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Punjabi Running Club’s Story

Lali Sidhu and Iqbal Dhatt were doing the Grouse Grind together ten years ago. As they talked, they realized that there was not enough representation in the world of running from Punjabi people in Surrey.

They needed to create an opportunity for more people to start running in their community and generate awareness about the benefits of running. And so, these two long-time friends started The Punjabi Running Club. It was a place for family and friends to meet on the track and share a common interest.

Lali did his first half marathon at the BMO run in 2012. He’s been doing full marathons for 7 to 8 years.

As soon as you see Lali, you can tell that he is a runner. He has the perfect body for running. He is tall and slim, with long legs that look like they could move very quickly. He calls himself “recreationally competitive.” A very apt term.
He has competed in the San Francisco and Seattle marathons.

The Club took a trip to the Las Vegas marathon involving six families and 15 people. They have gone to Zion Canyon and Bryce Canyon. They even once hiked the Grand Canyon rim to rim; the 35 km trek took 15 hours. The Punjabi Running Club has some adventures that are not for the faint of heart.

They would meet at Bear Creek Park. At first, there were only a few members in the Club, and they were primarily men. Then they reached out to their wives and other women. Before they knew it, there were 30 runners. The numbers grew to between 60 and 70 in no time. Suddenly it was customary to see Punjabi people regularly running through the streets of Surrey.

There are no fees and The Club structure is informal. If you want to show up, you show up. Just an opportunity to exercise, socialize and appreciate the wonders of nature. As the Club continues to grow, so does the scope of their adventures.

Lali was fortunate enough to spend a lot of time travelling as a youth growing up in India, so he wanted to bring that sense of adventure and travel to The Punjabi Running Club. He first came to Canada in 1994 and got a job for a large company working in automation and controls. He soon discovered a love for building houses. His zest for life and adventure is shared with his wife and two sons. His journeys often include running, hiking and biking. He once did an 8500 km tour from Montana through Yellowstone National Park and back to California!

The Punjabi Running Club also regularly goes on mountain trips. They have visited and run at Black Tusk, Mount Brunswick and Panorama Ridge. They have an annual runners’ party and can be seen running the Vaisakhi route during the annual Vaisakhi parade and celebrations.

Another fantastic trip involving many different families is the relay from Banff to Jasper. Dozens of runners gather to make this incredibly beautiful trip. The logistics alone for this adventure are supremely impressive as the support team needed to gather all the runners together to meet in Jasper almost boggles the mind.

They foster a love for the beauty of nature, running everywhere, from different trails to local streets and even across bridges. They also help promote a healthy lifestyle and a sense of family and community. But most importantly, it seems, The Punjabi Running Club is about developing deep friendships and an incredible feeling of adventure.
Beyond all this, The Punjabi Running Club is open to runners at all levels. Many of The Club Members are Elite or Ultra runners, but The Club is inclusive and makes sure that no one is left behind!
Thank goodness Lali Sidhu and Iqbal Dhatt did that Grouse Grind together almost ten years ago.

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