What are the lengths one can go to raise awareness on women empowerment? Well, as far as Pune-based Michelle Kakade is concerned, it’s around 6,000 kms. And, she has travelled around the country to do so.
The 47-year-old Kakade, originally from Bhopal, is set to complete the great Indian quadrilateral run on Sunday when she reaches the Gateway of India, the place where she started the run on October 21, 2015.
From Mumbai, she ran north to Delhi, and from there to Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and back to the city. In doing so, she has covered 5,954.98 kms so far and has taken 193 days to complete that at an average of 35 kms a day. There were 27 rest days sandwiched in between.
The feat will make her enter the Guinness World Records for covering the route on foot in the fastest time.
Kakade only took up to running in 2004 after participating in a walkathon in Pune. So, what made her switch to long distance running?
“The first time I participated in such an event, it made me very happy. When I started running marathons, I saw that people are so warm and keep motivating you. It’s a competition, yes, but it’s such a healthy competition. I don’t think you get such an atmosphere anywhere else,” she told dna on Saturday.
Surely, there could have been a simpler way to raise awareness about women empowerment. However, Kakade, a mother of two, chose running to prove to women that their life doesn’t end after the age of 40.
“I wanted to do something that is physically challenging. What better way to do that than to run? People wouldn’t believe that a woman could run 6,000 kms in 200 days. I wanted to break that barrier. This is for all women over 40 years of age who think that their life is finished after their children cross 20. I want to send a message to them that they need to create their own identity, pursue their interests and ultimately, motivate themselves to do things that people tell you you can’t,” she said.
She picked her run from Kolkata to Chennai as the most beautiful part of her journey. “It’s so beautiful, and also along the coast. The only thing is that I run for about five hours a day, starting from around 3am. So, I don’t really get to see the actual beauty of each city, and I’ve ran through 57 major cities,” she said.