Monday, 30th October 2017

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Colour of Sunday pink as 3000 hit tracks

The youngest in the race were babies in slings carried by their mothers in the 'Baby Wearing Moms' category

By Rith Basu in Calcutta
  • Published 8.04.19, 2:30 AM
  • Updated 8.04.19, 2:30 AM
  • 2 mins read
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Participants at the third edition of Pinkathon, in association with The Telegraph, warm up to some zumba beats on Sunday morning. Picture by Gautam Bose

At least 3,000 thousand women ran a road race early on Sunday undeterred by Saturday night's inclement weather that forced a last-minute change from a slushy Maidan to the Red Road.

Edition 3 of Pinkathon, in association with The Telegraph, saw a rise in the number of visually impaired runners, including some with total loss of vision in both eyes, and threw up stories of women who benefited from running and inspired friends and family to join.

The youngest in the race were babies in slings carried by their mothers in the “Baby Wearing Moms” category. While most of the new mothers chose the 3K run, Devleena Chakraborty, who was running with her 15-month-old child, did the 5K.

Like many participants who hit the road on Sunday, she said she had been worried that the event might get washed out because of Saturday night’s rain. But she was also certain that the weather would be cooler and more comfortable to run, she said.

Three of the participants in various age groups donated their hair, which would be used to make wigs for cancer patients.

Two participants compete against each other with 20 push-ups for a selfie with Milind Soman, the co-founder of Pinkathon
Two participants compete against each other with 20 push-ups for a selfie with Milind Soman, the co-founder of Pinkathon Picture by Gautam Bose

The youngest donor was Kaavya Jain of Sushila Birla Girls’ School. “I am donating my hair because I want to bring a smile on the face of another child suffering from cancer,” she said.

Five women who have survived acid attacks ran the 3K run. One of them now works with the NGO, Acid Survivors and Women Welfare Foundation. She said a spurned lover had thrown acid at her when she was returning home from school as a Class XI student.

The rain stopped around four hours before the flag-off of the first race at 4.30am and the minimum temperature read 20.1 degrees Celsius, five notches below normal.

The Calcutta Rangers Club ground on the Maidan, where the main dais, tents, temporary holding areas for the various categories (21K, 10K, 5K, 3K and the visually-impaired run) had been set up had ankle-deep water in patches because of the rain and 64kmph squall on Saturday night.

Milind Soman with the youngest participants, babies in slings carried by their mothers, at the start of the race called ‘Baby Wearing Moms’
Milind Soman with the youngest participants, babies in slings carried by their mothers, at the start of the race called ‘Baby Wearing Moms’ Picture by Gautam Bose

Signage tumbled and tents were damaged, forcing the organisers to shift the main dais to Red Road.

“Coming for the run in such huge numbers despite the rough weather, the women of Calcutta have shown they take their fitness seriously. Eighty per cent of the turnout was first-timers, which is exactly what we want. It means new people are taking up the sport,” Milind Soman, the co-founder of Pinkathon, told Metro.

On the field were many mother-daughter pairs, where one inspired the other to participate. Neha Bagri from Burrabazar convinced her mother Urmila Upadhyay, 59, to come for the run. She completed 3K and stood out in the crowd running in a sari.

The visually-impaired — including some with complete loss of vision in both eyes — with their partners, moments before Milind Soman flagged off the race
The visually-impaired — including some with complete loss of vision in both eyes — with their partners, moments before Milind Soman flagged off the race Picture by Gautam Bose

It was just the other way round for Arshiya Chakraborty, a Class XII student of GD Birla Centre for Education, who was inspired by her mother Rajashree, who was bitten by the running bug about a year ago.

Kaavya Jain with Milind Soman after donating her hair for wigs for children suffering from cancer
Kaavya Jain with Milind Soman after donating her hair for wigs for children suffering from cancer Picture by Gautam Bose

The daughter finished the 5K behind her mother but promised to catch up soon.

Participation increased from 16 to 28 in the run for the visually-impaired category, where every girl ran holding the hand of an “ally”, a partner. Among them was Anjana Mondal who is also into trekking.