India’s premier women-centric running event Pinkathon recently finished its Chennai leg, and founder Milind Soman, one of the mobiefit RUN icons, was overwhelmed by the turn-out in the southern Indian city for the 10K runs.

Speaking to The Hindu, Milind said “Running is just symbolic. The objective is make them realise the importance and value of their body and health, inspiring them to take time out for it. I believe the first step to empowerment is taking take charge of your health. What follows this is boosting of confidence and self-belief .”

He went on to add that starting any physical activity can be the gateway – whether it is yoga or cycling. He also suggested that women should understand the importance of fitness by themselves and arrive at the decision to start getting active. “It is a decision and discipline which each must explore and arrive at rather than thinking ‘Milind Soman runs, so must I’. No. Do what you like to stay healthy and fit,” he added.

The Chennai leg of the Pinkathon series coincided with Mother’s Day and hence the organisers had included women from an old age home in the runners’ list. “You’ll be surprised they took part in the three and five kilometre events. Their joy and enthusiasm was infectious,” Milind said.  For the Delhi leg efforts are on to rope in acid attack victims as  part of a similar upliftment exercise, he revealed.

Pinkathon has gone from a single-city events with just over 200 runners to a multi-city extravaganza, and various satellite events. Now over 1000 women turn up for the bigger events in Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi. “This change in mind-set is of prime importance in a patriarchal world of ours. There is a need to get over this.”

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