The Pinkathon Goes to Raipur.

Two days left to register!

So, you’ve got over Diwali, and probably over indulged somewhat. It’s time to think about running (or at least walking) some of those extra kgs off.  How about combining some exercise with one of the most beautiful parts of ‘off beat’ India?  Can it get any better?  Well, yes actually, it’s also supporting a very good cause indeed.  What am I talking about? The Pinkathon of course, which is going rural for the first time!

For those of you who don’t know, the Pinkathon is India’s Biggest Women’s run and was created with the objective of spreading awareness about women’s health related issues, breast cancer in particular. Through the Pinkathon women are encouraged to adopt health and fitness in their daily lifestyles by means of developing an active lifestyle.  At the core of this pan India project is the run in each city, built around which are year-round training sessions, free offers of medical check-ups and mammograms for all participants, training workshops and counselling sessions for various marginalized communities and even a symbolic planting of 1000 trees in each city to make a stronger connection between the health of each individual and the health of the environment.  See, didn’t I tell you it was a great idea?

However, and here comes the difference, until now, it has operated in major cities across India however, it is now going rural, well to the gateway of rural India at least, and this is where we meet Sophie Hartman, an avid runner (she is half my size, there is a message in there somewhere) and specialist in this particular region of central India – yes, even I am jealous.

Sophie was asked by Nitu Verna, a Raipur based physiotherapist with the energy of a village full of women, to assist with raising funds for Raipur Going Pink. (Sophie has a reputation for raising funds for various water projects in Chhattisgarh through sponsored runs in India and the U.K.

Given her passion for central India and working with the rural populations there, she decided the first thing she wanted to do was to try to make the event open to more than just middle class city dwellers. She had enjoyed the most glorious run of her life at a government funded and superbly publicised half marathon in Raipur in February 2017 where, despite her utter rage at the women starting after the men, they overtook half the blokes in under a mile and she was surrounded by this fantastic bunch of mainly village women, most of them barefoot, none of them who’d run before but who were all fit as fiddles due to their farming lifestyles. They didn’t need to be pushed off the couch and onto the racetrack like the city ladies; but they do need access to good health care, they do need to hear that it is important and not shameful to go to the Dr if they find a breast lump or their periods are awry. They also deserve access to the fun of it all.

So, she immediately started a sponsorship drive in the UK to help take a bunch of local ladies from the villages around Bhoramdeo, where she runs her rural holidays, to give them access and knowledge about health care and a healthy life style.  This was met with huge generosity, a friend from Oxfam India then joined the party and they have committed to bringing 100 women from villages in which they work; the collector of Jashpur District (a woman) is bringing fifty women and medics and social workers are also piling in with offers of medical camps and talks on hygiene.

If you want to join in the fun and help a great cause then you can register here:

However, if you can’t make it, you can show your support by sponsoring a village woman to be able to run in the race Sophie will tell you how:

Go on, do it, you know you want to!


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