Kiran Gandhi, 26, who is both a Harvard Business School graduate as well as having notably played drums for artists M.I.A. and Thievery Corporation, made the conscious decision to run the London Marathon without the use of a tampon.
Not only did Kiran (K.I.T. @ Instagram) run while grappling with the arrival of her period and all of the potential pain and complications it could bring, she intentionally chose to do so while highlighting that experience instead of hiding it. Why, you might wonder? She explains that she chose to do so not just to showcase an experience that womyn experience monthly yet often are made to feel shame about, but to also raise awareness for the many womyn worldwide who do not even have access to these so-called “feminine hygiene” products and continue to live their lives. As Kiran explained to PEOPLE:
“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.”
Kiran also makes it very clear on her own personal website that this statement was an act of Feminism, and feminist rebellion against the current oppressive and repressive social norms surrounding womyn’s menstrual cycles:
“I got my flow the night before and it was a total disaster but I didn’t want to clean it up. It would have been way too uncomfortable to worry about a tampon for 26.2 miles. I thought, if there’s one person society won’t fuck with, it’s a marathon runner. If there’s one way to transcend oppression, it’s to run a marathon in whatever way you want. 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. Where a woman’s comfort supersedes that of the observer. The marathon was radical and absurd and bloody in ways I couldn’t have imagined until the day of the race.”
Ghandhi also expands on her website more about the backstory of the marathon experience:
“The marathon was everything. I trained for a year and then it happened. And truly it was one of the most profound experiences of my life. I ran with two of the most important women in my life, and we didn’t leave each other’s side once, from start to finish. We crossed the finish line hand-in-hand. We raised $6,000 collectively for Breast Cancer Care. And we ran the whole way without stopping. London in particular is one of the world’s best marathons because so many people come out for it – the sidelines are packed for the entire 26.2 miles and Londoner’s signs are hilarious. There are crazy people running without shoes and with tutus and with 40 pounds on their back and there are dance parties along the way. If I had to summarize though, the marathon for me was about family & feminism.”
She went on to explain how much family (specifically her father and brother) and friends support, which happened that monumentous day and will now go down in HERSTORY!
Kiran’s lasting impression of the experience proves to be one of compassion:
“The main message I walked away from this experience was how much being there for someone else in a totally selfless way can carry them through a difficult time.”