How the color ‘Pink’ became a movement: Reema Sanghavi
The color pink known for its stereotypical “feminine” connotations, was no match to my tomboy attributes, writes Reema Sanghavi, Co-Founder Pinkathon & MD, Maximus Mice and Media Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
I never liked the color Pink. In Fact, I hated it!
The color PINK, known for its stereotypical “feminine” connotations, was no match to my tomboy attributes. But thankfully it was limited to my growing years.
Ironically, today, I am the founder of Asia’s largest run for women called the Pinkathon.
The simple task of goal setting helped Maximus (my event company) build the dream: Pinkathon. Seeds of Pinkathon were sown when we set the goal of making a difference in the lives of women in our society, who are not allowed to exercise their freedom and make their own choices. So the question was, how are we going to fix this? How do we make women inclusive? How do we make a difference to the society?
Milind and me envisaged that running for women will be a great activity as it not only promotes well-being but also improves overall physical and mental health. Amidst the daily routine of Indian women, being active comes instinctively to them, whether it is in the form of household chores or raising a family, and even at the workplace. However, during this daily juggle in life, most of them have forgotten to find time for themselves. For their needs. For their priorities. For their own well-being. This was the platform on which the Pinkathon began, or rather, the Pink Revolution began.
With the mushrooming of marathons in India, I thought our task was easy to attract women to Pinkathon. However, when we studied the statistics of popular marathons in India, we saw that women participation wasn’t increasing proportionately to male participants; and, women were still a tiny percentage in the pie for long distance running. We realized that one of the primary reason for limited participation was the lack of feeling comfortable to be running amidst a track filled with men, and also the opportunity to step out and train regularly.
When we started laying the groundwork for Pinkathon, we were conscious of these impediments and focused on creating a safe place for women to participate and have a great run. We were pleasantly surprised when the call for the first Pinkathon run was answered by over 2,000 enthusiastic women, most of whom have never participated in a professional run. This gave us the way forward for building a community that created a place for women, from all walks of life, to come and engage in an active lifestyle. To inspire each other. To go the extra mile for not just the ones they love, but for themselves.
After the first edition in Mumbai, the next year we took Pinkathon to four cities, then 6 cities, then 8 cities and now 10. Pinkathon is now a community for women that has born out of a shared passion of empowering oneself to lead an active and healthy lifestyle, irrespective of the odds a woman faces in the Indian society.
Understanding this core essence, we created the Pinkathon Ambassador network for our regular participants. These ambassadors spread around the world are our mascots, and they take our message far and wide. Over the years, we have empowered them to organise training camps in their locality to bring about change at their level, and impact the community at large. These weekly camps act as a community meeting point for women in the locality to share fitness tips, and most importantly to foster the feeling of belonging to a shared community.
Our constant endeavor has been to mold Pinkathon according to our participants’ needs, and thus we have always had an ear to the ground to constantly learn and evolve. For instance, when we discovered that many women were apprehensive about stepping out in public to run in tight-fitting clothes, we invented the ‘running saree’, and if that wasn’t enough, we introduce the first ever ‘Saree Run’ where we witnessed over 1500 women running in sarees.
Another instance we heard from the community is their inability to run safely in the night. Based on this insight, we decided to reclaim the roads and organised the first ever midnight run for women in India.
These simple yet impactful initiatives, which came from our understanding of the community helped us stand out amidst all other marathons in the country, and has now become a staple at all our runs. Sponsors, who are always on the lookout for new engagement ideas, shared our excitement and have started associating with these initiatives along with the main event, helping the property grow bigger, better, faster.
One of our most ambitious initiatives that we have undertaken based on our community’s call to have a ‘Har Ghar Mein Pinkathon’ is the concept of ‘Pinkathon Day’. A day in the year, where Pinkathon is celebrated with a 5 KM run held simultaneously across all Pinkathon locations organised by our ambassadors. In 2018, when we announced the property, the clarion call was answered by over 11,000 participants from over 100 locations spread across 63 cities in 6 countries. This year, the numbers reached 25,000 participants across 100 cities.
Pinkathon is currently India’s biggest women’s run today. Pinkathon owes its growth and diverse participation thanks to the constant evolution of the property. Asides from being a running event, Pinkathon has weaved itself into the daily routine of countless women from around the world through trainings and support groups. Today, thanks to the thousands of women who have supported our cause and believed in themselves to bring about a change, Pinkathon has grown from being just an event, to be a part of their daily social fabric.
Every year, over 100,000 women participate in the Pinkathon and its various extensions. For all these women, the world told them what their stories should be, and they said, actually, we’re writing a story of our own. We are not leftover. We are strong and we will write our own story together.
8 years ago, if someone had told me that I would love the color Pink, I would have never have believed them. Today, I am the ambassador of Pink because today Pinkathon has changed the way Pink is represented.
PINK today represents HOPE , STRENGTH AND RESILIENCE!
Pink is the future!!
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