Stay in the pink of health

Anjali Jhangiani
Tuesday, 10 October 2017

At the launch of thefifth edition of Pinkathon, Milind Soman, one of the founders of the event, talks about the importance of women prioritising their own health

We wanted to emphasise the fact that to take out time for their own health is not just important for women, but also for their families. Because when they lead by example by adopting an active and healthy lifestyle, value their health, and respect their body and mind, then their children will grow up in a more positive atmosphere,” said actor, model, and fitness promoter Milind Soman as he launched the fifth edition of Colors Pinkathon Empowering Indian Women Inspiring Partners Bajaj Electricals at High Spirits Cafe, Koregaon Park, on Monday, October 9. 

As women in the audience nodded in agreement, Milind, who is also one of the founders of the women’s running event, went on to deliver words of encouragement to them to take their health seriously and make it their first priority, and dissed the guilt that is associated with taking time out of their lives, which revolves around their job, home and family, to take care of themselves. 

With lifestyle diseases on the rise, not just in India but all over the world, Milind believes that it’s not enough to have medical treatment available, but individuals need to start taking care of their health. “It’s not that the world is getting sicker, but people are forgetting to take care of their health, which has been given to them as a gift by nature,” said he. 

Pinkathon participants are offered a free medical check-up, and if she is over the age of 45, a free mammogram by Apollo Hospitals too. But Milind is upset that women are not enthusiastically using these privileges. “We give this offer at every Pinkathon, but we find that only 2 per cent use it. Even when you’re giving them a test that is worth thousands of rupees for free, they will not take it. When we say that this test can even save your life, they don’t take it. They don’t want to take out time to go all the way to the hospital and spend that one day to do the tests. We say you can donate it to people who cannot afford this, even that is not done. Only talking about it and discussing it can bring about a change in their mindset,” said he. 

Last year, the event saw the participation of over 70,000 women  across the country. “It is not for professional or regular runners, it is for women who have never run, who have never come out of their home, who have never taken that step towards fitness. It is an event where women from all walks of life, all economic backgrounds and communities come together, wear whatever they are comfortable in, be it a salwar-kameez, a saree, a burkha or shorts, and run. Some of them are cancer survivors, some of them suffer from thyroid, some of them have heart disorders, some of them have visual or hearing impairment — we welcome them all. We actively encourage women who would otherwise be isolated, to come, participate and celebrate with us. Rather than a run, the event is a celebration of women’s health,” said he. 

Milind has collaborated with Nida Mahmood to bring out a sustainable athleisure range. The outfits are made of recycled plastic bottles, is anti-microbial and has quick dry technology. The collection has a running saree, which Milind shares, is inspired by Pinkathon. 

“It was one of the aspects we realised through Pinkathon that a lot of women do not feel comfortable in running gear. We don’t want them to wear something that they are not comfortable in, but make sure that it is suitable for exercise. Women used to ride horses, work in the fields in sarees, in fact they still do, but the urban communities have lost that comfort. We made the running saree for women who want to exercise with the Indian silhouette. They don’t have to wear tights and shorts and tank tops, they can wear Indian clothes designed in a way that they’re more comfortable to exercise in,” said Milind. 

While some women want to normalise running in their sports bras, the running saree might seem regressive. But Milind clears the air. “There are a lot of people promoting a lot of things, but it’s not necessary that everyone is comfortable with what these people are promoting. The basic premise of Pinkathon itself is just about making things okay. We want to say it’s okay to run in a saree and it’s also okay to run in a sports bra. Both ways there are restrictions. Clothes should not become an issue at all,” he concluded.  

The event will be held at Mulik Ground on November 26. Registrations for 3km, 5km and 10km multi-category runs are on. For 21km, send mail to

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