It’s a musing kinda evening.
It’s grey & a bit chilly & looking as though it might rain.
Here in Delhi (where I live), Covid cases are rising, and so in addition to our already-existing night curfew, we are also heading into a weekend of curfew. Meaning 2 days of not going outside the house.
I was supposed to do a trail run on Saturday + a 3 hour run this Sunday, but curfew has obviously put paid to those plans.
All of this + the greyness + the overriding sense of unease that clouds all our lives these days, meant I got to thinking.
It’s a bit grasshopper-thinking-y but I think you’ll follow my drift.
Basically, since I’m going to be almost-locked-down this weekend, I decided to do my Sunday long run early, so off I trotted to Nehru Park, a large, safe public park in Delhi where I ran alone for 2 hours. Admittedly it was in the middle of the day, but I felt 100% safe, because there was always someone around.
Which made me think of an article I’d read earlier today in The Washington Post about attacks on women running alone. It makes for grim, worrying reading, profiling women who were raped, attacked, murdered – their only crime being out for a run, alone.
This sentence says it all:
“I am still waiting for that conversation about why simply seeking outdoor exercise is a mortal danger for women.”
The article is about the USA, but living as I do in a very dangerous city for women, I am more than conscious of the dangers of being out alone.
I’ve been harrassed, touched, groped, chased, spat at, grabbed, sneered at, laughed at, photographed, filmed – and I am a senior citizen, for crying out loud.
I usually give back as good as I get (I try not to spit, though) and have detailed here in blogs over the years, some of the harassment I have had to endure in this misogynistic city.
Which is why I no longer run alone in the early mornings, other than in my immediate neighbourhood, and opt rather for a large public park in the middle of the day.
As I ran today, stopping to watch a kind soul feed a litter of story puppies, I thought about how running has become such a lifeline for me.
I already loved running before Covid, but having spent much of the last 2 Covid years battling injury and sickness, these runs are even more precious. It’s a stress buster, a way to keep fit, a way to get outdoors in these restricted days. I take the view that keeping myself as fit as I can is my best form of defence against this terrible virus.
And as I ran, I further thought about an image I saw on Instagram this morning – the iconic image from 1967, of the attack on Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon:
This was in 1967, for crying out loud Mark II.
The so-called Swinging Sixties and this happened…
Just listen to Ms Switzer’s words. They are chilling, even after all these years:
“Instinctively I jerked my head around quickly and looked square into the most vicious face I’d ever seen. A big man a huge man, with bared teeth was set to pounce, and before I could react he grabbed my shoulder and flung me back, screaming “Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers”…”
You can see why I thought of this and The Washington Post article together, can’t you?
As I said, just musings on a cold, grey day.
But such musings need to be – well – mused.
Now, more than ever, we all need to be able to go out and exercise, and de-stress in safety.
Chalo, folks. Stay safe, all of you. And to all you when runners, stay even more safe.
As I’ve said before, all the men in the world who do bad things to women had a mother. A few will have been deprived of a mother at an early age but somewhere along the way the rest of the woman-haters learned to abuse and hate. Why did the women in their lives stand by and watch? Or was it the women in their lives who taught them that women are inferior beings, to be used and abused?