For the November 2015 Pinkathon, three generations of women in my family participated. It started with my mother – she registered first. She had already done a 5k marathon once before, and was very enthusiastic about the Pinkathon. I, however, had never run one and was apprehensive. She convinced me to register for the 3k walk-run, and eventually I agreed. Together, we convinced my aunt and her 10 year old daughter to join us as well – they registered as a mother-daughter pair too. (Unfortunately, in the end, they couldn’t run the marathon.) With this army of four girls, we decided to recruit my grandmother, her sister, and niece. Both my grannies were used to walking; in fact, they loved it, but they didn’t want to run a marathon. After a lot of coaxing and convincing, and assuring them that they could walk the three kilometres if they didn’t want to run, they agreed to join the gang. We had a last-minute addition too, taking the Marathon Family’s count to 8. What happened was, my mom had gone to collect our marathon bibs. While waiting in line there, she called my sister-in-law, who was in town at the time, and asked her to join us for the event. She agreed, and my mother registered for her right away.
On the day of the marathon, we were suited up and excited to start off. All the participants were warming up on the IISER ground with cool music and fun dance steps. Along with us, we saw mothers with their babies in baby carriers and cancer survivors getting warmed up as well. I felt awed by their decision to run a marathon.
My mother, my aunt, and my sister-in-law were running the 5k, whereas both my grandmothers and I had signed up for the 3k. The event was flagged off – my grandmothers determinedly walked the whole three kilometres. I walked-ran the three long kilometres, determined to finish no matter what. The 5k girls, in my opinion, were Superwomen – they were doing two kilometres more than I was struggling to finish, even! All six of us reached the finish line separately, amidst the cheering and clapping – we were all winners in our own eyes. We got together, high-fived each other and took pictures. Just as we were about to collect our well-earned medals, Ambassador Milind Soman requested all the ladies ‘older than sixty years of age’ who had run the marathon to come up on stage. All of us were surprised to see so many young-hearted senior ladies going up on stage. And, we were immensely proud of our two grandmothers (aged 74 and 72) who were a part of those Young ladies. We were way more excited than our grandmothers at the fact that they were sharing the stage with the one and only Milind Soman! These young-hearted ladies were really an inspiration to a lot of us, proving that we too could do it, irrespective of age.
There were a large number of women including the visually impaired, cancer survivors and women from the ‘Swach’ group who were participating. This made me think about running in both its aspects – physiological and psychological. I always believed I could never walk a kilometre, leave alone run a marathon. That day I realised that you can run no matter what your circumstances; all you need is the grit and determination to make it to the finish line. Running is good for our health, no doubt. But I think it also helps us prove to ourselves that we’re capable of doing a lot more than we dare to think possible. The first step is always the hardest, but the second and third become easier. This applies to everything in our lives, and I think running the 3k showed me that I am capable of a lot more than I’ve ever thought.
This Pinkathon was an experience to be remembered, cherished, and looked back upon as a day of fun and determination.