Many trends have been set to raise awareness for various causes over the years. There was the Ice bucket challenge for ALS awareness, the Twizzler challenge for autism, and the rubble bucket challenge for awareness of the ongoing crisis in Gaza, to name a few.
And while most runners tend to wear shirts with their favorite causes on them, one particular London runner took a different approach during the London Marathon in April.
Kiran Gandhi decided to run the marathon without a tampon, letting her blood flow freely, in order to raise awareness for women who do not currently have access to feminine products and to encourage women not to feel embarrassed by their periods.
“I ran the whole marathon with my period blood running down my legs…If there’s one way to transcend oppression, it’s to run a marathon in whatever was you want,” Gandhi wrote on her website. “On the marathon course, sexism can be beaten. Where the stigma of a woman’s period is irrelevant, and we can re-write the rules as we choose.”
Gandhi, who is a Harvard Business School Graduate and who has played drums for singer M.I.A. and Thievery Corporation, explained that she got her period the night before the race and dreaded the thought of having to run 26.2 miles, having to deal with the discomfort of wearing a tampon the whole time.
But discomfort was not the only reason she decided to let it flow.
“I ran with blood dripping down my legs for sisters who don’t have access to tampons and sisters who, despite cramping and pain, hide it away and pretend like it doesn’t exist. I ran to say, it does exist, and we overcome it every day,” she wrote. “The marathon was radical and absurd and bloody in ways I couldn’t have imagines until the day of the race.”
The 26-year-old ran the race, head to toe in pink for breast cancer awareness, and finished in 49 minutes and 11 seconds. After running the race she had prepared a full year for, she told Cosmopolitain that she ran through her cramps and race anxiety, and she felt empowered by her decision to go without feminine products.
“I felt kind of like, ‘Yeah! F*** you!,’” she said. “I felt very empowered by that. I did.”