The Megapink run in Coimbatore drew in enthusiastic runners who participated for the cause of women’s health. The writer was one of them

A.Parimalam, clad in a sari and sneakers, with plaited hair and vibhooti on her forehead, rode into Cosmopolitan Club at 6 a.m. on her two-wheeler. She warmed up with a zumba routine and, later that morning, jogged right in after a three-km run. Parimalam is 65 years old.

Rohan Sathish, a Class V student at Suguna PIPS, ran his first marathon on the same day on a track still wet from the previous night’s downpour. “I watched people running in the Coimbatore marathon and wanted to run too. My mother is also running with me,” he says, stopping every now and then to retie his shoelaces.

Friends Haritha M, Krithika R and Daisy M. ran, jogged and walked in a group. It was their first marathon. They were impressed by the cause, they say, minutes before crossing the finish line.

Organised by Rock ‘n’ Run Marathon, Megapink Coimbatore was part of a 40-city run for promoting women’s fitness. What it lacked in numbers — just 348 people took part — it made up in enthusiasm.

There was Kirk McClelland, of the India Studies Program, who ran with his wife, two children, and nine students who are here on an exchange programme. His younger son, all of three, was the youngest runner of the marathon. He mostly ran, walked a bit and covered some distance perched on his father’s shoulders.

Parimalam was congratulated by all when she completed her run. She was greeted with, “Aunty, neenga thaan inspiration engalukku!” Parimalam attributed her energy to regular pilgrimages to Palani and other temples. “I’m very happy about running. My sister’s grandson told me he was going to run in Chennai. I also wanted to run. I told my daughter-in-law I wanted to run in Chennai. She told me about the Coimbatore run. Here I am,” she smiles.

People started trickling into Cosmopolitan Club at the crack of dawn. At 6.15, Abdul, who runs the Emstep-Dance and Fitness Studio, got the 200-odd people to join him in the zumba warm-up session, to the accompaniment of peppy music. Ten minutes of non-stop movement later, most were wiping sweat off their brows. But, the best part? It never felt like exercise!

The route

Once the run was flagged off, everyone turned left, ran a loop around Race Course, entered Tea Estate and got into Cosmopolitan Club. The six-km runners ran the same route twice. Accompanying the runners and joggers was M. Arun Kumar, who aspires to set a new record for the longest bicycle wheelie.

Those who completed the run got a discount coupon from Rao Hospital for a mammogram. They will also be entitled for a free breast cancer check-up. The runners were very aware about the cause for which they had just run — to promote fitness among women, many of whom ignore health at their peril.

What is Megapink?

Megapink is an initiative promoted by the Pinkathon, a 10-km running event for women. The event has been developed to explore the power and potential of social media to amplify a message. This is the first time the event has gone to 40 cities, where people simultaneously began the run at 6.30 a.m. They have a theme every year. This year, the theme is breast cancer.

(Source: The Internet)

FACTFILE

Number of participants 348; six km (223) and three km (125)

Winners (3 km) Alexander Wilson (21); Subiksh (10); and Mukhil (15)

(Six km) Santosh Sivan, Balakrishnan and Sakthi Santosh

Finishers’ certificates are available online at www.megapink.in.