Women finally get their 21km in Thane Varsha Marathon

Updated: Jul 06, 2019, 07:12 IST | Anamika Gharat

The decision came after Mayor Meenakshi Shinde's intervention following women runners' demand for it

Women finally get their 21km in Thane Varsha Marathon
In the marathon last year the stark difference in the distance could be noted from the BIBs that the men and women wore. Pic/Michael D'Souza

For the first time, women will run a 21km stretch in the Thane Varsha Marathon. The city's mayor, Meenakshi Shinde, fought with the marathon committee members who decided rules for women and asked them to create this category for this year's Varsha Marathon. Special children too will run the marathon this year on August 18.

The last year's marathon saw few women runners opting for the 15km category or registered themselves in the male category because there was no category for women's 21km run. The reason given by organisers was a poor number of registrations by women. mid-day had then spoken to the mayor and organisers of the marathon committee when Shinde had promised to resolve the issue.

Manisha Rukhana (top above) and Shweta Samota were among the protesters at the mayor’s office in Thane last year
Manisha Rukhana (top above) and Shweta Samota were among the protesters at the mayor’s office in Thane last year

"I have decided to get the women's 21km category added in this marathon by hook or crook. I believe that women can do everything and should not be demotivated by such acts. We also got the special children's run added this time," Shinde said.

Shweta Samota, a Thane-based marathon runner said that women were breaking barriers in a sport typically dominated by men. "Women are not just running in the 3 km or 5 km category but also full marathons and ultra marathons. When I checked for the Thane Varsha Marathon last year, I was agitated to see only the 15km category for women. I am thankful to Thane Mayor Meenakshi Shinde for being so receptive. This historic decision speaks volumes about the TMC's and mayor's openness to fair suggestions and improvements," she exclaimed.

Another runner, Manisha Rukhana shared similar feelings. "I feel extremely proud and happy that I have been instrumental in bringing about this change with a peaceful protest. I hope it also includes the 42km category for women someday."

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