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Women on the streets watch out for their safety on a regular basis; training enough to run the most arduous marathon?
About a year back, I started to train for marathons, more as a way to stay fit than for the joy of running. Six months of training culminated in me taking part in the Vodafone Coimbatore (Half) Marathon 2014. Having done only 10km runs until that point, I took a huge leap of faith and signed up for that 21.1 km run.
On the race day, before the sun could peek out of the clouds, at the sound of the guns going off, I took my first step to what would be one of the most arduous journeys in my running history. Throwing caution to the winds, I ran, slowly at first and faster as I gained confidence, but very soon I developed cramps in my legs, sprained my ankle and was forced to crawl through the entire second half of the race. By the time I reached the finish line I was completely exhausted and dehydrated and had to take help even to walk to the car.
While musing over my stupidity, I declared that the run was the hardest ever in my life! “Was it?” my mind mocks me; before I could quieten it with an assertive yes, some “not so forgotten” memories emerge out of nowhere and soon I realized, my first half marathon run really wasn’t all that hard!
The runs that were actually hard were of a totally different nature!
The run from the tight grip of an uncle, when I escaped from his dirty hands and thereby dirty mind at the age of 4 was hard!
The run from the hormone induced overtures from a bunch of ‘eve teasers’ in the bus stop, at the age of 14 was hard.
The run from a wayward loner in a deserted street which was unusually lonely, after my tuition, at the age of 17 was hard.
The run from a flock of pigs dressed decently, yet tried indecent acts under the cover of darkness in a multiplex, at the age of 19 was hard.
The run from one compartment to another begging the TTR to allot a different seat fearing a co- passenger and his uncalled for advances, at the age of 20 was hard.
The run from the stalkers who were trying to show off their ‘manliness’ in a not so manly way, at the age of 21 was hard.
The run from the moving bus packed with a bunch of hooligans ever ready to let their filthy hands brush against the lady passengers in a not so oh-I-am-so-sorry-that-was-accidental way, at the age of 23 was hard.
The run at ungodly hours from the hoots and whistles of the ruffians in their bikes while training for the upcoming races, at the age of 25 was hard.
The more I wanted to fight, the more I wanted to run.
The run from the menial attitudes. The run from the quick-to-label-victims society. The run from the fact that I alone cannot scare (however loud and bold I maybe) anyone enough into changing!
Thanks to the marathon training, I can now run faster than before, making it easier to escape from many a lewd intention.
So the next time I am about to call for an Uber ride, I will trade off the comfort of having my own private driver for my own safety and would consider running to my destination. That way I would save some money (a lot in fact) also!
At this rate, I would soon be a full marathon runner with no additional ‘training’ per se!
Image of a lady running via Shutterstock
Originally posted at author’s blog
I am fascinated by the quote "Known is a drop, unknown is an ocean".
Well said! Part and parcel of being a woman is being in fight-or-flight mode while in public, sadly enough without partner or male relative with us. Better to be in shape.
Yes Jen I totally agree. Being in shape is what a woman is rewarded with by being continuously on the run!
Loved this write up. I can easily relate myself with this write up. The marathon race being compared to the different situations in a girl’s life is well captured.
Thank you Deepa. I am glad you liked my writeup. Hope things change soon.
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