Abdullah Shafique 38; Jordan Buckingham 5-80, Mark Steketee 1-58, Nathan McAndrew 1-68, Todd Murphy 1-110)
Prime Minister’s XI 149-2, 60 overs (Cameron Bancroft 53, Marcus Harris 49; Khurram Shahzad 1-23, Abrar Ahmed 1-54)
Update on Naseem Shah’s injury
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Wednesday provided a health update on pacer Naseem Shah, who suffered a shoulder injury during the Asia Cup and missed this year’s World Cup as a result.
He also underwent surgery in the United Kingdom.
“Pakistan fast bowler Naseem Shah started the final stage of his rehabilitation today at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Lahore,” the PCB said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The young pacer was injured during the Asia Cup in September, after which he underwent surgery in the United Kingdom. Following the surgery, he remained in the UK for two months for rehabilitation and initial training as the PCB covered his medical costs and he received continuous care from a team of expert medical staff.
“Naseem’s rehabilitation is being continued at NCA, Lahore under the care of a strength and conditioning coach, a physiotherapist and a doctor. Currently, he is doing light gym exercises and partial bowling practice and will start batting tomorrow.”
Earlier, the Pakistan Super League (PSL) side Quetta Gladiators’ premium pacer Naseem joined Islamabad United in a major swap deal.
Naseem was the topic of discussion among the cricket fraternity, and every PSL franchise was doing its best to get the 20-year-old on board after it was reported that the right-arm pacer had decided to leave Quetta.
Quetta now has received Islamabad’s first-round Platinum pick while the latter has bagged Quetta’s third-round Platinum pick.
There were strong rumours that Naseem might end up joining Multan Sultans, who recently got Iftikhar Ahmed in another swap deal, or Peshawar Zalmi, but Islamabad came out triumphant in the race to get the pacer’s signature.