This International Women’s Day on 8th March, 2016 we asked the women runners of MRR to pen their thoughts on how running has helped them and what influence running has had on their lives and that of their families. Never expected there would be a wealth of real, inspiring, courageous stories from the women runners. These are some really fantastic stories We have collated and compiled their stories below:

The history of all times and of today especially, teaches that —women will be forgotten if they forget to think about themselves. Happy Women’s Day.
Debanjana Bakshi

Running for me has been finding myself.. And the few lines that I have penned down below just followed as the good after effects.

By experience I vouch..
You will no longer be a grouch..
Remember, spending time on yourself is no sin..
Run or walk with that lovely grin..
Distances & timings are but numbers mere..
Watch how it brings to your own self a cheer..

Happy Women’s Day to all the lovely women
Aparna Bhingarkar D’souza

As a working woman…if I can run a gujju house with crazy stuff,…I can run on streets too…Running is balancing my life…..regaining energy…to be a superwoman…fighting all odds that come along….Thank you to the group i am motivated every day.
Kiiran Patel

Running has given me a new life. It’s actually given me wings to let me fly & be myself & live for me. I was pretty happy before I got into running….I was happy doing the usual chores through the day looking after my family and house and trying to help out my husband in business, but once I started running I realised that this is actually what I’m doing for only myself. Running is my ‘my time’. The best part is my family is very supportive and happy that now I’ve got something that makes me happy. I’ve got into a better and healthier lifestyle and live a more satisfied life now! Happy Running.
Poonam Dahiya Bhatia

Running has taken top priority after my daughter in my life now…What started out as a short term goal has pretty much defined my life now…Enjoy this Me Time tremendously. Has given me back my Childhood- those Free Spirited Fun Days all over again…
Manasi Samudra

I started running to gain back my strength after my ulcer attack and ran my first HM at SCMM 2012. The entire experience left me with such euphoria that I felt I wanted to continue this forever. Long distance running became an integral part of my life, even during pregnancy and post that. Running gives me that tranquillity and the space to get away from the mundane routine that we are accustomed to. It has been my magic pill to deal with stress, woes and not to mention given me a new sense of purpose and an entire family of runners. It has humbled me and definitely made me a better person.
Swetha Amit

2 years back my son left for USA to pursue higher studies and life became difficult. The emptiness was killing me and I was on the verge of nervous breakdown.. But whoa I found running…or running found me…the running child in me was born and now I can proudly say that running is my lifeline. Have made so many friends, they keep me busy all the time. So its not only running but reading MRR post, learning from them, commenting…in short my life revolves around running .Today the most happiest is my son.

My family is most supportive and happy that I am actually living for myself now.

And yes I did the times women’s drive this weekend with my new runner friends.
Prerna Parwani

Running opened me up to the universe. It helped me transform not only physically but also mentally and emotionally. It got me in touch with the real me. It helped me give and receive. It helped me shed my inhibitions and accept myself for who I am. I have learnt to push myself beyond. I have found immense calm and peace. It keeps me going. Most importantly it has given me Pinkathon and all of you.
Sonia Kulkarni

I have been running since I was probably 14-15 years old. Though running had been a huge part of my life, but it was never the sole way of staying fit. I tried my hands on long distance running out of sheer boredom while I was working oversees and had nothing better to do on a quiet Christmas morning, and I realized that I could run for 2 hours without breaking much of a sweat (Weather helped). Since then there has been no looking back. Running became my main form of fitness right after I had my kids, because I found that it was the quickest and easiest way to regain my fitness levels. There was a part of me trying to prove it to myself that not only I could go back to where I was before, but I could do better. That belief in me came true when I ran my first HM post delivery and even though I barely managed to slash off 5 mins from the same event pre-pregnancy, it instilled a confidence in me that is not easy to shatter. It’s true what they say – women do become stronger after childbirth!
Today I would probably have an identity crisis if I stopped seeing myself as a runner.
Divya Prabhakar Gupta

Being asthmatic since early childhood, running for me was sprinting few meters to the school bus to get the best seat. It’s astonishing how I have stuck through this gruelling sport and survived initial days of hopelessness when I started 4 1/2 years back. What started as a pure unapologetic, unabashed and selfish ‘me’ time has now transitioned to a ‘together’ time as my man joined this addictive running bandwagon. I would credit running to keep my sanity intact else I would have been clinically a very dangerous woman. swear!!!
Neetul Mohanty

This is the first time ever that I am sharing my story with you all.

Running came to while i was fighting my biggest enemy- Fear.

Fear of returning to normal life post my kidney transplant in March 2010.Running was the response to my fears gift wrapped by the universe in the form of Pinkathon in December 2012.I ran my first 3km.First I didn’t think about my transplant much when I ran, other than how I hoped I was inspiring people with debilitating illnesses to get up and move. I wanted to be an example. Most of what I remember about my time in the hospital is a mish-mash of intense pain, discomfort, and fear, and at first I let those feelings dominate my recovery. I was always afraid that I would get sick again, or my new kidney would fail, so I proceeded cautiously into the world of physical fitness. I used running as a way to distract me from those memories.

This year I ran my second half marathon at the SCMM and preparing for many upcoming events during the year. I use running to help me de-stress and cope with life, but I don’t feel like I’m fighting so hard anymore. I used to feel like everything, even running, was a matter of life and death. Now, if I’m running, I know it’s because I’m alive, at least for the moment. Life doesn’t come with guarantees, so I trust my body and its signals, and I’ve learned that while getting outside my comfort zone is, well, uncomfortable, it is also necessary to move forward.
Every year when this early part of March comes around, I try to spend a bit more time paying attention to the things that I often take for granted. On this day in 2010, I was praying for a successful transplant and fighting alongside my Donor, my younger brother and knew I had months of a gruelling recovery ahead of me. I try to remember that time at Hinduja hospital, instead of forgetting, and I allow myself to accept the experience as a part of my story. It may be behind me, but it is still part of the path I am taking to move forward. Whatever way that path ends up going, I hope to do it running.
Shibani Gulati

Amongst all d FM n HM women runners I want to share my story.. Story of a beginner..I was very active in sports from childhood. Karate n athletics was daily thing.. As I grew up n started working I started gyming.. Lowest weight at 60kgs.. Post 2deliveries (both c section + gestational diabetes + hypothyroidism) I’m struggling to lose weight.. Started re-running since last Nov… I still struggle to complete my 10k.. I am experiencing new energy… Feel so positive and full of life.. Thanks to the amazing motivators who have turned friends.. I am increasing my mileage slowly… Hope to complete a few good races … My goal is to have overall fitness … ! Salute to so many people here who say such kind words… I want to pass my positive energy to them … ! God bless.. In no way particular order.. I want to thank a few good souls…Umedkumar Sinai Bijay Nair Samuel Chettiar Viv Menon Swetha Amit Sayuri Dalvi Deepak Oberoi Sarabjit Singh Jassal Jayraman Rankawat Mufaddal Hararwala Sharmila Munj Inderpal Khalsa Pradeep Yadav Sunil Shetty Giles Drego Yvette Saldanha Amrita Saraf Rai Amalesh KarleChitu Shetty
Kiran John

Running to me has been a very recent encounter… But sometimes u don’t have to do something for too long to fall in love with it.. Sometimes a couple of runs are more than enough. I prefer running at 5.30 am as the roads are empty and it’s still dark and it’s a great feeling to be running when the sun comes up.

Running is like meditation, actually better, because it helps you stay fit! A big thank you to all of you for the inspiring posts and messages everyday. A big thank you to Sonia Kulkarni Aparna Bhingarkar D’souza and Sharmila Munj. Pinkathon gave me the motivation I needed :))

My health, happiness and state of mind are totally blissful. Thank you again
Swati Mukund

Like Kiran said I was also an athlete in college as I was actively into NCC and mountaineering. Mountaineering was my passion but after getting law degree and marriage everything changed n I was involved into looking after my household chores plus my practise as a lawyer. But after my second delivery I put on weight due to which I started having health problems like spondylitis, slip disc which is quite major as one of my disc is compressed. Last year my husband started running but it was not possible for me coz my daughter was in 12th .I started running since November 15.My main reason was to overcome my health problems and to build more stamina. Now running has again taken place in my life. At the time of running I am wholly with myself. That is the time when I can have conversation with the person in me and at that time I decide what I want to do and how. I have taken up running to find the person in me and it gives me happiness that now I am living my life as I wanted. Plus my friends in MRR group motivates all of us new comers also by giving positive vibes.
Manjiri Joglekar Joshi

Thank you Ram for tagging. Yes Running has changed my life forever. It has brought lot of calmness, peace and focus in me. Earlier my priorities were only Sunil and Rhea but now it is Sunil, Rhea and Running. My salute to men like Sunil who support and encourage their spouse into running. To me the day I run it’s a happy women’s day and this is possible only with the support of your spouse. Running for me is my “me time” .It’s been now 13 years of Running and it has helped me to gain a confidence to challenge myself every time. Your life is set when your children call you as role models. So hope to continue to inspire many more women runners and make them believe this YOU CAN DO IT.
Sangeeta Shetty

Thanks Manasi for tagging me. Running has started a new chapter in our lives! Feel super young with so many wonderful young new friends like you!
Vaijayanti Ingawale

I started running 7 years back because I had piled on lots of weight leaving me feeling not so good about myself, since I was pretty active in my college days. I was Miss MCC. And then life took such turns. I just forgot who I am, but no looking back since I started running …six years without training… Just rushing out after my kids left for school…doing some practice in the nearby park..but very very happy today that my hubby ran his first half marathon. This year, my son who is 14 also runs with us, so all happy happy.The energy at my home is electric, vibrant, it has touched not only me but my whole family feels WOW… Love you all
Preeti Shah

Running has created wonders in my life. I always had passion for running since my childhood but had a long list of priorities so actually couldn’t take any proper training or go ahead.
Year 2013 was the worst nightmare of my life. I had given up living. Deep depression as I was unwell for one entire year. I was not in position to walk 100 metres alone. I need help support to even walk. I used to tell my husband please don’t waste money over my sickness save these money for kids it will help them in future. That one year gave me lots of time to think and i thought of taking up running.
Year 2014 I did SCMM 6 kms dream run.
Year 2015 I did SCMM 21k
Year 2016 I did my first ever FULL MARATHON.

Since past two years I have taken up gyming twice a week.
RUNNING HAS GIVEN ME NEW LIFE, I HAVE CALMED DOWN AND GAINED GOOD STRENGTH. A big thank you to all who have supported me n helped me n advised me and of course my running partner Pawan Agarwal.

Love to be part of MRR. Special thanks to Punit Chandiwala who trained me for FM.
Falguni Vora

It’s made me more controlled over my emotions. I appreciate and embrace the chance of really becoming mindless and mindful at the same time by putting one foot in front of another. And i feel i write better after I have finished a run, because it gives my ideas and thoughts a chance to churn in my head… Happy Womens Day..!
Alka Kedia

Running has given me back my identity …. It’s now a way of life…gives me a high and clears my unwanted thoughts. Basically am happiest when I run!
Kiran Malani

Hai apna dil toh awara,
na jaane running sai kaab haara!

Honestly I’d just started out to collect money for ‘Run with Roshni’ but ego pushed me into SCMM 2015!

Had participated in Powai Run, 10Km, 2014 just to see ‘if I could, and managed it, with running sandwiched between longish walking bouts. Satisfied! End of running story… At least that’s what I thought.

But later that year, in November, when I was told that it’s dicey for someone my age, i bristled. Then experts cautioned that it was rather late to be even thinking about running a HM since the D day was barely 45 days to go and I’d not even started training.

Now, I have a problem, have had it since teenage- if I’m warned about some place being dangerous, I’ve just gotta go there, Myself, and find out, Myself, how dangerous!

That’s exactly what I did.

And as if that was not enough, went for the, Thane HM next month.

Here I must admit that an article in TOI and a chance meeting with the hero-couple of the write up, Sangeeta Shetty & Sunil Shetty strengthened my belief and off course inputs for moving beyond walking.

So I managed to complete two HM courses, sans injury.
But I wasn’t running, I was labouring, lumbering, and vacillating… To Run or not to Run.

By this time, I’d got to know Running buddy Manasi Samudra and the Mumbai Ultra had become the New ‘Impossible’

And true to self, I plunged again, Headlong!

Where on earth does this fountain of confidence emanate from?
Do you think Running does it to all of us?

Throws new challenges at us, then sits back and watches us strive…

Watch us burn, melt and mould ourselves into something/someone New…

Well it did so for me, I now fit into a lot of my Old clothes
Anupama Diddi

I started running in June 2013 as I wanted to take part in at least 1 half marathon (part of my bucket list you see). I finished one in October 2013 and I fell for running, hook line and sinker. There was no looking back. Running streamlined my life. I became more disciplined in my personal and professional life. Healthy eating was a habit but now it became more like a religion. Humbleness, camaraderie, vigor which became part of life due to running. Now I see my life much more richer and complete.. all thanks to running and my fellow runner friends.
Shilpa Bhansali

Running to me was an extension of my love for trekking & rock climbing & having been into sprinting & sports throughout school & college, this time around I got into running due to my daughter who was a sprinter & I used to take her 6 days a week every morning for her training.
Collectively trekking, rock climbing & running have given me the kind of fitness I never had earlier, running since 2011 by the end of 2014 & early 2015 I was fitter than ever before & achieved PB’s, when the turning point came…

…a week before SCMM came the blow, a severe almost crippling back pain struck (my lower back has always been my weak point having had earlier surgeries for fibroids), going back to my doc I was handed the news that I need to have a hysterectomy as the fibroid which was present since 3 years cannot be ignored any more as it had calcified & grown too large, I managed to do a slow run walk at SCMM.

I had to wait till April for my surgery & those 3 months I moved around with a constant back pain & a heat pad , every hour at some point I had to stop all movement like someone was holding back in a vice grip while I could feel the pumping in my back.

Come April & I finally went into surgery by which time I was pretty much mentally comfortable with the idea of this surgery & looking forward to being pain free. Unfortunately during the surgery the doc found complications with my large intestine & an additional tissue growth (thankfully benign) which had spread onto my lowest vertebrae, I came out pretty much strong but the next 5-6 days till I could eat & move around comfortably, my doc was on the edge worried that my intestine & backbone should not have been effected, my recovery was amazingly strong & smooth & the doc himself attributed it to my running & other physical activities due to which I could take the impact far better.

By the end of 2015 I had done 3 10km & 2 HM’s by January 2016, of course with very slow timings but who cares, reaching the finish line still brought tears to my eyes, to me it was like re-starting running.

I still have my weak days when my back troubles & I feel drained for no reason… I still can’t do a lot of core exercises, but running keeps me motivated & confident that I can get stronger slowly & surely. It was fantastic to hear my doc say ‘thank god for your running & trekking, I wish more of my female patients were into fitness’.
My 17 year old daughter was my biggest strength & am blessed with a loving family & awesome fantastic friends, thanks to all these people who stood by me & egged me on, on my low days
Happy running to all of you ! Apologies for this long post.
Rupal Shah

Running makes me unleash my inner champion and smash my limits. It makes me a better person. It’s my meditation and my Prayer. It’s my expression of self love. It’s made me a calmer person, more patient and loving and a better listener. It’s also made me Happier and given me so many new friends. Also- I would like to share this that I have been battling PCOD since a couple of years now. Apart from a lot of physical discomfort, it also gives me unwanted weight. But it’s only after I started running that I finally felt in control of my body instead of it being the other way round. I can manage my weight better, even when am not able to work out. And Yes- Running has helped me inspire my Family members and friends as well. I have a lot of friends who took up running or any form of physical activity after I did. Thank you to each one of you. And a bigger thanks to the Women runners, you all inspire me
Amrita Saraf Rai

Running keeps me sane since 6 years now….am told I smile a lot more when I run regularly. And most importantly I can eat what I want, my kids love the medals and I see people at work bowled over when I talk about 21kms. All of the above make me smile even more…even the crying after I ran the SCMM 2015 HM with ankle implants post a triple fracture.. I wake up at 5 am….everyday, even when I don’t run and love it. Guess this relationship with running is for keeps
Seema Wazir

Running has changed my life, and surely for good. I gain so much weight after pregnancy, so started small walks and then easy jogs with my hubby. The child born, I came to know was a special child. It was very difficult to accept that. “Why me?” I used question. All my energy was consumed by her, and desperately needed a space. And running gave me that space. By running, I could be more attentive to the child and could feel calmness.
When I was not a runner, I was just a housewife. But now, I got an identity. Relatives, friends know me as a runner.

The satisfaction, I get by finding my own time is immense. I feel very fortunate that my family always encourage me to run, especially my husband.
Deepa Katrodia

Seven years into running…. and running has helped me in so many ways ! Earlier it was work work work ! Now it’s work run family! I have learned to live for myself…. enjoy the me time I get and have got an extended running family too! Though I’m yet to run with MRR, which will surely happen in few months! Also every time a non- runner asks a question what pleasure do you get when you run? And I say I don’t think I can express in words you feel the experience and probably not question this again! Running has given me a different identity besides being an educator!
Hetal Thakkar

Though I do not have any inspirational story to share but over an year into running and I feel like an upgraded version of myself. Running has made me calmer, healthier, happier….I feel I am better equipped to deal with the challenges life throws at me.

Now it’s a friend for life…a friend for keeps
Pankhuri Warange

No story yet Ram… just a series of incidents which brought me to running out my frustrations……. my story is a masterpiece in the making and i am thankful for the strong friends in my life (most of them runners) who are not allowing me to give up… and masterpieces do take time ..sometimes a lifetime

There are such amazing women around who are strong and totally inspiring…they have beaten all odds and are just not giving up …and i draw inspiration from everybody…happy to have met this group…. and am really happy to be running towards and not away from things now a days
Jenifer Dwivedi

Running is my me time..I am happier, healthier (better haemoglobin counts, better immunity against seasonal asthma), more energetic, look younger( icing on the cake ) etc. etc….. So no complaints. I look forward to my next run. So no stories just a way of life and AM LOVING IT.

Also I realised because I had no expectations from running that I am happy doing it. I have got many small tangible results…It’s like life.
Kalika Batra