Let's get this out of the way. Here's what it looks like when you run a marathon on your period with no tampon.
The night before Kiran Gandhi—a Harvard Business School graduate and former drummer for M.I.A. and Thievery Corporation—ran the London Marathon back in April, she realized she was going to have the first day of her period during the race. The 26-year-old first time marathoner was stressed about cramping and bleeding and the thought of a wad of cotton chafing her lady parts for 26.2 miles.
Gandhi was running the race with a few friends to raise money for a charity called Breast Cancer Care. She decided to add another social mission to her run: to fight the stigma of periods and bring attention to the many women around the world without access to feminine hygiene products (a horrible euphemism probably made up by some man afraid to say the phrase "stuff to soak up yer period blood").
She achieved that by "bleeding freely" and letting her period blood run down the inside of her legs. I wasn't really on board with this until she used the phrase "bleed freely"—doesn't that sound fun? (And dangerous.)
In a blog post on her site recalling what she says was a very positive experience, Gandhi writes:
"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."
Uh oh, this may mark the only time we've been interested to hear a runner's thoughts about running. Gandhi continues:
"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."
Damn, that puts Pheidippides collapsing and dying upon his arrival in Athens to shame—dude wasn't even dripping blood the whole time.
Gandhi finished the course in four hours, 49 minutes, and 11 seconds, but we're guessing her time is not going to be the main thing she remembers from this race.