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Home » 50 marathons at 50: Indian female runner sheds ‘corporate employee belly’ 

50 marathons at 50: Indian female runner sheds ‘corporate employee belly’ 

Born in Karnataka, India, Suma Sampath was like almost every other woman who didn’t think having a fitness routine was important until she became a dedicated Indian female runner. While her husband was a fitness enthusiast and an ardent runner ever since they got married, Suma was occupied managing her family & working around her IT career. 

Indian female runner Suma Sampath running marathons at the age of 50. Inspiring story by The Winged Women

After having worked with major IT giants for about 26 years, something led her to run 50 marathons at the age of 50.

This story is about celebrating a woman who didn’t let her hypothyroidism, migraine, and joint pains come in the way of her determination to kick-start running at 44. Let’s get to know this Indian female runner. 

Hi Suma, please tell us about your journey into running? 

So, in 2013, I was 44 years old and was working for an IT company. One fine day, my company sponsored all women employees to participate in ‘Pinkathon,’ a women’s only marathon led by Milind Soman. As my husband is a runner, I followed his advice and casually registered for a 10k run. A day before the event, without having an idea of what running is, I went on a run for about an hour to see if I could do it, and I ended up with muscle pain. 

By night it was so severe that I called my husband to tell him I won’t do the run. He wasn’t in town at that time but flew overnight to be there with me the next day as he managed to convince me that he would be in the audience while I ran. 

Indian female runner Suma Sampath who wants to encourage women to pay attention to fitness
Suma with her son and husband

Despite all the pain, I ran the first longest distance 10k of my life, and the feeling was so overpowering that I felt something new inside me. There was no stopping after that. I gradually started going for smaller runs and then longer ones. 

Running has now become my lifestyle, way of life, happiness, and close companion! From someone who wasn’t fond of fitness or didn’t even bother about health, I have transformed into this Indian female runner who likes to spread awareness about the physical and psychosocial benefits of being healthy. 

indian marathon runner Suma Sampath's medals and achievements, which she has been awarded for running various marathons
Suma has earned lots of medals for her runner achievements

Today, I have done countless 5-10 km runs, over a hundred marathons, and 8+ ultra-marathons. I have also discovered my love for trekking in this journey. I have completed seven high-altitude treks to the Himalayas. The highest altitude I have been to includes the Everest Base Camp via 3 passes trek with up to 20,000 altitudes, one of Nepal’s most challenging treks. 

What advice would you like to your younger self and to women in their 20s?

If I was the 20-year-old Suma, I would make health as my first & foremost priority and dedicate one hour each day to ensure good health that would help me to be productive in achieving all my dreams. Unfortunately, during my 20s and 30s, health was the last thing on my priority list. 

Indian fitness enthusiast Suma Sampath showing her medal. Story by The Winged Women

Over the years, I have realized that once we make physical activities a daily habit, the rest will fall in place – such as our eating habits, sleeping patterns, improved productivity, and increased energy levels – everything changes for good, leading to a disciplined life! Investing just an hour out of the 24 hours can help us achieve a lot. 

Suma’s story is a true example of the saying that ‘age is just a number.’ It is willpower and determination that can help you achieve feats. 

If you were inspired by the story of this Indian female runner or enjoyed reading it, leave a comment below to show your appreciation. 

You can also check other women’s stories on our website – If you think you have it in you to inspire someone, connect with us at @thewingedwomen on Instagram or e-mail at

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