Run for yourself, run with Pinkathon

The thought of waking up at the crack of dawn to go for a run gives me the shivers, irrespective of the time of the year.

  • I’m the kind that wakes up early only for travel or in a life-death situation
  • I’m also that person who’ll run only when food is involved
  • I’m the one who never quite understood ‘running’ & feels like an out-of-control scooter going downhill when asked to ‘run’

The reasons seemed good enough to turn my back on all things ‘running’ and ‘marathon’ – up until conversations with these awe-inspiring three ladies and a childhood crush…

Man Kaur | 103 | Track-and-field athlete

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Man Kaur, the 103-year-old track-and-field athlete who also holds world records in ‘over 100 years old categories’ for related events, started training only at the age of 93. An expert at shot put and javelin throw (among other sports), this diminutive grand old lady packs a punch. She says…
Love watching them run: When I first started running, I noticed there were hardly other runners, irrespective of age. But over the years, I see more and more people coming to watch me run and then, so many of them run with me. It feels good. Especially when women come to me and say, “Biji, we read about you in the paper. We were so motivated that we had to come and run. Now, it’s part of our lives.” These words inspire me to run more.
Watch what you eat: The trend of eating outside is the cause of several ailments. You must watch what you eat – consume as much homemade food as possible. Natural and pure is the key to healthy eating. Do away with refined sugar and dairy products. Not even ghee!
Run for your life: Your motto in life should be ‘to eat well, run well and be good people’. Remember, if a woman is fit, then, and only then, will the family be fit.

– The first marathon was in honour of Greek soldier Pheidippides who (according to fables) ran from the Battle of Marathon to Athens to deliver the news of victory.
– Marathon was an event in the original modern Olympic circa 1896.
– Number of marathons held worldwide in a year is more than 800.
– French athlete Marie-Louise Ledru said to be the first woman to complete a marathon in 1918.

Pragnya Shah | 58 | Breast cancer survivor

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Pragnya Sunil Shah, 58 years old, a breast cancer survivor has been part of the Pinkathon family for a while. Diagnosed in 2013, her life was a series of surgeries and struggles to overcome this feeling of being ‘betrayed by life’. It took her son’s words to boost Pragna’s morale, and with the support of her husband, the bank employee was back on the track in no time!
Getting back on track: “Maa, people in the United States run marathons after battling such diseases. Even you can do it!” – these words inspired me to get back to fitness post the cancer treatment. When I first met Milind, before the last marathon, I said I’d run 10kms but he told me to do the 21kms stretch. I couldn’t (and didn’t want to) say no. So, I began training and kept my word!
Give your best: Women always treat themselves as second-grade citizens. I want to say you can be the best mother, the best wife, best daughter only if you are healthy. Take care of your health and fitness, and then give the best of you to society.
Be a support system: Family members and men in the family must be supportive. My husband and doctors have been my biggest support system; my husband has run with me. Understand that if the woman of the family is healthy, she will ensure everyone else is hale and hearty.

– Improve overall health
– Boost diet and sleep patterns
– Helps set a workout routine
– Increased self-confidence & feeling of accomplishment
– Elevates mood to reduce stress and anxiety
– Set & achieve a life goal
– Motivate self (and others)

Geeta S Rao | 41 | Para-triathlete

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Geeta S Rao, 41 years, an entrepreneur by profession is a well-known name in the cycling circuit with several records to her name. Affected by polio at the age of 3, Geeta has come a long way from the time she wanted to kill herself due to the challenges of physical disabilities. Today, she leaves everyone spellbound with her determination.
Focussed on the goal: I have the bad habit of chasing my dreams. I am doing everything I can to achieve my ultimate goal – to participate in the Iron Man. All the cycling, swimming and marathons I’ve taken part is part of the journey to being an Iron Woman.
Run or walk: I can’t run because of my polio-affected left leg. But that does not stop me. I walk at my own pace. I participate in events not because I’ve seen someone else do it but because I want to. I am self-motivated. Pinkathon will be my second marathon, the first marathon I took part in was in 2019 in Ahmedabad, organised by a multinational conglomerate. I was part of the 21kms stretch and completed it by walking at my own set pace.
Fitness is the key: There’s a basic fact of life that people tend to forget. Irrespective of the kind of wealth you have, you can never buy fitness. However, if you have health and you are fit, you can aim for and achieve everything!

These are excerpts from the conversations with all four individuals who’ve extended an invite to all women of Ahmedabad to run with them. So be it for fitness, to meet these extraordinary women, to take a step towards your goal or for bragging rights, register to run the Pinkathon on March 1 – online registrations close on 21 February 2020. More details at Pinkathon’s official website    

Milind Soman | 54 | fitness promoter & founder of Pinkathon

Today, Milind Soman’s name is identified as much with fitness as it has been with fashion. One of the main powers behind Pinkathon, Milind’s journey has been incredible – most of which can be read about on the internet and a few bits here.
Women who inspire: While there are too many to count, I’d like to mention the one person because of who we adopted the cause of breast cancer in the first Pinkathon. Devika Bhojwani, a friend, was the one who suggested we take up the cause of breast cancer through our run. The idea came from the fact that she too had been affected but never spoke about it because she wasn’t comfortable. She is privileged but even she couldn’t talk about breast cancer because of the awkwardness and embarrassment. This made us take up the cause – to create a platform.
All about women: Several women started running with Pinkathon – they began with 3kms and are now running/walking 100kms – these women are amazing. All their lives they’ve done what women are traditionally told to do – until they found this space in which they can explore themselves. This is one space where they can take control of their life. They can (and do) say “I can run 100 miles if I want. I’m going to take care of my health. I’m not going to be sick anymore. I’m going to inspire other women.”
For health & fitness: Unlike the scenario around 8-9 years ago, there is a better understanding of the concept of health today. But there is still a confusion between the concept of fitness, health and looks. I’ve also seen that after a certain age, people tend to give up. I meet people every day who say things like “I’m 40 or 45 and I can’t do it.” I tell them to look at my mother who started trekking at 60 and Man Kaur who started running at 93.

You can never give up and you shouldn’t ever – that’s what life is about. You have to be as fit as you can, as healthy as you can, as good a person as you can for all your life. You can never give up or do less than you are capable of.

The blogger was invited to attend a press conference/ interaction with Pinkathon mascots at Hyatt Regency, Ahmedabad.
Group & location photographs courtesy: Hyatt Regency, Ahmedabad


  • Posted 20/02/2020 4:04 am
    by Raka

    Very motivating article!!