Sanya Richards: 'Running was my form of poetry'

Olympic gold-medallist Sanya Richards-Ross is in India to promote the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon.

Sanya Richards-Ross (R) trying her hand at a traditional carb loading pasta cookout organised by Airtel Delhi Half Marathon 2018.   -  Varun Gupta

Sanya Richards-Ross is an icon in world athletics. A gold in 400m at the 2012 London Olympics was a dream achieved through sheer hard work. She also won the 400m relay gold medals in 2004, 2008 and 2012. The genial Sanya dominated the 400m for a long time.

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Here as brand ambassador for the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, she felt, “I was born to run.” Speaking to Sportstar,  she noted, “For me running was like my form of poetry. It was a place where I felt most free and connected to God. A lot of times when I was training on the track or warming up I would be praying. I miss that part of it because it was almost like my church. That's why whenever I have opportunities like this (coming to Airtel Marathon) I feel happy to connect with running.”

In Sanya's opinion, “The power of running is awesome. There is no barrier to running. You just go out and run. It does something to the psyche. I am happy the Indians have got into running. There is infrastructure also. Running has meant a lot in my life. Brought me a lot of great moments, low moments. I am grateful to them because they made me better.”

Overcoming low moments in running helped her become strong in other walks of life. “Taught me a lot. One of the things about sports is you make a mistake and there is another race next week so you go out there and prepare for it. You learn to push through and overcome disappointments. I personally learnt to let the low moments go and enjoy my many running experience. Motherhood has also taught me to deal with the unpredictable.”

Becoming a champion is a life time effort. “If you are trying to be the best athlete you have to follow certain protocols. Have to understand how to run efficiently, have to have a great training regiment, have to eat well. Other than that, running should make you feel good. Anyone can go out and run and that's the best thing about running.”

Athletics took away the fun part of her growing up. “I did miss quite a bit; missing a family wedding because I was traveling to competitions. When the girls would go on vacation I would be home training or preparing for competitions. But to be honest, in the grand of schemes, I don't feel like I missed a whole lot. I think I gained more than I lost because my determination to be an athlete took me all over the world.”