More than 3,000 runners took part in the sixth edition of the ‘Pardada Pardadi Rural Half Marathon’ in Anupshahr town of Bulandshahr district on Sunday, December 1. This edition witnessed the highest number of participants.
What stood out in the marathon was that out of the participants, 140 of them were dressed in sarees. They were members of various self-help groups and wanted to spread awareness around the fact that marathons and other such sports are not just for men. They also wanted to spread the message that women’s attire will never be barrier in chasing their dreams.
The marathon was held in support of the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ movement which was started by the Modi government for the betterment of the girl child in every facet of society. It was conducted in three parts – half marathon (21 km), mini-marathon (10 km) and a short run (5 km).
“All the participants were thrilled and many shared their experiences with us. When we started this event in 2014, it was to spread a message. Now, it has become a celebration for the cause of the girl child’s education,” Founder of the Pardada Pardadi Educational Society, Virendra Sam Singh, told Hindustan Times.
CEO of the society, Renuka, called this is an opportunity to show the world that no restrictions can be put on women because of who they are and that they have full liberty to go ahead, fly high and achieve their goals.
Starting from 2000, the Pardada Pardadi Educational Society’s vision has been to create a society where women coming from the rural parts of the country have equal opportunity to contribute to the growing society along with the men, and spread awareness about the same. The society also provides free education and vocational training.
At present, there are around 1,600 students studying in four schools run by the society.