Running for Milind Soman is more than fitness and believes that more and more women should do it
Your breath escapes in little puffs that linger in the smoggy streets of a city. Sweat trickles down your back, leaving clammy patches on your t-shirt, staining it a deeper shade of the base colour. Your heart quickens and thumps against your chest in a disjointed staccato while your lungs are almost on fire. Yet you are driven to do it over and over again, voluntarily stumbling out of bed on a sleepy Sunday to pound the pavements because for all the pain and anguish it creates, the experience is truly worth it.
Welcome to the world of the long distance runner — one that you will not understand unless you are yourself a part of it. And actor, model and entrepreneur Milind Soman certainly is part of that world, “Running is one of the most amazing things in the world,” he says. “It makes me feel like I am floating.”
Here in the city to announce the Bangalore edition of the Pinkathon — a 10 km all-woman’s running event Milind, says that he hopes to encourage running and raise awareness of breast cancer through this initiative, “I wanted women to embrace a healthier lifestyle and one of the easiest ways of doing it is to run. Unfortunately, in most running events 85-90 per cent of the participants are men and only a few are women. I wanted to create a running forum exclusively for women. We also wanted to raise awareness of breast cancer. It is far more prevalent than you think — 1/8 women will develop it worldwide and 1/22 in India. It is curable if caught in the early stages and if you are healthy and fit it becomes easier to fight diseases. This is an event that balances fun and seriousness and makes you more aware of what you need to do,” he says.
Talking about his own induction into running, “I’ve always wanted to run a marathon and climb Mount Everest. It was something real men were supposed to have done,” he laughs adding however, “I always hated running. Being a swimmer, I had to run to cross train and it was not an activity I really enjoyed.”
However, when he came across an announcement for a run, he was emboldened to register and began training for it. “I trained for 3-4 months and realised that I could actually run. That changed my attitude towards running,” he says.
Milind is an advocate of barefoot running because he believes it helps you get more aware of your technique and more awareness leads to less injury. He admits that many runners tend to develop injuries because, “Well they start running in the later years of their life. This sudden change ends up putting up a lot of stress on your body, especially if you end up doing too much too soon,” he says.
Yet he continues to believe that a running programme is one of the best ways to keep fit and healthy. “If one wants to spread a message of health, it is best done through women as they are the ones who instil lifestyle habits in a household. ”