HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - Joyjit Kundu never considered himself much of an athlete. Whether he was too busy with work, or just didn’t have an interest, working out in general wasn’t in his regular routine.

But today – thanks to a hometown race – Kundu has become a literal world runner.

The 45-year-old Bridgewater resident celebrated a milestone recently. He finished the Boston Marathon on April 15, making him a finisher of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, a series of six of the largest marathons in the world. The races take place in Tokyo, London, Berlin, New York, Chicago and Boston.

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Kundu finished the prestigious Boston race in 3:08, surpassing the necessary qualifying time of 3:20 for the 2020 Boston Marathon.

“It was a great feeling to complete my World Marathon Majors journey,” Kundu said.

Although his sneakers have made strides around the world, Kundu owes his new-found passion for running to the Hillsborough YMCA Hop 5K, one of Somerset County’s premier races that brings the community together. Kundu first heard about the Hop 5K when his two children joined the Somerset Valley YMCA swim team after the family moved from Texas to New Jersey. Y swim coaches told Kundu about the race and decided to give it a try in 2013. Since then, has done almost every Hop 5K.

“What I like about the Hop 5K is that it’s an event that gets families together and local people involved,” Kundu said. “It has done a very good job of connecting people within the community. It’s a very good course to run, too.”

Kundu never thought he’d be a competitive runner, let alone become one of only 6,000 people internationally who have completed the World Marathon Majors. But the Hop 5K transformed him.

“I fell in love with the sport. Running has become part of my routine,” he said.

Kundu runs six days a week and practices yoga. He trains a little harder when it’s marathon time.

So what’s next for the distance runner?             

“I want to be more strategic with my marathons,” he said. “Maybe slow down and only do two marathons a year.”

One thing that hasn’t slowed down, however, is his passion for his favorite local race. He and his family will be participating in the next Hillsborough Hop 5K on Saturday, June 1.  

“The Hop 5K is an inspiration to me,” Kundu said. “If I didn’t do the Hop 5K, I might not be running today.”