Many fitness advocates would tell you that a fitter nation starts with fit women. Fitness among women breeds a culture of health and well-being in the family. In a country like India, where issues of personal safety, security and abuse against women have grabbed the headlines world over, fitness can be used not just for physical well-being but also as an empowerment tool. And that’s why we are seeing a proliferation of women-only running events in the country, right from the likes of Pinkathon to newer events that are more localised. As we usher in the International Women’s Day on March 8, 2016, let’s take a look at the marathons that are making a difference in the lives of women in the Indian context.

DNA ICan Run
Billed as India and Asia’s only half marathon for women, the DNA ICan Women’s Half Marathon has already created a lot of buzz by getting a number of celebrities on board. The run will be held on March 13, 2016. Organized by leading Indian news daily Daily News and Analysis (DNA), the event comprises of half marathon, a 10K and 5K run. Held to celebrate Women’s Day, the proceeds from the run will go towards charities working in girl child education. The registration fee is the same for each run type, with individual registration set at Rs 999, and a tag-along entry fee of Rs 899. This is applicable in case a runner tags another participant into the race. Corporate registration is set at Rs 849 for a minimum of five entries.

Womanathon
A tri-city run organized simultaneously in Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai, Womanathon is an initiative that encourages runners to conquer the miles for the women in their lives. This year’s race supports the cause for ending violence against women; it is also using proceeds from the event towards helping in treatment of diseases in women and children. Categories include 3K, 5K and 10K runs open to everyone, with Zumba sessions for all participants. The Womanathon is scheduled for April 3, 2016.

Women-only marathons in India are seeing stronger turnouts by the year
Women-only marathons in India are seeing stronger turnouts by the year (Image: Diligent Media Corporation)

Pinkathon
While the Hyderabad Pinkathon ended this weekend, this series of women-only runs across India will continue.

Pinkathon is held across the country in various cities (Image courtesy Alchemy Pixels)
Pinkathon is held across the country in various cities (Image courtesy Alchemy Pixels)

The organisers have not announced the date of the next Pinkathon, but events in Mumbai, Delhi and Ahmedabad, among other cities are still to come. The Pinkathon is essentially a 10K, a 5K and a 3K held in different cities around the country, and is only for women. The event aims to encourage women to live healthy and stay fit. The Pinkathon also aims to raise awareness about breast cancer, its causes and its prevention. You can sign up for upcoming races here.

mobiefit co-founder Gul Panag and mobiefit RUN fitness icon Milind Soman are actively involved in the Pinkathon
mobiefit co-founder Gul Panag and mobiefit RUN fitness icon Milind Soman are actively involved in the Pinkathon

Nilgiris 100
In its fifth edition in 2016, the Nilgiris 100 will be conducted on a single day for both men and women, with a special focus on promoting women in ultra-running. Nilgiris 100 Ultra is an North Face UTMB qualifier with 2 points in the 100Kms category, awarded by ITRA (International Trail Running Association). Last date for registration is October 1, 2016 and the ultra-runs will be held on November 12 and 13, 2016. Women runners can compete in the 25K, 50K and 100K trail runs.

Main image: Diligent Media Corporation

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