Commander (Retd) Jeetendran Nair, who has served the Indian Navy for 22 years, believes that giving back to the society is a part of citizens’ social responsibility towards the nation.
With a firm belief that every nation’s strength is its people, especially the women and youth, he started the marathon to tap into the power of women, to get them to step out of their comfort zone and to break barriers. There is a lot of untapped potential in rural areas and smaller towns and villages, who could do well and go on to represent India on the international stage.
How PWHM started-
He himself started running marathons and mentoring recreational runners free of cost. In 2011, Nair founded the running group, Freerunners in Pune, and also started a charitable trust by the same name and in 2017, Pune Women’s Half Marathon (PWHM) was born.
“Our marathon is for the women, by the women, and of the women,” he says.
While the running group is a mix of both males, females and children, the marathon is particularly for women and young girls. The future is a revolution where the Women in Pune will be the catalyst to inspire and motivate the rest of the women of the country to do the same. For the women, by the women, of the women!
Watch the video here-
‘A fit and healthy woman brings about a positive change not only in her own family in which she is born but also in the family she nurtures and raises,’ says Nair. He realized that women need a platform where they can be themselves and enjoy the benefits of staying physically fit.
“There is a lot of untapped potential in rural areas and smaller towns and villages, who could do well and go on to represent India on the international stage,” believes Nair.
Not only there are women participants, but the committee is also comprised of women. Nair says, “We really want more people, men, and women, to become aware of this marathon, to participate and understand the benefit of exercise. We want women to know about the marathon so that they participate along with their family and friends. The men can also help them by making the women in their lives understand the benefits of this marathon.”
Recalling the events of the last year, Nair says, “In 2018 marathon, there was a lady who strapped her son to her chest and ran the 5 km distance.”
Adding to this he says, “No men or boys are allowed on the course unless a lady is carrying the male child during the marathon. For the past 2 years, we have had 3 generations of women running together – a mother-in-law, daughter-in-law, and the daughter-in-law’s daughter. The marathon is full of interesting stories and is more like a festival for women.”
While the first 2 editions were free of cost for the participants and the expenses were taken care of by the Freerunners Charitable Trust, now a nominal fee of Rs.300 (for 4kms), 400 (for 10 kms) and 500 (for 21 kms) is charged from the participants to cover the basic costs. For athletes or women, who want to participate but cannot afford to pay the sum, the Trust pays for them.
The marathon is also certified by IAAF-AIMS, which means that participants can use this to qualify for a number of national and international races.
PWHM is scheduled to be held on March 10, 2019, from 5 am-9 am. The starting point is Police Adhishak Karyalay, Pune Gramin (Opposite Loyola School, Pashan Rd, Chavan Nagar, Pashan, Pune)