Pinkathon Pinkathon Pinkathon

Pinkathon

Run for Awareness, Run for Pride <3

Running with the Girls – By Gauri Jayaram

As a mother of two girls I love girl-power. No surprise then, that I registered for the Pinkathon as soon as I heard of this ‘girls only’ run. Frankly, I like to run with the boys too but this was something new. And so, I landed up at the start line of India’s second Pinkathon at Kanateerva Stadium, Bangalore on 7th April 2013.
Sure enough, the fun began with the guys having to stay out of the holding area. Right, a ‘girls only’ event starts with only women in the stadium – not hundreds but thousands of them. Daddys, brothers, uncles, cousins, friends and even sons hung out at the spectator area adding to the sea of pink – caps, wigs, ribbons, balloons, t-shirts and even a pink car, that belonged to my friend Giri! The warm up was just an excuse for a day time dance party and finally the race was flagged off. At the start line was RJ Rapid Rashmi, the mascot of the run. She had trained for a month to run her very first 10k. And she did.
The race was the end of almost a month long, multiple event festivities, many of which I must admit I sadly missed. But the city was abuzz with Zumba workouts, radio news, facebook updates and promo runs that both men and women participated in. The Beer Bash started small, collecting runners along the route and ended 18kms later with a few hundred runners – and lot of beer of course! The Treadathon, a 12 hour relay race on the treadmill, was the sole ‘men only’ event and many from my running group the ‘Pacemakers’ ran for the ladies. The bib collection, an event in itself, was appropriately called the Pink Carnival – a celebration complete with a live band, cute stalls where you could get your nails done (in pink of course), and an adorable pink goodie bag with plethora of offers for women and a branded t-shirt thrown in!

Imagine – all this noise about a race! A race – as in a ‘competition’. And the Pinkathon is one too – complete with meaty prizes for the top three finishers in each category – the 3Km, the 5km and the 10km. Two of three first prizes were bagged by my friends – Zumba queen TimTim Sharma and fitness instructor Neera Katwal.So, yes, the Pinkathon is a race too. But, it is not really about podium finishes, distance or timing (though it can be if you want it to be). To me it’s a race ‘with’ the girls, not against them. It is a race for things we women need and deserve – good health, peace of mind and ‘me time’! It is an attempt to remind us that we owe it to ourselves to stay healthy so we can be all the things we are meant to be. It is a wake-up call to the fact that breast cancer is no longer something that happens to the neighbour! To understand the probability write the names of 21 women you really like and add your own name to that list. Chances are that one person on that list is likely to suffer from cancer – it is that scary! But it doesn’t have to be. Prevention, early detection and treatment exist, and that message is core to the Pinkathon – a run that supports Women’s Cancer Initiative, a run that started with a survivor sharing her story.So what’s better than some education delivered unconventionally- in a fun, happy way to spread this important message? I’ll tell you what’s better: men of all ages, shapes and sizes along the race course cheering thousands of women who are running. Sisterhood and bonding that comes from doing something fun together! Thousands of women (75% of all participants I hear) getting out there, doing something for the first time in their lives; running when they can and walking when they can’t. And finally scrumptious Milind Soman patiently obliging participants who want a picture with him – yup that too!As I left for home after the race that day, I couldn’t decide if it was more inspiring to see Suresh’s wife and 15 year old daughter run together for the first time or meeting the nameless 66 year old who ran her very first race.

The answer to ‘why running?’ lies in my ‘super-woman’ tag. I am frequently asked how I manage raising children, running two companies on a full time basis, travelling for fun and for work, writing and going to college. Let me start by confessing that that I am not a super-woman. In fact, according to me ‘super-woman’ is a fallacy – super-woman doesn’t exist! Truth is that I am like any other woman, trying to do the things I love to do and though I have an incredibly supportive family, I have my days – and some are really bad!

But if there is one thing that gives balance to my crowed life with multiple roles, it is my love for sports. Get that right – running is not something that takes from my limited time, it is something that gives sanity to my life (and therefore to the lives of those who have to survive in close proximity to me). It’s like an investment or maybe even insurance! No matter what it is that I have to deal with I know that a little time out on my feet will shrink mountains for me – after all the mountain is in the mind. Running makes me feel invincible. It helps me to think things through and makes me forgive when I am tempted to kill someone. And, while I get all done with stress busting, I am pretty sure that running is what keep me strong and healthy. But don’t take my word for it. I say experience yourself – Pinkathon gives you the chance to do so.

With a string of Indian cities it is visiting, Pinkathon is set to become the biggest only-women 10K run in the world. Mark your calendar, set out on that journey, get out there and like my favourite t-shirt slogan reads ‘kick some ASSphalt’. Go on girls, get wise enough to be foolish!

- Gauri Jayaram

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