Meet Sarthak Malani, who runs backward

Meet Sarthak Malani, who runs backwards!

5 min

A 24 years old Rajasthani guy who has now turned to Amdavadi, talks about his passion for backward running. From having his own band in school time to his love for the job he does, Sarthak Malani shares bits from his life. Check out our conversation with Sarthak.

Tell us something about you.

I have done my Bachelors in Liberal Studies from Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University, Gandhinagar. There are 3 things that I really love to do and they are playing guitar/ sing, running and posing for the cameras. 😛

I had a Punk rock band during my school time. It was called “Sweetblame”. We were one of the youngest bands in Gujarat to win some major competitions. We have opened shows for Indie rock band “Agnee” and “Bombay Rockers”.

By the way, I am a self taught Guitarist and a singer who now plans to furnish the skills! I have also acted in a short film for Friday Fiction Films by Tanmay Shah which has motivated me to take some acting lessons which I soon plan to do.

In short, I am still figuring out to what to do in life but it’s surely going to be something that I love doing.

What do you do?

I work with an app based fitness startup where I manage the customer side. I love my job as it caters to the fitness industry and I love interacting with people so I think I have landed a great job.

You often participate in marathons. How did it start?

I have ran 8 Half Marathons (21 Kms) till now. I ran my first marathon when I was 18 and it all started because I wanted to stay fit and in shape. College made me conscious about my looks. College life makes you do that, trust me! But later things changed and over a period of time running turned into a hobby.

When and how did the backward running happen?

We all have heard that necessity is the mother of invention. Something similar happened in my case. It wasn’t an invention but a discovery that I made for myself. I suffered a knee injury due to excessive running. Doctor advised me not to run. I had already registered for a marathon months in advance which I couldn’t go to due to this injury.

I started getting restless day by day. I saw all my friends running marathons and having a great time. I was truly jealous of them all. So, this led me to a research of how to safely run during an injury. There I came across a kind of running style called Backward Running or Retro Running. It is very famous in China. At first, I found this to be very strange. But I read more and more about it and gathered all the information. People in the West run backwards especially during knee injuries.

Then one fine day I decided to give backward running a try. I started running in a nearby park. It felt good on my knee. It was due to the toe to heel movement while running. The pressure directly gets absorbed by the hips and calf muscles. Slowly and gradually I started increasing the distance and started running on the roads. It was scary to run backward on roads but I had few supportive friends who used to accompany me on my runs and guide me.

Sarthak Malani Backward Runner
Sarthak Malani running backwards

And later on I started hitting the roads all by myself. My family was pretty scared of this thought of running backwards and that too on city roads. But I assured them that whatever I was doing was safe. Once I was confident about running backwards, I decided to ran the then Reliance Sabarmati Marathon Ahmedabad 2015. I told a few friends about it and even my family. To be frank, only couple of my running buddies were supportive. Everybody else only demotivated me, including my own brother. But there was nothing stopping me. I had decided and I had to do that. Because, YOLO (You Only Live Once) hahaha!

I had to watch out each and every step I took. But somehow I managed to do it. People were amazed, shocked, surprised and many made fun of me. But that’s okay. I enjoyed it. It was fun watching people’s face while running backwards. It was an amazing experience. I have ran total 3 Half Marathon backwards in Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Lonavala.

Is there any special marathon for backward running?

Not in India. In the West there are special events for Backward running but those are not marathon.

Have you received any special recognition for backward running?

Not really. But yes, I’ve managed to get media’s attention and have been covered in print media, radio and blogs. In Mumbai Marathon which is Asia’s largest marathon, I wasn’t qualified to participate, but reading my story I was given a special spot to participate.

What is your fitness advice for our readers?

I would advice what I follow for a better living.

  • Sleep for at least 7 hours
  • Have 6 healthy short meals a day.
  • Start your day with a heavy breakfast which is the most important meal of the day.
  • Do moderate exercise daily.
  • Do more of what makes you happy.
  • Keep following BuddyBits for inspirational stories!


Nishit Jariwala
From being a wannapreneur to being a nobody, life now makes sense | Living the dream