The Delhi girls on the Mumbai hoarding you should know about

Right to comfort: The run sparked similar events in other cities, like Hyderabad  

Over the weekend, Nikita Seth, 36, and Tanya Agarwal, 39, who started the #ShedItRun movement, were up on a hoarding across from Mumbai’s Juhu Garden. As influencers for Nike India’s Make The World Listen campaign, they, along with several others from the Nike team led a 3- kilometre run in a loop around Jio Garden. About 2,200 women attended and the first 500 got free sports bras. The women were invited to participate in a few other activities, including football and cricket.

“The purpose was to drop the judgement around running in sports bras, one of the most comfortable forms of dress in our hot weather. It was also to promote the right sports bra,” says Agarwal.

The Delhi girls on the Mumbai hoarding you should know about

For Nike, this was a culmination of what had started during the Mumbai marathon in January, when five Nike athletes (sportspeople Nike supports) ran in sports bras. In the run-up to Saturday’s event, there was six weeks of training across sports that women could participate in. On the final day, many women chose to run in sports bras.

Agarwal and Seth had performed a social experiment last September, where they ‘recruited’ a bunch of 13 women to run around Delhi’s Nehru Park in sports bras. It was meant to be a statement: “Women were running in gear most comfortable to them all over the world, but in Delhi, we end up covering ourselves,” says Agarwal.

The run set off a spark with women in other cities, and Mihira Appnender, 29, from Hyderabad started the movement there. Working with children, she’d been talking about safe and unsafe touch, which led to conversations about body image. She herself had been actively playing sport, specifically football, not often associated with women. Everything came together when she heard about the Delhi girls. In November last year, at a race, she and a few others ran in their sports bras.

“The idea is to keep doing it, and normalise it, so the narrative changes from what women’s bodies should look like to what the body can do,” she says. At this year’s Pinkathon, when they repeated the run, two other women whipped off their tees and joined them, going beyond the what-people-will-say narrative, and also revealing how the perception of one’s own body can change with support.

This year, Seth and Agarwal are planning to take #ShedItRun a step further, to be more inclusive: “We want women with a sedentary lifestyle to move. Sports changes your outlook; it gives you a certain rush and happiness that takes away the blues that most women face while raising kids and families,” says Agarwal. The idea is to get women to identify their ‘fuel’, whether running, biking, swimming or any sport.

Watch out for activities in June. Email in Delhi; in Hyderabad

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2021 1:19:03 PM |

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