A Woman Got Her Period the Night Before a Marathon and Decided to Bleed Freely
Kiran Gandhi is making headlines for an inspiring, empowering reason. She not only crossed the finish line at the London Marathon, but she also did it after making a bold choice: to run while on her period and to bleed freely. The 26-year-old, who recently got her MBA from Harvard Business School and toured with Grammy-nominated artist MIA as a drummer, got her period the night before the marathon, a day for which she had been training for a year. Imagining running 26.2 miles with "a wad of cotton material wedged between my legs" wasn't sitting right with her — it "just seemed so absurd." Kiran explains it all in a piece she wrote entitled "Going With the Flow: Blood and Sisterhood at the London Marathon."
But then I thought . . . If there's one person society can't eff with, it's a marathon runner. You can't tell a marathoner to clean themselves up, or to prioritize the comfort of others. On the marathon course, I could choose whether or not I wanted to participate in this norm of shaming.
I decided to just take some midol, hope I wouldn't cramp, bleed freely and just run. A marathon in itself is a centuries old symbolic act. Why not use it as a means to draw light to my sisters who don't have access to tampons and, despite cramping and pain, hide it away like it doesn't exist?
So that's exactly what she did, and we couldn't applaud her more for it. Kiran wants to use her widely circulated story to send a positive message to other women and to inspire a global conversation about the stigma surrounding women's menstrual cycles, especially for women in other countries who don't have the same access to materials as we do. Ahead, see photos from the marathon and read what Kiran has to say about the experience in her own words.