Women created history on Sunday as they turned up in droves at the Bandra-Kurla Complex to participate in the DNA I Can Women’s Half Marathon.
Women, old and young, rich and poor, veteran runners and freshers, made the 21-km inaugural run — aimed at inspiring women to reach great heights while raising awareness about cervical cancer, educating the girl child and making public places safe for women — a thumping success as they overcame
exhaustion to cross the finishing line.
Ayesha Patel turned 22 on Sunday. But instead of pampering herself on her birthday she decided to run the marathon. “I wanted to do something different for my birthday, something that would make me feel good about myself,” she said. “I support all the causes that the DNA marathon is associated with… especially, educating the girl child and raising awareness about cervical cancer. Running the marathon made my birthday special.”
This is Patel’s first marathon and the pain in her body is unlikely to go away anytime soon. But she has no complaints.
“I was determined to complete the marathon. I did not walk even once… that was really special,” she said.
Almost every one of the 2500 who ran the marathon on Sunday gave the thumbs up to DNA for organising the event “so well”, as a few put it. Radhika Misquita, 30, a veteran of five marathons, had only words of praise. Sunday’s marathon was by far the most pleasurable run, she said. “I just wish there were a few more boards giving directions… I am very bad with directions so, it would have helped me slightly. But on the whole it was a great run.”
Though Misquita joined for the “joy of running”, she felt a lot could be achieved regarding the safety of women at public places. “When I train on the roads, I always have a male partner running beside me,” she said. “And I have been teased on a couple of occasions. So, this is definitely a cause that I support.”
It was not only women from the city who joined the marathon but also foreigners like Eleanor Foot from San Francisco who participated. “The fact that it was an all women’s run really attracted me,” the 24-year old said. Foot is attached with a consulting firm in the city. “I was very pleased with the level of encouragement and cheering… it made my day.”
True, the run was for women. But men too turned up in strong numbers to cheer their wives or daughters or sisters or friends. Hemant Sutur, a graphic designer who runs a portal for cancer patients, came to cheer his wife Geeta. “The fact that the DNA Women’s Half Marathon is aimed at raising awareness about cervical cancer got us motivated,” he said holding a video camera while waiting for his wife to cross the finishing line.